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What Young People Gain From International Travel

I was a total “Daddy’s Girl” growing up until the age of about 13.  Unfortunately, my parents had a nasty divorce that ended in one leaving the state and eventually off to London a couple years later. I was lucky to spend a good bit of time talking with him before life tore our closeness apart and one thing that he told me was to NOT make the same mistakes he made concerning travel. He worked for big banks in New York City, commonly returning home at 1, 2 or even 3:00 am the next day only to leaving a few hours later to return back to work. He always traveled for work, but not much with the family. I know he wanted to, I know the desire was there, was it my mother's fault, who knows, but international travel just didn't happen for our family.

There were many dream trips for my parents, for my family that never happened. So, like a good daughter, I took my father’s words to heart. I traveled! A lot! Even at a young age when I really didn’t have the money to do so. I even chose a career in the travel industry so that I would have more opportunities to explore the world. And...I have raised my own children to have that passion as well. They are just toddlers and cannot wait to get on a plane! I am surprised and frustrated by the parents who are scared to “let” their students experience a Study Abroad opportunity, or keep their children close to home because they are afraid of foreign cultures. Here are my thoughts on why it is vitally important for young people to “think outside the box” – especially in today’s challenging economy:

  1. At the raw age of 22 or 23 you have your entire life to experience: make money, fall in love, buy a home get married etc.... – and with today’s economy you’ll basically be working until you die! No more retiring at 65 and living off a nice fat pension! Why not take some time now and travel? Discover more about yourself and maybe become an even better “you”!

  2. Get a job outside of the country- just google it!! Many young Americans find jobs teaching English or working in tourism and make enough to support themselves...and they come back home with skills and experience that can only make them more valuable in the US job market when they return! 

  3. As an international traveler, you will learn how to approach people and make friends quickly –both great skills to have! The ability to form an instant rapport with someone you’ve never met will help you in both your professional career and personal life.

  4. If you can handle navigating foreign countries and talking to people you don’t share a language with, you can do anything! Figuring things out without any support system around you turns you into an independent problem solver – a fantastic skillset that many employers are looking for!

  5. Lastly, Foreign travel opens one's mind behind comprehension beyond one could even imagine! Just to be able to see how real people live, play and work in other cultures can change a life forever – and who doesn’t think our world would be a better place if we all understood each other a little bit better?


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