Not all learning comes from a classroom

This was a persuasive speech that Naomi wrote for her English class. We thought it captured the spirit of the trip well and also covered some of the major points of the trip so far so we decided to post it. Enjoy!

While hiking on Isla De Sol in Bolivia over looking the largest alpine lake in the world,  we stopped and sat down on a stone table used for sacrificing humans in Inca times. You don’t get that close to history in social studies class. “Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.”, a quote from Mark Twain. Not all learning comes from a class room.  Not all education comes from text books or lectures. Education can also come from travelling and experiencing the world. School is important, but it can’t teach us everything. I have been travelling for six months and have learned more about the world than I ever would have sitting and listening to a teacher. I have learnt about global politics, environmental issues,  and different cultures. I have learnt about history, languages, and different cuisines. My social skills have grown immensely as well as my perspective on the world today. Not only does travelling educate you but it also gives you adventure. Travelling challenges you in ways school never could.

Sure politics can be taught from a text book, but it is different when you experience it first hand. While learning to surf in California, I had many political conversations with locals about the election of Donald Trump. I learned about their political system, how it works and how it doesn’t, how their politics compares to Canada’s and how it effects other countries. When volunteering at a children’s home in Bolivia I heard how their leader, Evo Morales, started out as a  good president. At first Evo was very good to the 37 indigenous groups. However, he changed over time and is now trying to build a hydro electric dam in a national park that will flood an area where many indigenous people live. Now the indigenous groups are united against him and are threatening civil unrest. I learned how he eliminated his opposition and changed the constitution so he could stay in power longer. Travelling has taught me a lot about politics and how it effects individuals.

Temperate rain forests, tropical rain forests, deserts, boreal forests, grasslands, coral reefs. These are some of the different biomes I have experienced while travelling. When you travel not only do you encounter different environments but also you see how global warming is takings its toll on our earth. I have seen that the coral reefs are starting to bleach and die, I have seen glaciers starting to recede and disappear, and I can see that the rainy season isn’t that rainy anymore. In many developing countries there are heaps of garbage that flood the streets, rivers, and lakes. There are water shortages all over the world. California, Bolivia, South Africa, Ethiopia are all in droughts. You don’t fully understand or care about these problems until you have seen or experienced them. In La Paz Bolivia I have seen crowds of people lined up behind trucks with buckets waiting to get water for their families. In fact, I have been one of those people. I have seen the military handing out jugs of water to people who have been with out it for 20 days in a row. Seeing and experiencing these situations can teach you more than science class ever could.

Where do you think you would learn more? Looking up pictures and information on spider monkeys online, or helping take care of rescued monkeys at a wild animal refuge in the Bolivian jungle.  What would impact you more? Researching online the disappearance of sea stars along the west coast of North America, or sailing with a local  from Haida Gwaii who has seen these dramatic, and rapid changes in our oceans.

There are so many different cultures that we don’t learn about in school. When you travel you are immersed in some of these cultures. You learn about different social expectations, religions, traditions, foods, and arts. While you travel you make connections and new friends from around the world. I have made friends from Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Switzerland, France, Norway, and even Canada. Though you might not stay in touch with all the people you meet you can still learn a lot  from them. They can teach you about their cultures, like how you are supposed to greet someone or about how their education system works.

In social studies class you learn a little European and Canadian history, but when you travel you can go to the historic places and museums to learn even more. While travelling on Haida GwaiiI I visited three abandoned first nations village sites and was given the history by a local Haida. I learned more about the devastation of European contact than I would have listening to a teacher drone on about certain dates and names.

Viajar puede animarle a aprender nuevos idiomas ( traveling may encourage you learn new languages)! Learning a new language opens so many opportunities for meeting new people or getting to know a place better. In school you may take a French or Spanish class but if you aren’t speaking the language every day, you don’t progress much. Travelling improved my Spanish much faster then it would have sitting in french class, because I needed it.

Feeding spider monkeys at a wild animal refuge, volunteering at a home for children removed from abusive or neglectful homes, helping woman and children who have been trafficked, sailing through Gwaii Haanas, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are only some of the life changing experiences I have had while travelling. From theses experiences I have learnt about biology, global politics, environment, cultures, history, and languages.  They have given me perspective, confidence, and individuality. Not all learning happens in a classroom. Education comes from life experiences so go travelling, go experience the world, go get an education.