Have you considered traveling abroad, but are not sure if it is worth your time and money? Traveling as a student is an optimal way to learn beyond the textbook. It can be tough to learn about other cultures and ways of life when you are stuck in a classroom. Here are six reasons to visit foreign lands as student:
Expand your worldview.
85% of students in the US between the ages of 18 and 24 cannot locate Iraq on a world map, 60% cannot find Japan, and 10% cannot even find the United States (Roper Public Affairs study). Compared to citizens of other developed nations, Americans tend to be uninformed about the world outside of the 50 States. Students who travel abroad return home with an informed and much less biased perspective of other cultures and peoples.
Break up your academic routine.
Traveling gets you out of your comfort zone by pushing you to try new things and experience alternative ways of living. You will encounter situations that are wholly unfamiliar to you and you will learn to adapt and respond in effective ways. Additionally, having a strong understanding of international affairs and an overall global literacy will give you an advantage over those who do not travel.
Practice a foreign language.
The best way to learn a language is to be immersed in a culture that speaks the language you are learning. When surrounded by a new language on a daily basis, you are able to pick up the intricacies that are difficult to learn in school. The current globalized economy requires increasingly more companies in the United States to work abroad. Graduates with foreign language skills are likely to be the first to be recruited.
Study other ways of life first-hand.
Cultural differences are more than just differences in appearance, language, and food. People’s culture reflects perceptions, beliefs, and values that influence their way of life and the way that they view the world. Students who experience other ways of living can better understand the nature of foreign cultures and eliminate harmful stereotypes.
Make friends around the world.
While abroad you will meet both natives and other international travelers. These invaluable connections can lead to future job opportunities and life-long friendships.
Learn about yourself.
Students who travel abroad return home with new ideas and perspectives about themselves and their own culture. These experiences often challenge students to reconsider their own beliefs and values. Traveling influences subsequent educational experiences, decisions to attend college and graduate school, and future career choices.