Taking Students Abroad: How to Generate Student and Parent Interest

Planning a school trip abroad?

Once you’ve got approval from the principal and the school board, the next people to inform are the students and parents.

They’re the most important people in regards to the planning of the trip – they’re the people who are going to be attending (and paying for!) it, after all – so you’re going to want to make sure that you have their interest right from the start.

Generating Student Interest

It’s generally easy to rally student interest for school trips; children and young adults will be excited about the idea of doing something different for a few days, spending time with friends and seeing some of the things that they’ve been learning about in action.

When telling the students about the trip it’s important to make it sound fun yet educational. Some students’ first excitement might be geared to a week’s worth of sleepovers with their friends and not having to go to their most hated class for a few days; but be sure to focus on how the trip will be a fantastic educational experience that will make learning fun.

Getting the children excited about the trip is the first step in recruiting trip attendees. But next, you need to generate parent interest in the trip; which is often much more challenging!

Generating Parent Interest

Firstly, it’s important to send your expressions of interest out to parents in advance – generally at least 12-18 months before, depending on the trip type and the average budget of your students’ parents. One of the main worries that parents have in regards to school trips is financial – but getting trip information out this early will help them work out a budget.

It’s crucial to try and offer the trip as inexpensively as possible, so once you’ve decided on a provider, try to negotiate the best deals with them. Think about ways you could cut costs – flying midweek, choosing cheaper restaurants or putting students in dorm-style rooms are all great budgeting techniques.

Information Packs

Send out an information pack to the parents containing all the information they’ll need about the trip. It should include:

The reason for the trip which will include the learning objectives and what the students will personally gain. You could mention both educational advance and personal skills; like independence and problem solving.

The day by day itinerary of your trip, and everything that the trip includes. Incorporate some pictures!

Information about the accommodation, any restaurants or included meals and the transport options that you will use.

Health and safety information relating to the destination, the trip provider, and any information you have about the accommodation or transport options.

Mention insurance options and provide medical consent forms for the parents to complete.

Can you include a cancellation policy? This might be an incentive for some parents who are a bit unsure about whether to sign up.

Information Evening

The information evening will follow the initial contact and provide the facts and figures in an interactive form, inviting parents to learn more about the proposed trip and ask any questions at the end.

Presenting your ideas to a school hall of parents is understandably nerve-wracking, but with the correct planning, you’ll be able to create an informative evening for the parents. Remember that your aim is to help parents understand the objectives of the trip and persuade them to send their children abroad for the experience of a lifetime!

Make a PowerPoint for the information evening, addressing any questions that the parents may have. Draw a special emphasis on the trip provider, including any success stories, and mention the opportunities that the trip will bring to your students. Describe the destination positively, emphasizing how it is a fantastic place for your students to visit.

Speak slowly and clearly, stopping after each topic to ask if there are any questions. And once again, make sure you carefully detail the health and safety procedures of such a trip.

Make sure to stick around after the information evening for any more questions – you can guarantee that there will be a few! Parents whose children have health problems may be particularly concerned – it’s a good idea to research how you can adapt the school trip so that they can be included prior to the evening.

After the information evening, send out sign up sheets so parents can add their sons and daughters to the list of participants. Then just wait for the submissions to come in!


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