Dr. Jessie Voigts, along with her family, has created an amazing travel education website that provides a culmination of valuable travel resources. Wandering Educators is an eclectic group of global and traveling educators looking to share their passion for travel with like minded individuals. With over 35 editors, readers can find information on everything from study abroad to travelling with pets. Also, they’ve recently launched a brand new program for those students interested in travel writing. To find out more about this new program, click here.
We caught up with Jessie this week and talked more about Wandering Educators. See our conversation below.
Tell us about Wandering Educators
Wandering Educators is the top online resource for educators who travel – and also our family’s passion. It’s so much fun! We are a travel library for global educators. Our audience includes higher ed faculty and administrators, K-12 teachers, life learners, students, homeschoolers –anyone that is curious about the world and interested in learning more. Our audience is full of curious and engaged global citizens. The best part is that we share so many people’s passions– from eco lodges to destinations, books to music, food to photos. I love this – it is an honor to share so many people’s lifework – and get so many readers inspired and traveling!
How did you come up with the idea for Wandering Educators?
We wanted to do something together as a family. I have a background in international education and study abroad; my husband, Ed, is an author and marketing guru; and our daughter, Lillie, is very curious and loves to explore the world. We decided to start this business, which is a great way for us to pursue our chosen lifestyle. It allows us to travel, to constantly be involved in international education, and to teach our daughter about the world.
Why do you think global education is important?
Global education is the foundation of learning how to BE in this world. It should start from when kids first learn to pay attention to the world – they are unaware of difference and ready to soak it all in (including languages!). Keep the international learning up while kids are growing and learning – global education can change everything for them! Already, our neighbors aren’t just next door, but located all around the world. Our kids won’t just learn in school, but their friends and connections are global. Learning to interact, work with, and thrive in different cultural milieus is critical to success in today’s global economy. International education is everywhere – it can’t be separated from traditional education anymore.
What experiences have you had as an international educator?
I worked in Japan with an international exchange company while I was in college – and it changed my life! These seminal international moments shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us. Although I grew up with lots of international experience, it was that year-long immersion that sparked me wanting to learn more and work in international education. I did my Masters on Cross-Cultural Communication, and worked with pre-departure orientations for study abroad students. I also worked in Study Abroad at Michigan State University, including leading the summer London study abroad programs and creating a peer advisor program. I wasn’t done learning, though, and went to the University of Minnesota’s Comparative and International Development Education Program for my PhD in International Education. I was President of ISTC, the International Study and Travel Center, which was a great learning experience. With Wandering Educators, I work with people every day on learning about the world – it’s very rewarding.
Tell us more about your travel writing mentorship program.
This is one of the best things I’ve done! Our Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program is in its first term, and is very successful. We have 21 students in this first cohort, and they are learning about travel writing, creative writing, photography, videography, international education,travel reviews, social media, SEO, and more. Each week we have a great class with interesting, accomplished faculty – and then the students wow us with their writing. I’m very impressed, and love working with them! This fall, for term two, we’d like to open it up to some college students who love to travel. I’d like to teach them how to monetize their experiences with their travel writing so that they can travel and study abroad even more!
What predictions do you have for the field of educational travel?
I feel that educational travel will only expand – and in more ways than we can imagine now. Already there are teachers traveling abroad, students studying abroad, and all kinds of international educational exchange among families, students, and faculty. We should think about family sabbaticals, where families can live overseas for a year and immerse themselves in a different culture. This is already in the works with Fulbright grants, but should be made available to more educators. It can totally change the way they teach and work in the world.
I also think that study abroad will continue to grow, especially in non-traditional areas. While Europe is still popular, I think we’ll see more programs less popular geographic areas, such as Far West China, the Middle East, South America, and Africa. People are more curious about cultures that are different from their own. I also think that many of these students studying abroad will want to work overseas, either through programs like the Peace Corps or through being digital nomads.