People travel for a lot of different reasons. Some would backpack their way across a continent for self-discovery and for personal growth, while others hit the road to experience life through a whole new lens. Of course, there are also those who travel for sake of getting tons of likes on Facebook and Instagram. Personally, I travel because it’s like an endless university that develops intelligence. Trust me, you’ll never stop learning once you get infected by the travel bug.
Most of us get our education through textbooks, universities and four-cornered classrooms. Don’t get me wrong – these avenues can get the job done, and have even produced some of the world’s greatest minds. But in my opinion, they aren’t as effective, fulfilling and fun as traveling the world. When you travel and see the world, you get to broaden your spiritual, intellectual and cultural education like you can never imagine. As a teacher, travel will never fail you.
Here are a few reasons why travel is the best form of education.
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1. A heavy dose of history
Fond of history? Reading about Notre Dame and The Colosseum is pretty cool, but seeing them in person is a whole different ball game. Truth be told, what is often represented in history textbooks is only a version of what happened at a particular place and time.
In many ways, travel can illuminate the multiple perspectives of the history of a place. As you stroll through the streets and swing by galleries, palaces and museums, you get see the whole history of the country unfold right in front of you. What’s more, travel gives you a chance to talk to people who may have a firsthand experience and knowledge of monumental events.
As far as I’m concerned, learning about changes, conflicts and different dynasties can be so much easier, when you’re actually exploring a country. And once you’ve geo a good grip of a culture’s history, you’ll get to understand easily its social habits, motivations and politics.
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2. It enhances your social skills
You’d be amazed at how many people are afraid deathly of talking to others. It’s a hidden anxiety and a dilemma, especially in the United States. And quite frankly, I was one of those wallflowers who had a yellow streak, whenever I was forced to talk to strangers. Luckily, though, traveling has taught to me overcome my phobia. As I traveled alone to many different areas across the world, I became more confident, and my fears of talking to others slowly faded away. Then, I realized that in spite of the endless stream of negative stories shared by the media today, the world still has plenty of good Samaritans.
I’ve finished high school, completed a college degree, and I really can’t remember any course or lesson that taught me on how to fight this kind of issue. There were character-building workshops and seminars, but none of them was as effective as travel.
3. You get to pick up foreign languages
English, nowadays, is widely spoken across the world, and it will mostly work for you, wherever you may be heading. Still, it’s essential for you to brush up on the native language of the place you are going to visit. Before you fly to a country where English isn’t the main language, learn the basics of their language through an audio guide or book.
And after you’ve built a foundation, stretch your new skills by chatting with actual native speakers in the place you’ve visiting. Not only will it help expand your cultural horizons, but conversing with them will also develop your speaking and listening capabilities.
Even if you’ve already studied a language, travel remains the best way to master it. When you travel, you’re not just testing your language capabilities in a real-world scenario, but you learn a few things as well like its slang, intonation and accent in the most practically way.
4. You learn more about Mother Nature
When you step out from concrete jungles, and explore the world’s most exotic natural wonders, you’ll start to appreciate and understand nature’s colossal majesty. And understanding the splendor of nature is vital to solving most of world’s issues today, such as global warming, air pollution and climate chance. As soon you fully realize what we’re about to lose with our behavior towards nature, solving these big issues will be a whole lot easier.
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5. Explore cultural differences
As you interact and communicate with other cultures, you will just find how they vary from your own. For instance, in Italy, a lot of people go on post-meal walks, or also referred as “passeggiatas”. In Mexico and even in the Philippines, it’s fairly common for people to take a “siesta” or a post-lunch nap.
Different foreign cultures prefer different kinds of social expectations, manners and cuisine. Make sure to do some research about the place’s culture, to prevent “culture shock”, before you travel. Also, learn to embrace their culture, while there, so you can fully immerse into the place you’re visiting. Learning is one of the best parts of travel, so always keep an open mind and take it in whole-heartedly.
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6. Discover similarities in cultures
After observing the cultural differences, keep an eye for common grounds as well. Do you and the folks in the place you’re visiting have a shared admiration for art? Where do you social and moral values alight? Do you both communicate with a big emphasis on body language?
People very often classify those who speak a different language or who aren’t like them as “others”. Break down all those barriers by finding similar values, habits and shared interests.
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7. Travel teaches you how to improvise
Travel is truly a test of a person’s fortitude, patience and will. The most well-planned and prepared will see his or her plans go awry. Boarding passes get lost, suitcases get damaged, and rides showing up late are just some of the numerous unforeseen hiccups and circumstances along the way, when you travel.
But at the end of the day, these stumbling blocks will also teach you how to improvise, so you can survive, as you deal with these unfortunate circumstances. Ultimately, it will unleash your inner pioneer, as well as help discover a ton of travel hacks that will make your trips cheaper and more efficient.
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8. Travel is a humbling experience
There’s a big great world out there, and all your grievances and problems will seem small, after seeing more of our planet. Furthermore, travel can motivate you as well as help you remember that as much as you love where you’re from, there’s always more out there to see.
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9. You’ll learn how to learn
Every step you take, when you travel, is a test. After all, you’re exploring into the unknown, which naturally forces you to do a lot of things that wouldn’t do back home. Whether it’s trekking deep into the mountains of Nepal or dancing Samba in Brazil, you are going to experience new things and see unfamiliar sights, as you travel the world.
In other words, travel is a way of learning how to learn. You’re out your comfort zone, meaning you’ll be forced to learn how to adapt in new environments in a very short time.
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10. You’ll learn how to be independent
You’ll never be the same person, after going on a trip. Stepping away from your day-to-day grind can give you a better perspective of yourself as well as release you from the bubble that you sometimes you cage yourself in. Nothing forces to be more introspective than putting yourself in a rather unfamiliar territory.
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