Traveling is often considered an enriching experience, but typically we say that in the context of emotional enrichment, in which we experience growth and development of our inner selves. However, travel isn't just good for the soul. It is also a perfect way to improve our knowledge in career and life. When you travel, you learn many new things, and this will enhance your store of global, national, and regional knowledge. In turn, this can benefit you for years to come. Let's consider some of the ways that traveling can make you more knowledgeable about your world.
Learning about other places.
First, and most obviously, when you travel you learn new things about the places you visit. When you visit a new place, you pick up information about its history and culture. For example, a trip to Paris is likely to teach you something about the kings, emperors, and presidents of France as well as the history of the art and architecture that makes up the lifeblood of the city. You gain knowledge of the layout of other cities, of the way people move around in them, and the differences between your home and your destination. All of this is knowledge, and it can come in handy later in life.
Learning about other people.
Another way travel improves our knowledge is by teaching us about other people. When we travel, we are exposed to other cultures, whether it be another civilization or just the way people do things in another part of our own country. These encounters with other cultures can enrich our knowledge by showing us alternatives to our own assumptions about the world and those around us. When we learn how other people do the same types of activities, or the different things people do instead, we can question our beliefs and look for new solutions that can enhance our problem-solving capacity. By gaining knowledge of other peoples around the world and around the country, we can develop a greater respect for diversity and live more harmoniously in our world.
Learning about other technologies.
When we visit other places, we also learn about their technologies, which aren't always the same as ours. Everyone likely knows that other countries have different electrical sockets, necessitating adaptors, but there are myriad ways other countries differ in terms of their technology. In Europe, for example, bidets are commonplace, often confusing North American tourists, who are not familiar with the cultural practice. Similarly, in Japan, vending machines are used for much more than just snacks and drinks, and many tourists are surprised to find that you can buy underwear in a vending machine. Japan's hotel sleeping pods and advanced robotics can also surprise tourists.
Learning about other languages.
Communicating in other countries can be a challenge, particularly if you don't speak the language. Travel, though, can help to encourage second language acquisition, particularly if you travel to a place often. Picking up words and phrases in a new language doesn't just enhance our language knowledge; it may also change the way our brains think. According to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, the language that we use affects our perception of the world because different languages conceptualize reality in different ways. Thus, but acquiring a second language, even a little bit, being the process of expanding the way you think about the world and transforming your own understanding of reality. Therefore, travel really can be a mind-blowing experience!
So what does this mean for people who aren't sure about the importance of travel? We recently caught up with a college student who decided to take the plunge and spend a semester studying abroad in Spain. She told us: "When I started college, I would pay someone to write my paper for me if I didn't feel like trying to puzzle out what to do. But after traveling abroad, I've gotten a new perspective on things and have a bigger appreciation of culture, art, and language. I'd still pay someone to write my papers if I didn't care about the subject, but I'm a lot more interested in more subjects now than I was last year."
Travel can change your life and enhance your knowledge in exciting and unexpected ways. The knowledge you gain from visiting other places can benefit you when you return home. Do yourself a favor and make travel plans a part of your next vacation.
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