So you’ve been craving a little travel (and maybe a lot of pizza) and you’ve settled on the perfect solution: an educational, high school program abroad in Italy! What better way to explore what you’ve been learning in the classroom than to go to the country where it’s all from? Now comes the challenging part: convincing your favorite high school teacher, your very own Mr. Feeny or Ms. Frizzle, to take you abroad. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to the Boot, Lo Stivale, in no time!
Establish The Objective of Your Trip
When making your argument to your teacher, remember that the most important thing to explain is how this trip relates to your education. What’s the academic reason behind your trip? Sure, going to Italy and living la dolce vita is an incredible and fun experience, but what do you want to learn from it?
The reason for your trip, of course, depends on what subject your high school teacher teaches. Are they a history teacher? Latin? Italian? Photography? What subject has inspired you to go abroad to Italy? Decide how your teacher’s class back home will apply to your trip abroad and use that to craft the rest of your argument.
Research & Prepare (A LOT)
Chances are, you and your classmates are so excited to take this trip that your first instinct is to run into class tomorrow and ask your teacher what they think about the idea of going to Italy, but wait! If you take the time to prepare beforehand, your argument on why this is such a great idea (which it totally is) will be much more solid and well-received.
There’s nothing a teacher loves more than a PowerPoint presentation…right? Break your argument down with some sweet slides and, most importantly, some visuals. Pictures of students eagerly sketching the Trevi fountain or the Amalfi coastlines, and pictures of huge scoops of gelato will have your teacher buying a plane ticket in no time.
If your teachers love PowerPoints, then they definitely love research. Come to the table prepared with research on various high school trips abroad. What’s the typical length of the trip? Does the program keep you in one city, or travel through the entire country? How much does it cost, what are accommodations like, and what sort of activities do they include?
When you’re researching possible high school programs in Italy, don’t forget to check if the program offers academic credit, and then double check that your school will accept the transfer credits.
Tie it to The Textbook
Saying you want to go to Italy because you’re in a Latin class is not going to cut it. When explaining to your teacher why you should go to Italy, always connect it back to the classroom. By going abroad, you’ll be able to contextualize your lessons in real life.
Studying Renaissance art? The endless museums of Florence with neoclassical statues will serve as your classroom. Hoping to solidify your Italian language skills? Every time you order food at a restaurant or ask directions from someone on the street, you’ll be practicing your conversational skills! You can fulfill that obsession with the Roman Empire by doing as the Romans do, or did, simply by walking through the Forum or climbing the endless steps of the Coliseum.
There is no better way to bring your teacher’s subject to life than to actively engage with the subject in Italy.
Your lessons will become far more meaningful when you can actually understand what you are studying and why. The continuing relevance and influence of the Romans will never be more obvious than when you are standing at the center of what was once the capital of the empire.
One of the first steps before trying to convince your teacher to take you to Italy is to, of course, convince your parents/guardian that this trip is a good idea. Recruiting other authority figures to help champion the cause will show that you are serious about doing this and it will add a little oomf to your argument.
You can also practice your argument on your parents before you head into the classroom. If you can get your parents on board, who’s to say you can’t get Mr/Ms. [insert teacher name here] on board?
Some high school programs and tours have recruiters or advisors, whose only job is to make the trip-planning process as easy and smooth as possible. Not only are they adult authority figures, they’re also professionals who know everything there is to know about their programs and traveling to Italy.
Leading a group of rambunctious teenagers through a foreign country would be intimidating for anyone. Reassure your teacher with the knowledge that many high school abroad programs are highly structured and organized, with the program usually doing all of the heavy lifting.
With all this adult recruitment you’ve been doing, you should have no problem rounding up a few chaperones willing to take on the challenge of a trip to Italy with a classroom of teenagers! Already having a team of adult volunteers willing to help out takes a lot of the pressure off your teacher.
There’s also power in numbers; if you really want to make an impression on your teacher, recruit your fellow students! Get them behind the idea and make your presentation to your teacher as a united front. It’ll be much more impressive if there are twenty-five of you explaining why you should go to Italy, instead of just one!
There’s a reason why Italy is one of the top travel destinations in the world, and the second-most popular location for study abroad students. Italy effortlessly combines millennia of rich history, boisterous local culture, and, of course, world-famous food (pizza and gelato – is there anything better?).
When your teacher asks you “Why Italy?” be sure to be ready to explain how this trip relates to the subject you are studying, but also your passion behind it. Have you fostered a love for Rome ever since you saw Roman Holiday? Have your grandparents’ stories of their homeland always made you curious about where you came from? Have you wanted to practice photography in Tuscany’s rolling hills since the day you first saw them in National Geographic?
You should want to learn from your experience abroad, but having personal reasons for wanting to travel to Italy is also great! By sharing these personal experiences with your teacher, you can show them that you are really sincere about going to Italy for reasons that extend beyond the classroom.
Know Your Options
In order to really “Wow” your teacher with your impressive research skillZzZ, be sure to review different program options that are out there and come prepared with some solid options for him/her to consider. Organizations like Nacel International, Travel For Teens, SPI, and ISA Abroad are all strong contenders. Read reviews of every program you are considering and make a bulleted list of the pros/cons of all the ones you are considering. Your teacher will appreciate the headstart but will also likely want to have a say in the final program choice!
Going abroad in high school serves as a dry run for going to college; other than those summers you spent away at camp, this will be one of the first times you’ve been completely on your own (and in another country, no less!). Learning to be independent (with, of course, the support of your favorite high school teacher) will prepare you for going away to college in the not-so-distant future.
Going abroad while in high school will also give you a huge advantage when applying to college. Very few students your age study or travel abroad, and including your travel experience on your resume or in your application essay will set you apart from other students, making you a much more competitive applicant. By bringing you to Italy, your teacher will be assisting you in your goals of getting into college.
Reassure your teacher that this is an equal opportunity adventure, and you want to make sure that all the students in your class will be able to have the financial means to go abroad. Italy, as a major tourist destination, can be somewhat pricey. However, there are a number of study abroad scholarships and travel grants that can make a trip abroad affordable. You can also raise money in a crowdfunding campaign on FundMyTravel.com.
Is your teacher concerned about their own finances? Good news! Teachers are actually eligible for a number of discounts and can also find travel grants. If that’s not an incentive to take you abroad, what is?
Build a Global Community
Much of a teacher’s passion is dedicated to opening the minds of students to new ways of thinking and living. Remind your teacher that by taking you and your classmates abroad, you’ll be completely immersed in another culture, forced to reevaluate your own personal beliefs and to expand your perception of the world.
What better way to become global citizens of the world than to explore it?
When asking your favorite high school teacher to take you and your classmates to Italy, it’s important to remember that this isn’t like asking for an extension on your paper, this is much bigger than that. Be sure to take it seriously, do your research, and present your case as thoroughly as possible.
Going abroad at such a young age is an incredible experience, especially when traveling to a country that is meaningful to you both academically and personally. Make sure that you express that when convincing your teacher to take you abroad to Italy. This is what dreams are made of!