Gibraltar is one of those rare destinations that checks so many educational boxes that it would be a shame to pass it up. A well-organised and well-executed school trip to this historically, culturally and environmentally significant peninsula, located on the southern coast of Spain, offers opportunities to connect with a variety of subjects from school curricula. Although Gibraltar has something to offer students of all age groups, visits are usually recommended for secondary school age classes who will find direct relevance from the visit to the subjects they are currently working on in lessons.
History and Social Studies
Gibraltar’s history (as far as we know) dates back to 950 BC; the Phoenicians were recognised as the region’s first inhabitants. The famous Rock of Gibraltar was even featured in Greek legends as one of the Pillars of Hercules. The land’s strategically-important geographical location has led it to be a highly-disputed asset, with the Romans, the Moors, the Spanish, the Dutch and ultimately the British all claiming ownership of it. With such a concentration of cultural and political history, Gibraltar is almost a ‘one-stop-shop’ for history students who have the benefit of observing numerous cultural influences all in one place.
For a secondary school trip it is wise to focus the class’s energy and time only on the period of history relevant to their curriculum. Gibraltar is an important symbol of British/Spanish imperialism and its role in World War II was massively significant. During the war the region was established as a military stronghold for the British army and navy. The soldiers utilised, and extended, a labyrinthine network of tunnels, known as the Great Siege Tunnels. A visit to this amazing feat of engineering is highly recommended on any school trip.
Language and Culture
With so many cultures colliding in one place, a school trip to Gibraltar is an amazing experience into social influences and their results. The predominant language spoken by the Gibraltarians is English, although many are bilingual in Spanish. This makes for an ideal opportunity for students to practice their Spanish conversational skills at a comfortable pace. Sight-seeing excursions can include a ride on the cable car to ‘The Top of the Rock’, which commands spectacular views and a chance to observe the hilarious antics of the region’s indigenous Barbary Apes.
The cross-curricular opportunities in Gibraltar extend beyond the Humanities and easily encompass environment and geographical sciences. Incorporating a visit to the Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park during a school trip is recommended to give pupils a hands-on learning experience of conservation and wildlife habitats. The park offers excellent tailor-made programmes for all age groups and can specifically touch on any topics that students may find most relevant to their studies at the time.
A Wealth of Opportunities
Gibraltar is an ideal destination for educators planning on an excursion that is to include a number of different focuses. Given the almost overwhelming variety of opportunities available within a relatively compact region, it is wise to utilise the services of a specialised educational tour operator who can ensure that your class’s time and energies are used in the most engaging and efficient way. Class instructors will find that a well-organised school trip to Gibraltar is cost-effective, relevant and enormously enjoyable for both the students and their teachers.
John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in school trip itineraries for school and youth groups to the UK, Europe and beyond. As a father and avid traveller, John is very passionate about providing students with valuable and engaging learning experiences outside of the classroom. By sharing his expert advice with teachers, he allows them to inspire their students and bring their studies to life.