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Travel and Learn, The Bite of the Travel Bug


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Organizations such as Education First (EF) Tours, which runs educational tours for students and teachers, offers more formal learning while touring. Educators often can earn continuing education credits and deduct the cost of the tours from their taxes. Some teachers also work with groups like EFT as guides or intermediaries.

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Tiffany Burkle, a science teacher in Denver, Colorado, works as an independent travel consultant with EF Tours. "I tell EF where the group wants to go, when they want to go, specific interests the group has -- such as seeing a particular site or going to a particular event-- and they put together the itinerary for me," Burkle told Education World. "They also handle purchasing airline tickets, providing a bus and bus driver to take us along our tour, and supplying a full-time, bilingual, local tour guide who is with us from the time we get off the plane at our destination to the time we get on the plane to go home."

Burkle also submits the paperwork for teachers who want to earn continuing education credit.

Opportunities for summer travel may still exist for this year, and teachers also can explore options for future trips, she added.

Several current and former teachers also noted that once the travel bug bites, it's hard to ignore globetrotting urges.

"I got hooked on travel when I took a group of students to Europe in 1970. It changed my life, and I'm sure it changed the lives of my students. My first time abroad, I got hooked. I've been traveling ever since."

"I got hooked on travel when I took a group of students to Europe in 1970," said Ellen Kalish, a former English teacher and co-owner of Cruise Center, an agency in Houston, Texas, that exclusively books cruises. "It changed my life, and I'm sure it changed the lives of my students. My first time abroad, I got hooked. I've been traveling ever since.

"In the early days of my marriage, we didn't have much money, but we still managed to go places," she added. "I have children who think travel is a birthright."

Burkle also began to appreciate the benefits of traveling after several high school trips, and now is eager to pass on her passion to others. "I began traveling as a student in high school with the school's marching band," she said. "Then, during my second year of teaching, I went on a tour to Italy with a group of 50 teachers from the area.

"I love to travel and had been fortunate enough to have teachers and colleagues provide me with the opportunities to travel," she added, "So I decided that I wanted to give those same opportunities to my students and to other teachers."

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