As part of our 30th anniversary celebrations, we asked our team to tell us about the school trips that changed their lives. Here, in the next instalment, Bev Ford, our Product Development Manager, explains how a school trip to France continues to have a profound impact on her life.
In Year 10, I visited the Loire Valley with my school. This would be my second school trip abroad, having visited Belgium in Year 7, and I was already besotted with all things ‘foreign’. However, it was this second trip that really convinced me that I wanted to do something that would really allow me to experience foreign countries and cultures.
For me, anything that was different to my ‘normal’ life back in the UK was super exciting. Whilst exploring the Loire I became obsessed with the delicious smell of garlic and, as for those chateaux, well they were like something from a fairy tale. I’m pretty sure I still have the project I wrote on them floating about somewhere!
This may sound somewhat trite, but it really was at this point that I decided to study languages. They certainly were not my strongest subject in school, but this trip really fostered a passion for languages in me and I saw them as the passkey to the future.
First I took my GCEs (as they were back then) and A Levels in French and German, before going on to study both languages at university. I then undertook a PGCE (Secondary), so that I could teach Modern Foreign Languages, to pass on my passion to the next generation. I qualified as a teacher and became head of department, where I completed a GCSE in Spanish alongside my students.
As a teacher, I arranged countless school trips abroad because I knew from my own experience what a profound effect such trips can have on young people. I later embarked on a second career in educational travel, which brought me to Halsbury Travel, because I wanted to help more young people have the same opportunities that I enjoyed.
Of course, the opportunity to use a foreign language in the country in which it is spoken makes school trips hugely beneficial for students learning languages but, for me, the advantages stretch much further than this. I believe a school trip abroad can open your eyes to different countries and cultures, making you more ‘open’ to embracing differences.
I believe that travel works on so many levels and travelling with your school gives you the opportunity to develop independently in a supported environment. Certainly, these experiences can also help you make decisions regarding what you want to do with your life – they certainly did for me! That school trip to the Loire STILL shapes my life today!
Need some information or advice on creating a school trip that will inspire your students as much as Bev's inspired her? Contact our experienced and knowledgeable team of school travel specialists today!