Top 10 reasons why young people should travel abroad

by Lizzy Patrick–

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ATHENS, Greece, February 2015 – Atop the Acropolis: Tourists and travelers surround the ancient Parthenon, one of the top sites to see in the city of Athens. Photo: Lizzy Patrick

Traveling teaches you things not necessarily taught in school or in college. Whether through a study abroad program or independently, these are the top 10 reasons young people should travel internationally.

  1. Budgeting skills

Most young travelers have relatively tight budgets. Dealing with budgets is a vital travel skill to learn, and an imperative skill for a successful life financially.

  1. Planning

From transportation to lodging, to food, and more, there’s a lot to consider while traveling. However, planning doesn’t always mean having everything booked. It could simply mean having an idea of what to expect at the destination.

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MACHU PICCHU, May 2016 – Journey through Peru: From hiking the Inca Trail to riding a train from Cusco, there are multiple ways to get to Machu Picchu. It’s wise to know the transportation options before embarking on this adventure. Photo: Lizzy Patrick

  1. Problem-solving

Likewise, things don’t always go as planned, which requires being able to think under pressure—another important skill for every-day life.

  1. Navigation

Google Maps is a convenient tool, but it’s not always reliable. Learning how to read an actual paper map in a foreign place will heighten your attention to details in general.

  1. Awareness of your surroundings

Knowing what’s around you is important for safety reasons. If you get lost, you might need to recognize certain landmarks to navigate your way back. If you’re in a city with bad areas, you should recognize places to avoid.

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ATHENS, Greece, Feb. 2015 – City at Sunrise: Mt. Lycabettus provides a panoramic, 360-view of the Athens, demonstrating there’s much more to the city than ancient Greek ruins. Photo: Lizzy Patrick

  1. Overcoming fear

Maybe you’re terrified of airplanes or dislike the idea of being somewhere unfamiliar. Purchasing that plane ticket to somewhere completely new might open a doorway of opportunities to learn and grow, and overcome those fears.

  1. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone

If you’ve never been skiing but you have the opportunity to ski in the Swiss Alps, are you going to say no? I hope not! Traveling provides the opportunity to try new things.

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ANDERMATT, Switzerland – Janurary, 2015: Views from the top of the intermediate slopes at a ski resort in the Swiss Alps. Photo: Lizzy Patrick

  1. Introspection and reflection

Reflecting on travel experiences can teach you things about yourself. Why was it a meaningful experience for you? How did it broaden your perspective?

  1. Empathy

While it’s important to grow on a personal level, there are over seven billion people in this world. We must try to understand them and where they’re from, too.

  1. Understanding the world 

The world is a complex place in which we’ll never understand everything, but we can try to understand as much as possible.

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GENEVA, Switzerland, May, 2015 – World Peace Attempts: The Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations room at the United Nations is a place for countries to discuss human rights issues. Photo: Lizzy Patrick

While these skills are obtainable without international travel, traveling abroad allows you to learn them in new, interesting places, which is why people should start it while they’re young.

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