International borders aren’t what they used to be. Today’s economy relies on international trade and exchange. Meanwhile, as people migrate, travel and have international experiences, we’re able to learn from different cultures, embrace diversity and evolve. Going abroad is the best way to learn to appreciate multiculturalism, immerse yourself in another perspective and see a world of opportunities for development, economic growth and strategic alliances. Don’t miss out on these benefits of traveling abroad and developing a global outlook.
5 life-changing benefits of traveling abroad and developing a global outlook:
1. Cross-cultural communication becomes easier
Every single person has their own communication style. These variances, especially across cultural lines, can sometimes be difficult to navigate when you need to get a project done or work as a team. When you develop a more open and international point of view, these cultural lines are easier to cross because you have learned to be sensitive to the different approaches, perspectives and frames of mind that people carry with them.
2. You’ll get a better sense of globalism
Understanding the global economy and international trade is incredibly useful whether you want to work for a multinational company or are simply a consumer of imported goods (so, pretty much everybody). Having a broader understanding of markets, business and trade will make you savvy to how big international treaties can affect your community and your pocketbook. Seeing how prices vary depending on which country you’re in, what products are available and how that interacts with culture can also be useful in seeing the human face behind international markets and business.
3. You’ll become more open-minded
The more varying experiences you have in life, the more you’re forced to open your mind to different ways of living life. Seeing different perspectives, how they clash and complement each other will make you see the world in a more nuanced and contextualized way. While some cultures take pride in punctuality and productivity, others focus on human interaction and relationship building. Neither is right or wrong. When you travel abroad you learn that your way is definitely not the only way, and is not necessarily the right way. Also, leaving your comfort zone takes practice. Once you force yourself into unknown territory, you become more able to handle culture shock and other uncomfortable situations.
4. It’s a humbling experience
It can be a shock, realizing just how big the world is – and how small each of us is, in comparison. It’s not a bad thing to realize that our successes and failures, which are significant to us, are still just tiny whispers in a shouting, buzzing world of human beings, all working to live the best life possible. It’s a good practice to step back and see that the world is pretty incredible, massive and diverse.
5. You’ll be able to better contextualize your home city and culture
Going abroad and developing a global outlook offers a fresh perspective or lens through which you can see the world you’re coming from. It’s a way to see why you carry certain ideas, prejudices and points of view. Sometimes the worldview of where we come from can hold us back and it can be empowering to contextualize that way of thinking and re-evaluate how you see where you come from. A global perspective also helps you see the value in where you come from. Nowhere is perfect and going abroad is a great way to see the good, the bad and the ugly of where you’re from and learn from that.
Learn more about how to reap the many benefits of traveling abroad and developing a global outlook with an internship abroad.
2. based on Alec Ross and Emily Banks at the AMCHAM reception in Auckland, August 31, 2012, by US Embassy, CC-by-2.0