Are there benefits to travel education? Does being immersed in a new setting, and working in the midst of a unique culture, provide students with valuable skills and knowledge?
By Jared Schaalje M.S., M.S.ed, CPhT Academic Dean at ACHS
In my opinion, yes! Of course, I have to give full disclosure here and admit my bias. In my early 20’s, I chose to live and work in Taiwan for 2 years, as a volunteer teacher. The benefits of this experience are almost too numerous to count. I learned to speak a new language. I was exposed to a beautiful culture and gained a profound respect for a wonderful people. As for natural medicine and holistic health, I acquired a great respect for acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
While in Taiwan, an amazing medical doctor performed acupuncture on my head, face and neck for migraine headaches. Another person gave me a Chinese herbal powder mixture for canker sores on my gums, and I was almost immediately healed within minutes of administering that burning hot spicy powder blend! Another doctor did Chinese reflexology on my hand, when I experienced difficult stomach problems. Finally, nearly every morning while riding my bike to various meetings around the cities where I lived, I would observe hundreds of elderly Chinese practicing Tai Chi in large groups in the city parks. These same city parks also featured “reflexology paths”, where people would walk barefoot over a path of strategically placed stones that would provide pressure on each key reflexology point on the foot.
Perhaps one of the greatest things I gained was a whole new way of viewing the world. Because of growing up in small towns in the western United States and Canada, my worldview was quite limited before this experience. In a good way, I am not the same person I was in my earlier years, because of my “travel education”. The way I solve problems, the way I approach medicine, and the way I interact with others, are all profoundly different because of my travel education experience. Moreover, the path I chose in life was strongly influenced by my travel education.
At ACHS, we similarly desire that all of you can have a rich, profound, and life-changing experience in natural health education. Upon graduation, we hope that you will be a different person.
One of the ways we provide this insightful and meaningful education is to offer travel education opportunities. When these travel education experiences are coupled with our powerful web-based courses, you have a truly unique chance to refine your natural medicine skills, and become expert in your chosen area of holistic health (e.g. aromatherapy, herbal medicine, complementary alternative medicine, or wellness coaching). We carefully choose strategic international locations, which have a long history of natural medicine and continue their traditions of wellness today. These include places such as Indonesia, India and Greece.
These travel education experiences are somewhat analogous to a medical residency or clinical internship, which are a common part of programs for students hoping to become physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists or nurses. These travel education experiences are also very similar to international student teaching experiences, which are becoming a more common part of many teacher-training programs at universities here in the United States. Just as these pre-professionals gain valuable knowledge and refine their skills during these experiences, our travel education experiences will likewise provide you with a fantastic setting for perfecting your craft.
Worldwide and international learning environments prepare students to be more employable, and better equipped for collaborating with diverse workgroups (Richardson, 2012). Travel education can help learners develop a greater sense of community, and increase their ability to affect positive change (Rodriguez, 2011). Travel education refines the ability of students to cooperate with others, and results in a greater appreciation for their unique place in society (Sorenson, 2010). Finally, another fantastic benefit of travel education appears to be better psychological and bodily health (Ahn & Janke, 2011).
If you want a rejuvenating, life-changing experience that will hone your natural health skills and help you to better serve your clients, then please consider a travel learning experience with ACHS!
Ahn, Y., & Janke, M. C. (2011). Motivations and Benefits of the Travel Experiences of Older Adults. Educational Gerontology, 37(8), 653-673.
Richardson, P. (2012). Teaching with a Global Perspective. Inquiry, 17(1), 43-50.
Rodriguez, E. (2011). What Pre-Service Teachers Bring Home when They Travel Abroad: Rethinking Teaching through a Short International Immersion Experience. Scholar-Practitioner Quarterly, 5(3), 289-305.
Sorensen, B. (2010). Transformative Travel--Experiences in Mexico, NYC Change Students' Lives. Tribal College Journal Of American Indian Higher Education, 22(2), 26-29.