Exciting Times in Educational Travel!
These are some exciting times to be working in the educational travel world. For the past couple of years, WorldBrain has heard more and more high schools are rigorously attempting to create far-reaching, all-student global studies programs. We have even heard rumors that some schools are requiring all their teachers to establish education travels for their students or else! Personally, I’ve never been more excited working in educational travel than recently at a meeting in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. Marc is the Director of Partnerships and Community Engagement at the school and he has a big mission. As Marc told me “We want to create the premier high school study abroad business program in America.” Smiles in a meeting are always a good thing but I could hardly stop myself from grinning ear to ear when Marc continued, “I want WorldBrain to help us craft our ‘why.’” Oh wow, do entrepreneurs know about the “why!” Marc is embarking on a huge journey and he asked WorldBrain to help. We were hooked.
First Step in Developing the Global Studies Program
Marc and his school are starting their international studies program essentially from scratch. Their school has taken a few trips in the past, including a service-learning project to Haiti, but now they are working to establish something concrete and recurring. Marc, much like numerous other schools and universities across the country, is facing the same challenge that entrepreneurs face around the world. Designing the “why” statement. This statement is the driving force behind all decisions a business or program is going to make. Finding your own ‘why’ is the first step to starting any lasting program.
Do It In One Sentence, If You Can…
It’s easy to assume that the school’s “why” would be “to offer the premier high school study abroad business program in America” but this is wrong. That is “what” they are offering, not “why” they are creating the program. Also, there is a difference between a “why” statement and a mission statement. Mission statements tend to be longer, sometimes as long as a paragraph with bullet points underscoring important benchmarks or goals. Although very important, they tend to be a little boring and should actually come after the “why” statement. If our goal is always to get as many students as possible to experience the world, a why statement will work much better. Why statements are succinct. Two or three sentences at most, the best being just one sentence, that drive to the very heart of the program’s rationale.
A Few of the Best
Searching for some examples, it’s always good to get some inspiration from some of the big players out there. Here is Google’s – “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Direct and to the point but this doesn’t help Marc out very much. So WorldBrain decided to explore some of the “why” statements from high school international studies programs across the country and find a few of the best to help Marc’s school discover their “why.”
The Bush School – Intercultural Study Program
“The Intercultural Study Program helps students develop the skills, confidence, and desire to immerse themselves in other cultures and engage in global social, political, and cultural issues for the rest of their lives. The program is not focused on travel or tourism, but rather on allowing students to achieve clear educational goals.”
Cape Henry Collegiate School – Nexus Center for Global Studies
“To enhance personal growth, tolerance and trust through positive group relations and stimulating world experiences. To lead students to the discovery of their passions and dreams by enlivening their senses, challenging their boundaries, and broadening their knowledge of the unfamiliar.”
Harpeth Hall – Exchange Programs
“…cross-culture interaction provides our students with awareness, understanding, and appreciation of others and how they live.”
We’ll be back soon with Marc’s school’s actual “why” statement and we can’t wait to let everyone know what it is! Know any schools with great statements? Let us know!