LEARNING OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM
There’s a limit to what you can learn in a classroom. While formal, traditional education is an important part of developing the knowledge and skills you’ll need to succeed in life, there is a vast world of learning opportunities waiting just beyond those walls.
Seeking formal learning opportunities outside of the classroom gives you a chance to take what you’ve theorized about at your desk in school and test it out in the real world. While you can do this on your own if you’re motivated, structured learning outside of the classroom helps you get the resources you need to broaden your horizons and gain a deeper understanding of the things that you’re passionate about.
One non-profit organization that facilitates such experiential learning is Global Citizen Year, which offers immersive learning programs abroad programs.
Read on to explore the concept of learning outside of the classroom, the benefits it provides, and how Global Citizen Year’s Take Action Lab is helping students like you to learn and grow in new and exciting ways.
WHAT IS LEARNING OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM?
Learning outside of the classroom is also often called experiential learning. It consists of any type of educational experience that takes place outside of a traditional classroom setting. This type of education recognizes that “experience is the best teacher,” and provides students with opportunities to apply the principles they have learned to real-life situations.
This type of education can be formal or informal, structured or unstructured, and can take place in a variety of settings, from museums and parks to community centers and workplaces. It might be made available through field trips, internships, study abroad programs, volunteer work, and other avenues.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LEARNING OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM?
The benefits of learning outside the classroom are endless. While traditional learning can provide a solid foundation for your education, many students find that taking what they’ve learned out of the classroom is crucial for further growth and understanding. With experiential learning, you can more easily accomplish the following.
Bring Learning to Life
One of the key benefits of outside-classroom learning is the opportunity to gain real-world experience with the subjects you’re studying. While your textbooks and lectures from your teachers can offer a theoretical understanding of the concepts, venturing out into the world allows you to see how those concepts translate into real life.
This kind of firsthand experience can deepen your understanding of the subject matter, whether it deals with psychology, physics, or philosophy.
For example, if you’re studying marine biology, you’ll gain a much deeper understanding of the subject by participating in a hands-on research project at a local aquarium or marine biology lab than you would in a classroom.
These kinds of experiences also make the material more interesting. You have more of a chance to be an active participant in your education instead of passively memorizing facts, and you can make more connections and contributions of your own.
Jumpstart Your Career
Learning opportunities outside of the classroom can be especially valuable if you are considering a career in a specific industry, as you can gain hands-on experience and work with professionals in that field. This provides you with the opportunity to gain valuable insights and advice from people who have already achieved success, and these connections may even lead to internships and job opportunities down the line.
Build Critical Life Skills
Additionally, outside-classroom learning can help you develop important skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication. These skills are essential for success both in school and in the workplace and can be difficult to develop solely through classroom learning.
Through the right kind of immersive experiential learning, you might also have the opportunity to develop critical life skills such as empathy and self-awareness alongside practical skills like budgeting and time management.
Foster Cultural Understanding
Depending on your alternative learning experience, you might also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture. Interacting with individuals from diverse backgrounds will help you cultivate more empathy, tolerance, and understanding. These skills are vital in today’s interconnected world and will help you expand your worldview and gain more cultural competence and awareness, which will make you a better global citizen.
Grow Your Passion
Learning outside of the classroom can also help you discover and contribute to causes you are passionate about. By engaging in internships, volunteering, or participating in a study abroad program, you can align your interests with meaningful projects and initiatives. This not only fuels your personal growth but also empowers you to make a positive impact on the world.
HOW CAN GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR’S TAKE ACTION LAB HELP?
At Global Citizen Year, we believe that learning outside of the classroom is essential for developing the skills and knowledge needed to become a global citizen. That’s why we have developed the Take Action Lab, a unique opportunity for students to step out of their comfort zones and learn beyond the traditional classroom.
The Take Action Lab is an immersive semester program that allows students to apprentice at a human rights organization based in South Africa. Supported by top colleges that encourage applicants to take a gap semester, the program aims to provide participants with the real-world experience they need to tackle global issues from the ground up.
When you participate in this program, you will have the opportunity to come together with like-minded students from around the world for an immersive semester in Cape Town, South Africa. You’ll get on-the-ground experience working with organizations advancing human rights causes. After your semester is over, you will become part of a lifelong global network of students dedicated to creating a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.
You’ll have the chance to meet lifelong mentors who are passionate about the same causes you care about. These mentors will guide you, imparting their wisdom and expertise while supporting your personal and professional growth.
As you work with them, you’ll gain hands-on experience and develop important skills such as leadership, problem-solving, and communication, all while gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges facing communities around the world. You’ll also develop lifelong emotional and intellectual skills like resilience, empathy, and agency, which are essential if you want to create meaningful change in the world. Any way you slice it, learning outside of the classroom is a powerful way to enhance your education and personal growth. It allows students to bridge the gap between theory and practice, providing real-world context to their learning.
Global Citizen Year’s Take Action Lab offers students the chance to step into the world and apply their knowledge and skills to causes they are passionate about. Through this program, students can embark on a transformative journey, acquiring invaluable experiences, fostering cultural understanding, and making a positive impact on the world.
Take this life-changing opportunity to apply the problem-solving skills you have acquired in school to address pressing global challenges. To embark on your own journey of experiential learning, apply to Global Citizen Year and embrace the endless possibilities that lie beyond the classroom.