Sun and sand are a favourite antidote for students facing school-related stress.
“Students deserve a brain break and time to relax during the school semester,” said Humber Tourism Management professor Diane Keefe.
“The most popular travel destinations are the Cuba’s of the world for young people during reading week,” said Keefe, adding going out and experiencing life while seeing the world is what it is all about.
S-Trip is a Canadian company that specializes in student travel. The company aims to unite students who wish to travel by offering supervised group getaways, according to its website.
“The number of students going away for reading week increases every year,” said S-Trip counselor Jeff Batchelor.
“Students return from trips and spread the word to their friends, travel is contagious,” he said.
S-Trip offers spring break packages ranging from $1000 to $2000, said Batchelor. adding that the most popular destination this year is Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
“Students welcome the opportunity to get away for reading week if mom and dad are paying,” said Keefe.
“I would love to go away on reading week but I am not. I would only be willing to pay $600 to $800,” said Samita Sarwarn, a family and community social services student at University of Guelph-Humber. She said she would never use her student loans to pay for a reading week vacation.
Other students feel differently.
“I would use OSAP money to pay for a vacation. Why not? We all need a break,” said Anni Haq, a law clerk student at Humber.
Et Cetera attempted to contact a media relations coordinator at the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Ontario branch about using student loans for unrelated purchases like trips. Blazina did not comment.
Batchelor said exploring the world while you are a student is important. “Most students don’t have to worry about paying mortgages and bills,” he said.
The financial burden only gets worse once you have more responsibility, said Batchelor.
Students can opt to travel and make money at the same time if they are worried about prices, said Keefe.
She said students have the opportunity to do paid volunteer work while seeing the world. “It makes a vacation a little more meaningful,” Keefe said.
Travel Cuts, intially founded as a travel agency for post-secondary students, offers reading week volunteer trips to destinations like Ghana, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru aimed at helping others, said the agency’s website.
Whatever style students choose, it is clear that travel is extremely popular, explained Batchelor.
“With everything that is going on with technology making travel more accessible and easy for youth, we see more and more students going away every year,” he said.