In high school and college, it is likely that you will receive some kind of encouragement to travel, study or work abroad. It may seem like you have a lot going on so you don’t seriously consider these opportunities or maybe you write them off since you plan on travelling later in life. I would encourage travelling at any age, but the earlier you can learn the lessons travel teaches the better.
When you are young you are still finding yourself and preparing for your school and career. The skills and experience you gain from traveling abroad can give you life-long personal benefits as well as a leg up in the professional world.
In high school and college you have the luxury of having flexibility since you can study anywhere in the world and have relatively long study breaks. It is a prime time to take advantage of your freedom and youth.
See why travel is indispensable:
You’ll get out of your comfort zone
As young people most of us have a pretty established comfort zone. At home with mom and dad, in a community that has known you for probably a good part of your life. You have your established, friends, activities, hangouts and possibly jobs. We become comfortable in these daily roles and the idea of breaking out them can be scary and uncomfortable.
The problem is, you learn the most in uncomfortable, unfamiliar situations. In our daily routines, you know how to act and respond to people and your surroundings. Being in a new place, with different people, who hold different values and go about life differently (or not so differently you may find) strips all that familiarity away.
It can be scary, but once you figure out that you can connect with people despite differences, and you can navigate foreign environments, you become a smarter, more competent individual. Embrace the discomfort. Search for it, because it is helping you grow.
Traveling builds confidence
As you conquer the obstacles of figuring out how to use public transit in a foreign country, or asking for simple things in a grocery store, you are building a confidence and ability to adapt in foreign situations. I remember moving to a country where I spoke little to none of the language.
You realise that you CAN do things, despite the obstacles and suddenly the obstacles seem less obstructive and more like welcomed challenges.
You will develop cultural sensitivity
Being culturally sensitive is key in our globalising world. It is not enough to say “people from X country are like this.” It is important to look for underlying values that may explain a certain behaviour in order to practice cultural sensitivity.
Being aware of cultural values and norms is not only fascinating, but can help us understand international issues and conflicts, or even relate to the cultural norms of a foreign business partner. It is an important skill to be able to shift perspectives and see where someone else is coming from.
Cultural sensitivity will help you with your communication on both business and personal levels.
You can adapt to globalisation
Whether you like it or not, with the internet and social media, we are globalising quickly. It is not unlikely that you would end up with a job that has you travel for business or take part in conference calls with international business partners. In our globalising world, it is important to be culturally sensitive and it can’t hurt to know a foreign language.
In the business world, having lived abroad can give you a competitive edge. Use the confidence and cultural sensitivity that travelling helps you develop and help it make you successful.
Infinite opportunities to network
If you are interested in working internationally or even just having a couch to stay on in a country that you love, never underestimate the value of networking wherever you go.
Making friendships abroad can make this big world seem a little smaller and help you feel more connected wherever you go.
Culled from GreenHeart Travel
Interestingly, at YellowLyfe Tours, we can help you achieve all of this.