The end of the year is a pivotal time when many decisions are being made about what we’ll do right now versus put off until the next year, including planning that next educational tour. Perhaps you have always planned your tour in the Spring, giving families a year to pay for the tour, which appeared to be long enough. Or, maybe you would prefer to plan in the Fall, but feel as though families wouldn’t be able to commit that long before the departure. We’re here to tell you, without a doubt, that everyone benefits from earlier enrollment opportunities.
On our end, we get to see the positive impact planning more than one year before departure has on the overall tour experience from deposit to departure. More importantly, we see how much more accessible these programs become to many families and students. Planning your tour early and opening enrollment long before the Spring is in everyone’s best interest! Here are 3 reasons why we believe so strongly about this:
1. More time = equal opportunity for more students to enroll = better on-tour experience where you get to see the impact you are making on their lives first hand. While we offer the same program price to groups of 6 as we do groups of 60, there are some special benefits for your group when it reaches a certain size like more free-chaperone places, travel grants, or a private tour!
2. The Donation Page, as seen below, gives families peace of mind knowing that they have the support they need to send their son or daughter on the tour. For families who want the world for their kids, but worry about how they might afford it, the donation page is something everyone should use. As we’ll see in Sophie’s story – it really works miracles.
3. Finally, and perhaps a reason many don’t realize, the earlier your group is filled up, the better access our Operations team has to make the most ideal itinerary for the group. We get first pick of flight paths on your behalf, and will look at any special requests you may have early on – making sure we are able to fulfill them as best we can.
Not totally convinced? Keep reading. We were recently touched by an inspiring and moving story one of our travellers shared with us and felt it needed to be shared…
Sophie is a grade 12 student in Alberta who is enrolled on her schools’ Service Learning trip to Tanzania in March of 2018. The trip involves a community service project in the Longido Region where the students will aid in improving community infrastructure and overall access to a higher quality of life. They will learn about issues surrounding Education, Health, Clean Water and Sanitation, Alternative Income, and Agriculture and food security. It is an incredibly rewarding experience and, no doubt, life changing. Sophie feels so strongly about making a difference that she chose this trip over joining her other classmates on their grad trip down South where she felt all she would return home with was a sun tan, which she can do any time (pretty awesome, right?).
Sophie’s mom was worried about the financial aspect but couldn’t hold her back from an opportunity like this. Luckily, Sophie’s teacher began planning the trip back in the Fall of 2016 – giving families 15 months (and two holiday seasons) to make payments. If it weren’t for this, many families would not have been able to make the trip a reality, not just Sophie’s. Sophie’s mom found herself worrying about the balance that needed to be put towards the tour; she would be heartbroken if she had to take Sophie off the tour.
It was at that very moment that Sophie took it upon herself to post her Tour Donation Page on her Facebook, asking friends and family to donate whatever they could to her trip rather than buying her a birthday or Christmas gift. With this decision, Sophie was able to collect enough to afford the rest of her trip and lift a huge weight off her mom’s shoulders. They are both so grateful and excited to see the positive impact Sophie will have over in Tanzania, and the person she will be when she returns home.
Sophie’s story is only one example that shows us how important planning a tour early really is. At EF, our dream is that every student is able to experience a life changing educational tour, and while we know there will be roadblocks, we want to do our absolute best every single day to make that dream accessible to as many young people as possible. Through fundraising efforts, the donation page, and crowdfunding, students’ dreams really can be turned in to a reality, they just need the time to do so.
So if you’ve been sitting on the fence about when you should take the next step and open enrollment on your next tour, just remember Sophie’s story and trust us when we say the benefits are infinite. If we can give access to one more student on every tour by planning early, that’s countless lives changed and eyes opened to the global classroom. After all, that is the goal.