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The Life-Changing Value of International Experiences

Tyler Bishop, RAS Secondary Principal


At my previous school, I ran numerous international trips with senior students. We made connections in Zambia and for a decade assisted in the funding and building of a medical clinic, an orphanage, and several rural churches. Whenever we went for a visit, our Canadian students saw and experienced things they’d never experienced before.


Each day, whenever we would leave our guest lodge, a large group of local children would be waiting outside and would want to hold our hands and walk with us. Over the week we were there, our students began to have the same hand holding partners and friendships developed.


On one of our trips, I had a student from a fairly wealthy family on our team. He had fun describing how his boys would want to carry his work gloves and how they loved it when he would swing them or carry them on his shoulders. Near the end of our trip, we were on our way to the market when Bronson noticed that the two boys each had only one shoe, just flimsy old sandals. When he asked them about it and they told him that one of the boys didn’t have any shoes, so his friend shared his pair and they each one shoe. 


The local children weren’t allowed to go inside the market so when my student walked past a place that sold shoes, he asked me if he would be allowed to bring the boys in to buy shoes for them. I determined that it would be okay and he fetched the boys, brought them in and bought them both a pair of shoes. The total cost for the shoes was about US $1.50.


That evening, we were holding a debrief of the day and my student was in tears when he told us how he discovered that something that cost him so little had made such a difference in those boys’ lives. It was a lesson he would never forget.

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