In this article, I will provide you with my top reasons why travel abroad should be something you prioritize sooner than later in your life. The life skills and experiences gained from international travel are unlike any other. I hope by the end of this article, you have the necessary momentum to do so!
1. Cultural Appreciation and Sensitivity
Every country in the world has a unique story and history to acknowledge. By spending time in an unfamiliar country you are able to see the way other cultures function. A sense of appreciation and sensitivity to these cultures can provide you with a new found understanding of situations you may face in your own daily life. You will see the differences in the types of foods that you try. Foods that may be traditional to a certain country or the history that is behind these cuisines. Recognize why countries like Italy and Spain spend hours over a sit down lunch or dinner versus the normalized “in and out” experience of an American restaurant. In certain parts of the world, value is placed on the time spent over a meal just as much as the meal itself. Putting yourself in this situation will allow you to slow down and appreciate who and what you are surrounded by.
America being one of the youngest countries in the world, has fewer historical landmarks and renown architecture compared to other countries. Viewing these monumental structures face to face is a breathtaking and humbling experience. By far some of the most memorable times spent traveling was on walks recognizing the beauty in the buildings throughout cities around the world. Not to mention the physical artwork housed in the hundreds of prestigious public museums around the world.
Learning about a country’s values and history from a first hand perspective is not only deeply educational, but will sensitize you towards relationships you may build in your personal and professional life. Take the time to experience it yourself.
2. Communication Skills and New Languages
Whether you are looking to pick up an additional language or not, appropriate communication skills are crucial to safe and enjoyable travel. Regardless if you are traveling to a country where the native language is english, you will be faced with a communication barrier. This may be the difference in public transportation routes, or restroom signs, but it is obvious that there will be a number of distinctions. You can ask for help! In my experience I’ve found that most international countries accommodate American travelers. With that said, learning a new language has infinite benefits. It is astonishing to see that in most countries outside of the U.S. people speak several languages. International travel can inspire you to broaden your horizons. With that said, communication barriers should not deter you from travel, it is part of the experience. Once you have made it to a foreign country, navitaged from place to place, you will be left feeling like you can make it anywhere.
3. Confidence and Adaptability
There will always be certain obstacles when it comes to international travel, regardless if you’re alone or in a group. What is the best way to get around? Where do we get our groceries? What does this sign say? The idea of packing up to stay in a foreign place can be both terrifying and exciting and your problem solving skills will be put to the test. Overcoming these obstacles by being open to an adventure builds an indescribable sense of independence and confidence. Small accomplishments like learning the public transportation routes or where to go to find groceries becomes inspiring. You are forced to be in a position where you need to be overly aware of your surroundings. Once you have mastered this sense of adaptability, the self-assurance comes with it.
Confidence growth will also come from the opportunity to build new relationships. You can create connections with people from around the world that can further your professional or personal network. I often keep in contact with the women I met during my months abroad and have made continuous travel plans with them. As intimidating as talking to strangers may seem, I have found that it is easy to meet kind and authentic people. People want to help, and want to portray mutual respect. These relationships made me feel more confident in my interpersonal skills, and more confident in humanity itself.
Independence, confidence, and adaptability are skills that are learned through hands-on experiences. Traveling abroad provides a unique opportunity to focus on all of these qualities. You have the chance to learn who you are as a person. Looking back on my trips abroad, I know now how exciting the world is and how much there is left to explore.
4. Adventure and Experience
In addition to the educational experience you are presented with, traveling abroad is fun! You are taking a vacation. You have the chance to forget about work or the responsibilities at home and open your eyes to new adventures. Enjoy excursions that will bring you joy. International countries are filled with infinite fashion, food, drinks, theatre, art, and entertainment that are reputable around the world. People aren’t meant to work their lives away, take the time to navigate new cities and meet new people. Traveling increases happiness and expands your mind. It lessens the chronic stress of everyday life and brings perspective to the problems that may currently feel overwhelming. Talking from experience, there was not a happier time in my life than when I was able to walk the streets of Paris, or Amsterdam, forgetting about the deadlines that would typically consume me.
Try an interactive experience with one of the most famous international brewing companies in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Above are just a few examples of the incredible opportunities for adventure travel can bring. And it doesn’t need to be expensive!
A large perk of international travel is the convenience of traveling between countries cheaply and quickly. A EuroRail pass can bring you to thirty three different countries for a fraction of the price of a flight to the East and West coast of the United States. Prefer flying? There are a number of short flights for under $100 that can bring you to a number of destinations. I encourage you to book your travel arrangements and make these once in a life time memories!