Students practice language skills in local markets, interact with community members, initiate community service projects and participate in a weeklong homestay. These cultural experiences help cultivate self-awareness, respect, and a sense of environmental and social responsibility for Traveling School students.
Since 2003, Traveling School students have completed over 8,700 community service hours. Here are a few examples of past semester community service projects completed by Traveling School students.
Southern Africa Semester:
- Volunteer time at children’s orphanages outside Eshowe, South Africa.
- Work with local youth groups to foster mentoring partnerships and hold workshops for local students through Generation for Change outside of Cape Town, South Africa.
- Volunteer at the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Includes: data collection and conservancy awareness, cleaning pens, clearing the exercise yard, and maintaining cheetah facilities.
- Teach conservation issues in the schools and community.
- Assist with rural home-building for those who do not have the means to build for themselves (monetarily or physically).
- Build schools in Livingstone, Zambia. Students work with professional builders and the community to assist with building new classrooms and schools. This includes helping with mixing cement, making and laying bricks, laying concrete floors, plastering walls, and painting.
- Teach in preschool and primary schools to help local teachers educate students in creative ways.
- Teach in local classrooms and community centers to help improve the
students’ understanding of English, both written and reading, as well as mathematics.
- Play sports with and coach local youth. Help organize mixed-age teams and create environments of good sportsmanship. Football, or soccer, is by far the most popular sport, as is volleyball. We help with maintaining the playing fields, repairing equipment, donating uniforms and sports equipment, training the teams, coaching and organizing matches.
- Farm and volunteer work on small communal plots of land.
- Volunteer in local schools to assist teachers with lessons, and organize learning games and sports with mixed-age students.
- Build and paint schools and community centers. Includes: cement mixing, plastering the floor and walls, as well as painting. We work under the supervision of a professional local builder. In addition, we paint and refurbishing existing classrooms, as well as helping fix old and broken classroom furniture.
Each semester, TTS students break into into small groups or pairs and stay with local families. TTS students will spend 5-7 days with their group stay family. Typically, our groups have consistently visited the same families for years and TTS students live with the same families year after year. How we organize our group stays depends on the size of each community, the size of the homes, and the semester.
During the group stay, TTS students connect with a family and take part in daily activities of shopping, cooking, and simply getting to know each other. The cultural exchange and learning experience is rewarding for both the students and the family involved. During the days, students may meet for regularly scheduled classes and activities. For certain semesters, students complete a community service project simultaneously. The Traveling School works with reliable and well-known organizations to place our students with trustworthy and dependable families.
Our goal is to have students feel connected with a local family while participating with their daily activities. The group stay is a remarkable experience for most students, and helps them practice speaking a foreign language in an immersion setting. Students also learn to accept the challenges and successes of inter-cultural communication.