Educational tourism and nation building: cross-border school trips in the Carpathian Basin

Keywords: ethnic tourism, educational trip, national identity, nation building, Carpathian Basin, Hungary, ‘Without Borders!’ project


Educational travel provides opportunities for participants to explore specific issues in unconventional ways. In Hungary, primary and secondary schools organise annual study trips as part of their curricula. The aim of these trips is to familiarise students with the main sights of the country, and to bring to life national narratives discussed in lessons. Furthermore, these trips often play a key role in students’ socio-psychological development, both as future tourism consumers and as future citizens. Recognising the opportunity to influence students’ worldview and way of thinking during their sensitive teenage years, the Hungarian government has created a national programme to financially support school trips organised to visit minority Hungarian communities living in the neighbouring countries. This paper is based on the content analysis of 256 detailed reports submitted by participants of school trips organised in 2013/14 with the aim to visit Hungarian minority communities in the Carpathian Basin. The analysis focuses on the detailed descriptions of the participants’ personal memories of their experiences, the social construction of the visited destinations, and the influences of their memorable experiences on their sense of national identity. The research disclosed that the trips made to Hungarian territories outside the borders contributed to shaping the national sentiment of the students participating in the programme. The findings suggest that participation in tourism is an effective means to experience nationhood and national identity, by financially supporting school trips abroad, the state is able to exert political influence over national consciousness.


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How to Cite
RátzT., MichalkóG., & KeszegR. (2020). Educational tourism and nation building: cross-border school trips in the Carpathian Basin. Hungarian Geographical Bulletin, 69(1), 57-71.