Throughout the ages, writers and thinkers have remarked upon travel as an educational tool that expands minds and inspires the human spirit. Educators agree – just look at all the listings for teacher exchanges – and HomeExchange asked some of its teacher-members their thoughts. Educators were among the earliest advocates of home exchanging for its multiple benefits: cultural immersion, salary-affordable accommodation and flexibility in scheduling, and the chance to use vacation/holiday time to increase their knowledge base and develop new teaching tools.

Before the Internet, one of the most popular ways to learn about the world was to find a pen pal in some faraway country and to write a letter to them. Weeks later, a reply showed up in our mailbox — a thin, pale blue, airmail envelope with exotic stamps and our name written out carefully. It was magical. Teachers to the World Usually, it was an elementary school teacher who introduced us to this pleasant practice, often in service of a lesson on geography. It was a…