Educational travel is one of the most effective ways to help students in becoming global citizens.

Prior to leaving on your educational tour, there is another side to tour preparation that may not have crossed your mind. It’s a way for students to see their travel destinations in a new light. They can experience history and culture through outlets such as literature and film.

It’s a great way to introduce students to the cities and countries they’ll be visiting in a different format than textbooks and lectures. For this reason, it’s crucial for group leaders to think of engaging ways to help their students connect with that they’re learning in the classroom.

With this in mind, I have selected a few of my favorite travel films that I hope will help travelers to look at the remarkable places in which they are visiting in a new way while on their educational tour. Feel free to use this list as a jumping off point, but remember to choose films that are suitable for your students and that fit with the subject matter being taught.

1. The King’s Speech.

Based on a true story, this 2010 film won Best Picture at the Oscars for its fascinating look at King George VI who learns to cope with a speech impediment by seeing Lionel Logue, an Australian speech therapist. Colin Firth plays King George VI and quickly develops a friendship with Geoffrey Rush’s character. As George’s brother abdicates the throne, he must quickly overcome this obstacle so he can make his first wartime radio broadcast to declare war on Germany in 1939. Helena Bonham Carter also stars in the film as George’s wife. The King’s Speech is a triumphant film of Britain’s royal family and its role in WWII. It shows that the human spirit is unbreakable and is a must-see before any educational tour to England.

2. Midnight in Paris.

Midnight in Paris will have you dreaming of the City of Light even after the movie is over. Starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, it tells the story of a nostalgic screenwriter who finds he is mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight. This is a perfect film for History and English students alike who might be traveling to this magical city.

3. Gladiator.

This sweeping historical drama of a Roman general, played by Russell Crowe, who is betrayed and his family who is murdered comes to Rome as a gladiator seeking revenge. Full of conflict, war, and the struggles of ancient Rome, Gladiator is not to be missed. The film is great for anyone wanting to learn about Italy’s ancient past.

4. Seven Years in Tibet.

Starring Brad Pitt, this is the true story of Heinrich Harrer, and Austrian mountain climber, who befriends the Dalai Lama at the time of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s takeover of Tibet in 1950. The film serves as a reflection of one of China’s most significant 20th century events.

Granted that these are only a few of the great travel films out there, I encourage you to find ones specific to your educational tour. Stay tuned for my post on some great travel books to take with you on your travels.

Until then,