As a young person, it’s essential to do your best to expand your knowledge and experiential learning is one of the best ways to achieve this goal. In 2018, you have access to opportunities your parents and grandparents could only dream of. A well-rounded education doesn’t just start and end in the classroom. Your experiences, extra-curricular activities, mentors and parents all play a role in education. In addition to those factors, travel is an excellent endeavor to pursue. Companies and entrepreneurs like Chris Stakich, Rustic Pathways CEO, have put in the time and effort to enable young people to live and work in some of the most remote places in the world. In addition to being an eye-opening experience, there are other reasons why you should consider student travel as a part of your educational process.
1. Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity
It doesn’t take much more than scrolling through Twitter or Facebook to find offensive statements made regarding other cultures and countries. Many of these statements are based on racism and ignorance. When a person is able to travel extensively and see various parts of the world, they’re able to develop a sense of empathy and understanding of the experiences of others. In many instances, people think of Africa and automatically picture starving children. The media has a major role in perpetuating cultural and geographic stereotypes and these images do not accurately depict the entire diverse continent. However, if people don’t travel and see the beautiful beaches in countries like Mozambique or the thriving cities in Nigeria and South Africa, they wouldn’t know any better.
It’s good to get exposure and experience cultures outside of your own. Not only will it help you gain a better understanding of how others live life, it’ll expose to more ideas and concepts you might want to adapt to your own. Traveling can expose you to the dreams you never knew you had. For some people, going away to college opened their eyes to the world outside of living with mom and dad. Traveling does the same thing, but on a grander and more elegant scale.
It’s important to be able to communicate from an intelligent and thoughtful perspective. Relying solely on a shallow conversation will only get you so far. Just like reading, traveling gives you a better understanding of how to communicate, develop your thought process and internalize information. As you gain an understanding of how people in other countries live life, you’ll build a perspective and opinion on government, culture, education and more.
4. Ideal Time
While it’s never too late to start traveling, it’s best to get into the habit when you’re young. As people get older, they become more stuck in their ways. While a person can change at any time, it’s easier to develop and change when you’re young because you generally have more time and the impressions you experience can have a lasting, lifelong impact. Absorb all you can about a culture and develop your own opinion regarding your future. Traveling when you’re young is also perfect because if you decide to get married and have children, you won’t have the same level of freedom. It’s always more challenging to fully experience travel chasing after little footsteps. If you are looking for an incredible program, Rustic Pathways reviews look amazing and they are one of the top-rated Gap-year program providers.
I think we all know an example of a person who just focuses on their day-to-day responsibilities and rarely looks up and around because they’re stuck in the mundane. Then, they look up and realize that ten years or more have passed them by. Seize the moment while you’re young. Just by booking the flight and getting on the plane, you’re taking an active role in charting your future course. Even if you spent the entire time shopping and enjoying great cuisine, it’s still an incredible experience you couldn’t receive while you’re sitting at home or work.
There’s the window of time after high school graduation that could be considered a sweet spot for traveling. If you consider taking a year off for travel, this could be an incredible time to discover the world and learn more about who you are as a person. There are so many more factors that influence why a young person should strongly consider pre-college travel. There’s a world to explore and it would be a shame to miss out on it. Your worldview, opinions and decisions will be directly impacted by your decision to say yes and explore the world.