Cultural Capital: How Travel Promotes Opportunities for Young People
Cultural capital is the essential knowledge that children need to be educated citizens. It is the accumulation of knowledge, behaviours and skills that students can draw upon to be successful in society. Travelling the world within an educational institution allows all students to acquire this knowledge and therefore prevents inequality of opportunity among young people.
Visiting Cultural Institutions
A vast majority of young people who do not live in a city are unlikely to have ever visited a museum. These institutions are vital in helping young people understand the world around us and encourage them to take interest in that world rather than just the subjects studied at school.
The education that takes place in museums, wildlife parks, galleries and other similar institutions are based on experience rather than formal classroom based teaching. These early years experiences are vital in building interest, intellect and diverse skills, and eventually leads to increased opportunities for those children.
Offering experiences out of the ordinary
It is surprising how many young people haven’t seen the sea, or sailed a boat, or eaten a crepe in France or a pizza in Italy. Because of socio-economic limits in many families, childhood experiences that aren’t essential or engrained in the every day routine of life are often missed.
Experiences that some of us may take for granted can impact a child’s life massively. A day out at the beach searching rock-pools, looking for fossils, and swimming in the sea can open up a whole new world for children. As can a weekend in the cultural capital of the world, London, or a journey on a ferry, train or plane to another country.
Taking away the glass ceiling
Being surrounded by families of different backgrounds is important for children in understanding the world around them and preventing them from being ignorant to other ways of life. However, for families limited by socio-economic factors, this can create a glass ceiling for the students.
This means that young people may understand there are further opportunities out there, but feel that for them they are unreachable. This can be because of a lack of experience or a lack of the means to embrace opportunities, resulting in a basic inequality among students. Travel in education can help prevent this by offering equal opportunities to every student, allowing them to have the necessary early years experience to build their cultural capital.