At Discova, we take great pride in our commitment to educational travel. With our award-winning educational travel team offering experiential programs, our guiding principle is ‘win-win-win’ – meaning that everybody involved profits from these experiences. From the participants in our programs to the communities and destinations involved, everybody can gain from these mutually beneficial exchanges.
We progressed into 2020 with a renewed commitment to providing unique on-the-ground educational experiences, looking for opportunities to share our expertise and empower learners. However, the closure of borders in many countries because of COVID has made physical travel out of bounds for travellers around the world.
We believe that, just as the human desire for travel has not and will not subside during this enforced break in our travel plans, so is the human desire to learn persevering and prevailing. Due to growing demand, we have managed to launch a continuation of our educational efforts. With such a demand for our educational products, we feel privileged to support our students’ learning through a series of virtual educational programs. Although we hope to meet our students face-to-face and in-destination again soon, we believe our virtual experiences can provide our partners with the rewarding learning experiences that our team is renowned for.
We invite students to come together to approach new languages, immerse themselves in a new culture, interact with hosts from a different country, and learn new skills in the process. Through the creation of these virtual experiences, we ensure that travellers are still empowered to learn and grow.
Virtual Student Exchanges
Our exchange programs are based around the belief that interacting with people from another culture will actively improve all participants – encouraging empathy and an international mindset in which we consider ourselves universal citizens. It’s a bold claim, but we see from experience that these exchanges enrich the spirit of those involved. In this virtual experience, students socialise through games and other activities while learning about the language, history, gastronomy, and attractions of their respective countries. It is a real exchange of ideas as those involved are simultaneously teachers and students.
What better way to immerse in a country’s culture than with some hands-on practical activities associated with that country? This is what we aim to do with our virtual workshops. For instance, when learning about Vietnamese culture, we can help learners gain insight with our workshop guided by an expert Vietnamese chef. As learners are guided through the preparation and concoction of iconic Vietnamese meals such as bun cha or pho, they are taught of the cultural significance of each dish. It is often remarkable to see how the characteristics of a culture can be drawn just from its approach to cuisine. We offer programs like this and more to get learners appreciating new cultures and gaining skills at the same time.
Through these remote programs, students will be led by a locally-based expert guide to experience visiting their destination, taking in the sites and landscapes while listening to the informed observations of the guide. Through a mixture of pre-recorded and live content, this experience offers students uniquely valuable learning experiences. Supplemented with games, activities, and students’ own research, the virtual tour itself forms only the foundation of the learning opportunity.
We are proud to have cooperated with universities across Asia to offer remote learning opportunities, giving students the chance to continue their studies. We offer programs of remote collaboration between students and host universities. The programs will provide the chance for peer-to-peer learning, with experts in respective fields acting as mentors guiding students through their studies. We plan to expand into several areas of study so that students can obtain their credits in a tailored program that fits with their curriculum.
We are proud of the groundwork laid down with these virtual programs. However, we are continually looking for ways to differentiate and improve our services. As such, it is important to highlight that there is still work to be done.
As Phuong Doan, Head of Discova Educational Travel, stresses, “These virtual programs are just the beginning of what we can offer to our partners. We are flexible and can customise our products to suit the needs and demands of schools, universities, and educational travel agents. Our experts offer us a wide range of knowledge to draw upon, so there is a breadth of experiences available for partners. We encourage partners to reach out and start a discussion about the possibilities of remote learning with Discova.”
We believe in the long-term potential of these programs. As Eileen Yee, Regional General Manager, highlights, “these virtual experiential programs should form part of our services even after borders reopen and physical visits can resume. Remote learning can actually provide a complementary experience that many will want to take advantage of.”
This forms part of a broader community understanding that the enforced break in travel has given us the chance to improve and upgrade on our services. Out of the unfortunate circumstances of borders closing, we can see that our educational experiences will be augmented by these virtual elements.
Also, of course, our virtual educational programs follow the robust health and safety standards set out by Discova, including our Child Protection Policy.
Our Virtual Programs are ready and waiting to be customised to suit the needs of our partners. We would love to hear from partners on how we can alter our services. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our teams at [email protected].