As a Geography teacher and an ad-hoc expedition leader, I’m a fervent believer in opening young people’s eyes to Geographical wonders closer to home, whether within the UK or across the Channel.
Fieldtrips to Spain are an opportunity to spin familiar holiday destinations on their heads, by exploring visitor pressure and coastal processes in the Costa Brava, or travelling further afield to the volcanic islands of Lanzarote and Tenerife.
The tectonic power of the Canaries never ceases to amaze young Geographers – especially those who thought these islands were just about package holidays and suntans. Lanzarote’s lunar landscapes were created by the longest and most powerful period of volcanic activity known to man, and neighbouring Tenerife is home to Spain’s highest peak – an active volcano that last erupted in 1909.
Back on mainland Spain, I find that Barcelona is an easy city to get my students excited about, with its Mediterranean shoreline and colourful culture. Host to the 2001 Games, Barcelona was the first Olympic city to use the Games as a catalyst to kick-start a legacy of social change – a plan so inspirational, it was used as a guide for London 2012.
From experience, I can safely say that Spain is packed with opportunities for hands-on Geography and, for an accessible and affordable option that’s easily reached from the UK, I think it’s up there with the best.