Some of you may remember AIESEC from when you were in college—this was the organization where all of your friends who love to drink would host (party with) the foreign students who were studying at your university. They also went on a lot of awesome trips abroad—again, mostly as an excuse to drink beer from many different countries. Lucky for us, not only does being a student garner these benefits, so does being a teacher.
Okay, so it isn’t quite the same as in college. For our RTW trip, I have procured an International Teacher Identity Card (ITIC). The ITIC the grown up version of the ISIC and the similar AIESEC . In order to get this card, I had to go to STA Travel, prove that I am currently a full time teacher (I failed to tell them that I was quitting my job for my travels), and pay a measly $25.00. After a couple of weeks, voila! My card was in the mail.
Of course the important question is: What is the point of getting the card? Well, it actually offers a number of benefits:
- It is proof that I am a teacher and in many places around the world, they actually respect and revere this profession, therefore offering a wide array of discounts and opportunities. Many museums and major tourist attractions offer educator discounts and there are even occasional discounts on transportation. Since we’re traveling on a budget, we’ll take any discounts we can get!
- It can be used as a pre-paid MasterCard. We aren’t planning on using it in this way because we have other ways of accessing our money. But we could load money onto this card and access it easily from any ATM or use it like a credit card.
- The ITIC offers a very small amount of travel insurance that comes along with having the card. It is not our primary source for travel insurance, but it offers some nice supplementary coverage.
- It is yet another form of photo identification that could be used in place of something else. For example, if we rent bikes in Copenhagen and have to leave ID behind to ensure we return the bicycles, we could leave this rather than our driver’s license or passport. The thought of leaving those makes me a bit nervous.
Really though, what I’m hoping this card will help me do is to talk my way into different schools around the world. It will be proof that I am a teacher and make me seem like less of a weirdo when I go barging into some middle school in New Zealand asking if I can observe a class or talk to some of their teachers (after all, New Zealand is ranked #2 in the world for reading scores…I could learn so much). I am so excited by the prospect of seeing other schools and meeting other educators. We will be visiting my cousin Gaye, who has been teaching middle school in Japan for the past 30 years. Her first day of school is while we are there. Sure, she teaches at an American Air Base, but still: how cool to see their beginning-of-the-year routines. Hopefully my ITIC card will help me get my foot in the door!