Travel changes people
It changes the way you view the world around you, and it changes the way you view yourself. We say “the world is our classroom” because we have made travel an integral part of the educational experience at American Christian. It fosters togetherness and teamwork and personifies the family atmosphere that we want at our school. While growing closer together, our students experience learning that has come alive. It allows them to see, hear, and touch what they have learned about.
Travel begins early with kindergartners watching zookeepers feed gorillas in Birmingham. Classes dress-up and make clay pots at the Moundville Archaeological Park. Students sound the horn on a fire truck and play with the lights in a police car. Fourth grade students don’t simply learn about the state government, they spend the day in Montgomery seeing how it works. Fifth grade classes learn about lizards and frogs in the classroom and then hunt for spiders by flashlight while spending the night at Camp Cosby. Our sixth graders learn about the framers of the Constitution before visiting Washington D.C. While there, they walk in the footsteps of Washington and Jefferson and learn in the shadows of the White House and the Capitol Building. An education at American Christian transcends what can be learned in a classroom alone.
While working at a sea lab, our high-school students see firsthand what pollution can do. Students have gazed at the Rio Grande and the Rocky Mountains and reflected on what it must have been like for the pioneers who first saw them. Groups have stood at the steps of the Acropolis in Athens and pondered the great thinkers of the world. They have wandered the halls of the Louvre and imagined Da Vinci and Van Gogh painting in a dimly lit room. They see a swaying field of wheat in Pompeii and think of what it was like when Vesuvius erupted and covered the land with ash. They have sat on ancient rocks in the ruins of Corinth and listened to the lessons of Paul from our campus pastor— just footsteps from the church those lessons were meant for. Our students have spent Easter on the island of Patmos, quietly reflecting in a cave where John first wrote the book of Revelation. Students leave these sights with more than knowledge. They leave with an understanding of things that they had never encountered before.
We take our students to places in Tuscaloosa and across the world because it ignites inside them a passion to learn. That passion is evident in the look of a child when he comes face to face with a dolphin, and it is evident in the look of a senior standing on the steps of Trocadero and gazing across the Seine at the Eiffel Tower rising up before them. Students understand that there is more to the world than just what they see everyday. They are immersed in cultures that they might have misunderstood before, and they learn to respect other viewpoints even if they disagree.
We place an emphasis on travel because we believe that the more a student encounters, the more complete their educational experience is. A well-traveled student is self-reliant but embraces friendship and teamwork. They are confident in their beliefs and convictions but embrace opportunities to learn about the beliefs held by others. They see the horizon at sunset, and they wonder what is on the other side. They have seen what others have done, and they want to make their own lasting impressions.