VIEWS & OPINION
Practical advice on how to stay safe when taking students abroad
Comment by GILL HARVEY of the School Travel Forum
5 top tips for dealing with stress when studying
Comment by SIAN DUFFIN, Student Support Manager at Arden University
Whilst school trips are statistically one of the safest environments for children to be in, they can also be a stressful time for tour organisers who are dealing with unfamiliar environments whilst in charge of a large group of pupils. Enabling students to experience overseas travel and gain first-hand insights
into foreign languages, cultures and different geographical and historical landscapes, brings considerable educational and personal development benefits. When deciding whether to run educational visits overseas it is helpful to
balance the potential risks against the desired learning outcomes. Setting clear learning objectives from the start helps to ensure that the trip reinforces learning back in school. Schools can gain assurance by choosing a provider holding the Learning
Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge. This national accreditation helps schools identify organisations offering safe, good quality educational experiences. By booking through an LOtC Quality Badged provider, the school can be
assured that the operator will constantly review up-to-date information in the particular area and country which the group is travelling to. Their suppliers in these locations will be up to date with any changes locally. The Tour Operator will also be planning and running numerous groups and have experience and insightful knowledge to help keep their customers safe when travelling through ports and to overseas destinations. If anything should ever go wrong, the tour operator will be able to support
the group through their local relationships and through their teams back in the office. This is a great bonus when group leaders have to deal with the unexpected. Full details of all badged providers can be found at www.schooltravelforum.co
m. Top tips for planning educational visits overseas • Nominate an experienced visit leader and ensure that robust emergency procedures are in place and shared with the staff team.
• Consult the Foreign Commonwealth Office Travel Advice for the country you intend to visit at an early stage of planning for the trip, as well as closer to the departure date to stay informed of travel security information.
• Save the contact details for the relevant Embassy or Consulate and have them with you.
• Check passport and visa requirements well in advance. Ensure that everyone has a valid passport and that they have adequate time left on them before they expire. Some countries require a minimum of six months’ time prior to expiry.
• Ensure that all those travelling have adequate travel insurance. Check that medical repatriation and specific or unusual activities are covered as well as cancellation in the event of Foreign Office advice not to travel.
• Designate and brief a contact back at school who can be available 24/7 to coordinate all communications in an emergency. Ensure they have access to the visit planning details, including the contact details for the families of all those travelling with you.
uFurther guidance for those involved in planning and leading foreign visits is available from: www.oeapng.in
Stress is something that every student, no matter their age, course, location or level of study, will experience. It’s also something that can have a multitude of triggers, whether it’s deadlines, time management issues, a lack of confidence or of course, results! In my work, I not only assist students with stress but after going
back into education, I am also learning to manage my own work-life balance. Here are some top tips to keep those stress levels down:
• Write a list It really helps to make a list of everything that is making you feel stressed and any tasks that are associated. Not only does it allow you to offload onto paper, but it also helps to see your tasks written down and makes it easier to break them down into manageable chunks. If you can, try and walk away from the list when it is written and come back to look at it with a clearer head.
• Assess your working style A lot of the time it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done but again, try and take a step back and look at how effectively you are using your time. Try and figure out when you are most productive and plan your study around that – is it in the morning or at night? Is it for longer periods of time or short bursts with more breaks?
• Use positive language When you’re stressed it’s so easy to be negative but try to alter your mindset a little. If you can start thinking positively about everything you have achieved so far, your studies going forward will seem much more achievable. A positive mental attitude will also help you feel calmer and alleviate some pressure!
• Take a deep breath If you’re feeling stressed it can lead to panic or loss of control. When students contact the support team at Arden with any concerns, we encourage them to try some breathing exercises which can be very effective. It’s worked for me in the past, sometimes fresh air can help too.
• Build a support network Isolation can really increase stress levels so having the right people to support you when you’re studying is so important, a problem shared is a problem halved! As many of our students study by distance learning, they’re able to call our Student Support team for a chat if they ever feel like they need someone to talk to. We also offer a 24-hour hotline for students that need it outside office hours, often by the time students have talked to someone about how they’re feeling, they feel much better.
uFor more information on Arden University, visit: https://arden.ac.uk
or follow us on Twitter @Arden_Uni or on Facebook.
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