‘Development education’ is the foundation of our work, but we understand it’s a term that’s often misconstrued. To us, ‘development education’ is the practice and process of supporting young travellers to explore critical global issues and inequalities. As status quo comes under question, students reflect on their roles and responsibilities in the modern world.
“We discussed topics that actually meant something to us and, for many of us, those discussions have challenged and even changed our views on controversial issues” – Christina, student, University of North Florida | travelled in 2017
Exploring development on an Ayana Journeys’ study tour can be a life-changing experience, and a lot goes in to carefully curating a journey that is transformative for its participants. We use the following building blocks to achieve our learning objectives, and support our students in having a transformative travel experience:
Responsible travel – We invite students to examine the varied impacts of the tourism industry, explore its role in ‘developing’ countries, and consider the steps they can take to ensure their current and future travels have a positive impact on the communities hosting them.
Cultural immersion – Informal language classes, morning Buddhism chats, rural homestays, local transport options, and even shared meals all weave together to create a holistic insight into Khmer culture, allowing students to connect with Cambodia and its people on a deeper level.
Historical context – Every place is a product of its past and nowhere is this truer than Cambodia, a fast-changing country still recovering from a turbulent 20th century. Students visit significant sites, learn of peace and reconciliation efforts, and consider the effect of one generation’s actions on another’s.
Curated discomfort – Outside of our comfort zone is where the most powerful learning takes place, so we intentionally craft challenging experiences that stretch our students physically and intellectually. It is in these moments that students often learn the most about themselves, and each other.
Inspiring connections – Rather that ‘owning’ our students’ experience or carefully crafting a certain impression of Cambodia, we introduce students to a variety of change-makers, community leaders, experts, and activists who each share their own stories.
Facilitated learning – Facilitated workshops and discussion are designed to provoke critical thinking around complex issues, encourage personal growth, support healthy group dynamics, and maximise the learning potential of visits, meetings, and other activities.
Reflection and debrief – Dedicated time for reflections and debriefs is integral to processing new experiences and ideas, and provides students with the opportunity to dig deeper into complex issues. ‘Unpacking’ information together also helps to ensure no one feels overwhelmed.
What next? – Travel can be truly transformative, and our aim is that the skills and insights students develop in Cambodia flourish long after they return home. Students are therefore encouraged to consider how their Cambodian journey may impact their future interests, actions, and choices.
If you’d like to begin your process of building a tailor-made educational adventure in Cambodia, please get in touch.