Do you want to see places you’ve read about in textbooks or seen online, develop your language skills, and build relationships with people from different cultures? Then summer travel is for you!
We live in a diverse, increasingly connected world, and universities and employers often look for candidates who are enthusiastic about being part of it. Summer travel is a unique opportunity to see the world and develop forward-looking skills and interests.
You can immerse yourself in a target language, experience stunning environments, and gain confidence and skills with like-minded peers from other countries. There are many options, both self-guided and with organisations that help you make the most of a future-focused travel experience, including academic summer schools like Oxford Scholastica Academy.
There are thousands of travel destinations offering life-changing experiences. Even picking just one continent can be difficult! We hope this guide helps you start your journey to planning the perfect summer.
Top Summer Travel Destinations for High School Students
The first thing to do is consider what you want from the experience. Are you looking for outdoor activities and adventure? Are you interested in helping local wildlife, or trying new cuisines? Do you want to immerse yourself in a target language? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
A popular travel destination for young people, Italy has it all! Visit famous scenes from your favourite movies, tuck into the best pizza and pasta, and immerse yourself in music and art in some of the most beautiful cities in the world.
2. Costa Rica
Visit the incredible rainforests of Costa Rica! Volunteer with environmental conservation teams and do your bit to fight the effects of climate change, all while meeting young people who are just as passionate about creating a better world.
Ireland is famously one of the most hospitable countries in the world, making it a great place to start when travelling for the first time. Visit ancient castles, walk the streets of your favourite authors, and maybe even take in some Riverdance!
Head to Vietnam for a stunning exotic destination. Go island-hopping, chase sunsets, and experience the amazing tropical environment. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, the variety of amazing local food will be sure to satisfy every palette.
5. New Zealand
Home to some iconic movie scenery, New Zealand has plenty to offer! With wild seas, rugged landscapes, and prehistoric forests, this is the perfect destination for adventure. Explore Māori history, and maybe try out national sports like rugby and cricket.
Top Summer Enrichment Activities for Teens
International travel demonstrates the ability to embrace adventure, adapt to change, and learn on the go in unfamiliar environments. It’s a great opportunity to show that you’re interested in personal development and working with others.
We all need a holiday to rest and recuperate ahead of the next academic year, so if you’re looking for a relaxing break with good food, that’s wonderful! If you’re looking to combine your travel with some added benefits to help you write your CV or your university application, there are plenty of opportunities to explore.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Many countries offer unique chances to give back to the community while taking a break from the classroom. This could be conservation volunteering, like working to safeguard sea turtles in Greece, or helping with community construction projects in Zanzibar.
You’re sure to find a project that you will find fulfilling, and you’ll get to meet other young people with a similar passion for creating positive change in that field.
Try teaching or being a team leader for younger students while you travel. Work with local teachers to assist in essential skill development for vulnerable groups, like girls in India and Tibet. If you’d rather be outside the classroom, you can help to develop and promote sports in disadvantaged communities, like football coaching in Ghana.
Summer internships are a great way to gain new skills and build your resume while exploring a new country. There’s an internship opportunity for every preference! Why not do business or media in Japan? Or perhaps get some hands-on experience in healthcare in Morocco or Greece? Alternatively, consider online internships for students as a flexible option, allowing you to gain valuable work experience while traveling abroad and enjoying your summer adventures.
9. Summer Schools
There are countless benefits to attending a summer school abroad, making them a great option for young travellers. They can help to prepare you for university, create valuable, long-lasting relationships with your peers from around the world, and provide a valuable stepping stone between living at home and moving to college.
Summer schools are often in famous cities with excellent links for international and domestic travel to make the most of your visit. Make new friends at summer school both inside and outside of the classroom as you build a network of like-minded, engaged international students, and explore new places together!
The Oxford Scholastica Academy is a leading provider of summer courses in Oxford, UK. Oxford is the ideal place to begin a journey of discovery and delve into your academic interests. Our summer programmes offer innovative and forward-thinking study set against the backdrop of this unique city’s history and architecture.
Trying out university-style courses will help you to develop the thinking and communication skills future teachers and employers look for. At Oxford Scholastica, you can choose from a range of exciting courses, from a Medicine summer programme, to our Creative Writing summer school. There really is something for everyone!
Summer schools can teach new skills and boost confidence outside the classroom by giving you the chance to try independent living. At Oxford Scholastica, you’ll get to stay in an Oxford University student residence and explore this iconic city with new friends. There is also plenty of opportunity for cultural adventure, including trips to Windsor Castle and Blenheim Palace, outdoor sports, and an international ball.
Planning Your High School Travel Experience
Planning your trip in advance is essential for making the most of travel opportunities. With good scheduling you can work on self-development and outreach with plenty of time for relaxation and exploration. You could even squeeze in more that one destination if you think ahead.
If you’re visiting Copenhagen, why not hop on a train to Sweden? Or catch the Eurostar from London to Paris for a weekend? Proper research will also prevent any unexpected surprises – remember that the other side of the world will be in winter during your summertime, so pack your scarf!
How to Choose the Right Summer Travel Experience
The most important thing is to talk with your parents and decide your budget and what you want from your travel experience. Carefully consider what you hope to achieve, and how you might use existing organisations, like Oxford Scholastica, to have your dream summer travel experience.
Research and compare options and consult with a travel advisor or educational consultant to make sure you get the best arrangement for you. Whatever your interests, goals or budget, there is an opportunity for everyone.
Summer travel is your first step as a global citizen of the future. Get planning today and get out in the world!
By Alice Spiers
Alice is an historian at St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she teaches undergraduate history (predominantly medieval history and historiographical theory). She is also a freelance writer and editor, and a research assistant at the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Studies.
Keen to add Oxford to your travel plans this summer?
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