VIC - Sailing the dream – one family’s epic adventure

A Virtual School Victoria (VSV) family has just returned from an extensive European adventure that spanned 32 countries.

Living on a yacht for 27 months, siblings and VSV students, Courntney (Year 7), Declan (Year 10) and Jessica (Year 12), reflect on their experiences as VSV students and global explorers.

What’s been the best part of the yachting adventure?

“The best part of sailing and travelling around Europe is being able to see tons of places and things that I had only dreamed about seeing. I got to see the Eiffel Tower in France, Loch Ness in Scotland, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and have white Christmases. I saw snow not only on mountains but just outside the house!” Courtney

What things were challenging on your adventures?

"One of the most challenging parts of our travels has been balancing full time VCE with full time travelling. There is always something more interesting to do than school, but it’s the most important year for school so it can’t be avoided. Additionally, sharing a small space, whether it was our boat or a car, with four other people was not easy. Although this brought our relationships closer together it was hard to get personal space or do school work without interruption; which only happened for tests.

In our 27-month trip we visited 32 countries which meant that at times language was confusing. Most people spoke some English.  When we changed country it would take a while to change saying ”hello” and ”thank you” from one language to the next . We were limited to the number of people we were able to converse with.” Jessica

Favourite country and why?

“My favourite country is Greece. I got to swim in the sea off the boat where it was super clear – something I have always wanted to do. I also love Greek mythology. I loved going to the places where the stories took place; like seeing the Acropolis in Athens where Athena beat Poseidon for the patronship of Athens. Or seeing Mount Olympus where the gods lived.

The only bad thing was the heat. Because we went there in summer, it was super-hot.  The temperatures ranged between 35 and 40 degrees; sometimes the inside of the yacht reached 45 degrees.

My sister Jessica loved the city of Prague. She loved the architecture and the vibe especially as it was snowing and the rooftops were white. Jessica wants to do a year of university there.” Courtney

What do you love about VSV?

“One thing I love about VSV is that it doesn’t have strict schedules. This means if you get stuck you can work on something else until you are able to get help with what you are stuck on.” Declan

What are your tips for doing well at VSV?

”My tips for doing well at VSV would be to make sure you are not spending long periods of time doing activities that should only take 20 minutes – set a time limit. Also, don’t put off the difficult subjects. All the work still needs to be completed and it just ends up building up. Make sure you ask for help either from your teachers or supervisor as soon as you are stuck so that you can get back on track quickly.” Jessica

Would you do this adventure with your kids one day?

“I found that VSV let me spend a lot more time with my parents and I was able to get to know them better than I had previously. I feel that if given the chance, I would like for my kids to have the same experiences. VSV has been a really good way to do school whilst travelling.” Declan