The world as a classroom

The world as a classroom

There was once a time when long-term travel was the preserve of gap year students, and grown-ups hung up their backpacks to “settle down” once children came along. But times are changing, and more families are taking a year or more to travel the world, during which their children engage in learning opportunities outside the bounds of the traditional classroom.

Many parents agree that an extended period of travel, with its exposure to myriad new cultures, playmates, experiences and languages, can provide a valuable learning tool for children of all ages. However, many also fear that removing them from a conventional educational setting might cause them to suffer academically or from the loss of structure that school provides.

So can a balance be achieved? There are a number of methods that parents can use to both satisfy their travel bug and keep their children’s education a priority along the way; make sure to check your local education regulations before embarking upon any of them.

Online options
A growing number of educators believe that educational content can now be delivered just as effectively outside a traditional classroom setting. Education pioneer Salman Khan’s acclaimed online Khan Academy , for instance, offers more than 4,000 instruction videos and practice exercises, ranging from simple addition to cosmology and microeconomics. Free of charge and accessible anywhere with an internet connection, Khan believes the strength in his lessons – which have easy-to-keep-track-of progress reports – lies in allowing students to learn at their own pace, rather than the “one size fits all” approach sometimes found in a conventional classroom.

The Khan model does not, however, embrace an entire traditional school curriculum. For this, online schools such as K12 and the highly selective Stanford University Online High School step in to provide children – unrestricted by their

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World’s best beach restaurants

World’s best beach restaurants

From a bustling seafood haven in California to a Sardinian cafe in Sydney, these five beachfront eateries prove that everything tastes better by the water. According to chef Penelope Penn,

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An Egyptian wonder in Paris’ north

An Egyptian wonder in Paris’ north

The Louxor , a legendary cinema in Paris’ north, reopened on 17 April after more than 20 years of closure, reviving a lost and unique part of the capital’s cultural heritage that should be added to any visitor’s list of interesting – and quirky – sites to see. 

Built in 1921, the imposing building’s neo-Egyptian architecture (hence its name after the Egyptian city of Luxor), dominates a crossroads that straddles the border of Paris’ 9th, 10th and 18th arrondissements. A successful cinema from the 1920s to the 1970s, it was sold to a private developer in the 1980s and turned into a nightclub. In 1988, it closed and was left derelict until Paris City Hall redeveloped and reopened it as a cinema, making it a publicly owned building with an important cultural role in the neighbourhood.

The Louxor’s impressive structure, with its mosaic columns, saw it classified as a listed building in 1981, which saved it from demolition. Following a two-year renovation, the stunning gold, cobalt and black mosaics of flowers, snakes and scarab beetles on the façade have been meticulously restored to the original 1920s architecture. The vast interior – also fully restored to its former glory  – houses three screens, one of which has a ceiling painted with a night-sky mural in the style of an Egyptian tomb.

The cinema will specialise in art house films – all screened in their original language – and will also host cinema festivals, educational courses on film and movie-based activities,

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Hong Kong’s vibrant art walk

Hong Kong’s vibrant art walk

Returning for a 13th year is Hong Kong's most vibrant and sociable charity art event, where locals and travellers can immerse themselves in the city’s ever-evolving creative scene.

ArtWalk , starting at 4:30 pm on 18 April, invites participants to gallery hop their way around the city, taking in the multifarious works of established and emerging artists while partaking in complimentary refreshments along the way.

The 70 participating galleries are located in the established art districts of Central, Sheung Wan, Wan Chai, Chai Wan and in the new arts areas of Wong Chuk Hang and Aberdeen. A map with suggested walking routes is provided, as are free mini buses to transport people between galleries that are further apart.

Head to 3812 Contemporary Art Projects in Wong Chuk Hang to see Mind-Scape, a series by six talented artists from China and Malaysia of modern works (on paper and canvas, using ink, pen, charcoal, tea and oil paint) that explore the fusion of mind and landscape – a subject that has captivated Asian artists for centuries.

Schoeni Art Gallery in Central is focusing on just one artist. Chinese new-media artist, Yang Yongliang, whose work can be seen in London’s British Museum and Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria , will be exhibiting such recent creations as the Moonlight series, a powerful comment on the rapid urbanisation and modernisation of China that combines the traditional (classical Chinese painting style) and the modern (digital and video). What first appear to be tranquil scenes of Chinese mountains and valleys on closer inspection reveal digitally created metropolitan buildings and cityscapes.

New this year is  ArtWalk Extra

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Mini guide to rural Ibiza

Mini guide to rural Ibiza

Long regarded as the ultimate party island, Ibiza has alternative appeal – rugged coastal walking paths, picturesque pine woods and quiet sandy beaches make for a thoroughly relaxing retreat.

Villages
The sleepy village of Sant Carles de Peralta sits on the main road north of Santa Eulària on the east coast. Lined with almond, fig and carob trees, it is home to a whitewashed church that dates back to 1785, small bars and restaurants and boutique shops. Just outside the village is the quirky Las Dalias market (Mon Jun–Sep, Tue Jul–Aug, Sat Apr–Oct).

One of the largest inland villages, Sant Miquel de Balansat , in the north of the island, is overlooked by a shimmering white, boxlike 14th-century church, which boasts 17th-century frescoes within. The views of the surrounding countryside from the village hilltop make the climb well worthwhile. Each Thursday from June to September, there’s traditional island dancing on the village’s pretty patio at 6.15pm.

Overlooking this quiet hamlet is a brilliant white 18th-century fortress, built when attacks by Moorish pirates were the scourge of the island. There’s a bar and a park nearby where you can picnic. Walk to the miniscule, once fortified hamlet of Sant Llorenç de Balàfia , with two towers, flowers and lots of ‘privado’ signs around its few houses – don’t let these deter you from exploring its lanes.

Country hotels
The country mansion of Can Planells , just a mile outside Sant Miquel de Balansat on the road to Sant Mateu d’Aubarca, is a relaxed and luxurious rural retreat. The house and pool are set in delightful gardens and fruit-tree groves, surrounded by fields, and there are eight tasteful doubles and suites, the best of which have Jacuzzis and terraces (Venda de Rubio 2; from £125).

North of Sant Llorenç de Balàfia lies

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I Dig Travel is a leading global online travel web platform that uses innovative technology to enable leisure and business travelers to research, plan and book a broad range of travel products. There's a whole world of amazing sights, hotels, travel companies and gear manufacturers out there - and we want to tell you which ones we think are best. But we never compromise our opinions for commercial gain.

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