By Anna Colosimo​, Special FBA Contributor

Have you ever had the opportunity to learn about or actually do an exchange program? Maybe you thought about it when you were younger, perhaps you have hosted an exchange student, or you or your own children have been a part of a program.

I personally wasn’t organized enough to get it done when I was younger, but the idea of being an exchange student has always allured me! I was lucky enough to take a trip to Spain when I was 17, and never looked back after traveling internationally that first time. Something about the combination of new cultures, different ways of life, a new language on my ear, discovering new foods and traditions just captured my soul…as travel does for many people.  

The concept of the exchange program was founded in the United States under the Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, on the premise that ‘one could increase understanding among people of different nations through promoting cultural understanding and education. It sounds pretty spot on to me when it comes to travel and learning being under the same umbrella.

There is a similar concept, a term coined by our British friends across the pond- called a ‘gap’ year, that could be dropped into a travel or exchange program. Often times the gap year is between when students leave high school, and before they decide to enter university. You can find gap year students usually raving about their wildly fulfilling trips and unique experiences across the globe. The gap year is traced back to the 1960’s also, in the post-world-war-2 era. According to Wikipedia, "Gap years first became common in the 1960s where the young baby boom generation wanted to get away from the severity of war from their parent’s generation. At first, the primary purpose of the gap year was for countries to exchange cultural ideals in the hope of preventing future wars. The outcome of this exchange was the growth of the gap year industry.”

Also related, are now-available international work exchange programs that exist where people and/or entire families that wish to see another part of the world for a period of time can enroll or apply. Many seek these opportunities to enhance educational, professional, or cultural learnings and opportunities. According to Alliance for International Exchange, “Exchange programs create opportunities: opportunities for participants to learn, prosper, and to work with others to solve shared problems an ensure a secure future. Exchanges create future leaders who instinctively appreciate the value of international collaboration, understanding and empathy.

While exchange programs and gap years sound wonderful, what about something that can fit into your current ‘season of life where you are building a fitness business?

The thought of travel can be overwhelming for many people {still}, but it’s always smart to know and explore the options out there. There is one that can have you possibly dreaming like you are a gap-year-teenager, while, fully embracing where you and your business are right now. Enter the teaching vacation…just for fitness, sports, and yoga professionals.

The concept of a teaching vacation has been around since the early 90’s in the fitness industry. And good thing for us, that means the idea of taking part in an exchange program or a gap year doesn’t have to be something that you only dreamed of in the past.

Among the generally incredible benefits of travel, you can also look forward to fortifying your fitness industry skills. We recently learned from Fit Bodies, Inc. teaching vacations, that you can actually earn CECs by traveling with them. Some of the things you have to look forward to on a teaching vacation:

  • Saving thousands of dollars on a weekly all-inclusive vacation for you and a companion (and your two children up to the age of 12)
  • When was the last time you- as a business owner- “allowed” yourself a vacation? Chances are it was years ago. That rest and rejuvenation is necessary for you to bring your full energy to your business.
  • You will absolutely learn many things while teaching outside of your virtual or real studio including;
    ~how to adapt classes to various fitness levels, folks attending your class that speak a different language, people that ‘stumbled’ upon your class on the beach or poolside and joined in
    ~how to spontaneously provide modifications
    ~how to be creative and work with your environment to give the best class atmosphere
  • Actually earn .3 CECs for traveling (approved by ACE) soaking up the experience, and then completing an online course. These can be included in your teaching vacation at no extra cost.

Do you want to learn more about the concept of a teaching vacation for certified/licensed fitness pros, yoga, and sports professionals? Reach out here to find out more!


Anna Colosimo is the Director of Partnerships and Business Development at Fit Bodies, Inc. She received her degree from the University of Dayton in Exercise Science and Fitness Management, and has always had a passion for fitness, wellness, and health promotion since she was a young girl. She has 15 years working in the business side of the fitness industry.

She has extensive experience in fitness education, programming, working with gyms, and in partnership with other companies/organizations. Within the fitness industry, she has held various positions and worked for noted companies such as Zumba, Trigger Point Performance, and PTontheNet/FitPro UK. She loves working together with her colleagues and partners to see a project or idea come to life!

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