There is so much that traveling can teach someone beyond the classroom and a textbook. In fact, many would agree that the most important lessons in life are learned outside of traditional learning settings.
Traveling is a great way to learn about the things that really matter in life. Whether strolling through Paris, hiking through exotic mountains or taking a much-needed break on a beautiful beach, travel never fails to enlighten.
Even traveling in one’s native land can provide a modicum of heightened perspective. Exploring the world helps travelers to understand others as well as the cultural proclivities that form the basis of identity.
The following sections reveal 5 more ways that international travels teach students valuable life skills.
- Builds Independence and Maturity
Being away from home and without parents can build character and increase confidence. As traveling students overcome obstacles, such as figuring out foreign transportation and asking natives how to do simple things like finding the nearest grocery store, they build confidence in their ability to adapt in unfamiliar situations. This is all while overcoming the communication barriers that come with visiting a foreign land.
Students who may have previously been intimidated by the idea of moving away from their families and friends to pursue an adult life will undoubtedly find this event less threatening after successfully navigating an overseas experience. After surviving a major event such as their first trip abroad, moving to a new location back home won’t seem like such a big deal. Their travel experience typically shows them that they can accomplish just about anything that they put their mind to — despite real or perceived obstacles.
- Experience History and Learn About Culture
Many students have learned about civilizations and major events in the classroom, but that can’t compare the visiting international historical landmarks in real life. During trips abroad, students can walk through the streets as well as visit museums, palaces and art galleries that are commonly written about in textbooks. Their privileged with experiencing the living, breathing history of another country before their very eyes.
They learn unforgettable lessons about a nation’s history and how it may have influenced global culture. More importantly, traveling students learn natives’ telling of history, sidestepping the bias or altered perception of foreign historical authors.
- View World Landmarks and Historical Sites
When traveling, tourists frequently flock to famous destinations simply for the privilege of being near the place where a historical event took place. For some, having their picture taken in front of a world-famous landmark – such as Stonehenge, Big Ben or Buckingham Palace – is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Often, travelers gain enlightening insights from local tour guides during historical outings. Some with high-tech mentalities may believe that their smartphone GPS is more than enough for them to find their way around a foreign land. However, guides can provide historical insights that GPSs is cannot.
A trip to a foreign land is a lasting memory. Best of all, newly initiated travelers will seem like experts about foreign culture to those who’ve not had the opportunity to do the same.
- Understand People and Learn a New Language
Upon arrival, the international landscape undoubtedly feels different for student travelers. The experience builds their comparison life skills and helps students to explore different and similar cultural traits shared between themselves and others, broadening their overall perspectives.
During their trip abroad, students typically need to learn a few native phrases to manage basic necessities. It’s easier to learn a new language when immersed in it. For example, one of my friends who studied abroad in Venice was able to pick up on Italian in about 3 months because she had to interact with the language every day.
Learning a new language is fun and interesting and looks great on a resume. The ability to speak another language is a skill that helps students adapt to different environments, and under the right circumstances, can help them advance their career.
If you’d like to do more research on studying abroad or learning a new language, I’d recommend checking out these resources:
- Teaches Students to Budget and Prep for College
Saving and planning for a trip abroad is a memorable lesson in budgeting and preparing for major life events. Saving for a trip isn’t hard, but it’s a sacrifice. For instance, to meet the financial mark needed to live comfortably during their travels, students may have to give up dining out and entertainment spending.
When saving for travel overseas, it’s important to put money away every week, rather than attempting to save large amounts of money at once. It’s also important to budget for emergencies and unforeseen miscellaneous expenses.
The U.S. State Department encourages more students to travel abroad because when students gain international experience, they make America stronger.
Spending time abroad helps students to succeed in life. Their experience is good for business and the community. It also helps to develop an intelligent, empathetic and well-rounded society.
Of course, travel doesn’t trump formal education. However, the opportunity to learn about a different culture, discover universal truths and grow personally is an invaluable life lesson.