With the technology our world has, it’s almost a crime to not want to discover more of the world first hand. Companies are expanding outside of their country lines in hopes to bring awareness and happiness to others all over the world—and you should too!
Why get out of your comfort zone?
Greatness isn’t achieved within the bounds of familiarity, and who doesn’t want to be great? I spent the second semester of my junior year of college living in the Czech Republic. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Upon making this huge leap, I had never been out of the country (a cruise to the Bahamas when I was 8 doesn’t really count) nor had I ever traveled by myself. I knew little to nothing about Czech culture and if someone had asked me if I planned to pick up the language to a minimal conversational level I would’ve responded with a sure “Yes”. I was quickly taken out of my comfort zone, but I couldn’t have been happier.
When you’re in an unknown place:
- You get to know your true self. I traveled 5,000+ miles from home not knowing anyone. It was a great way for me to further establish my independence and branch out.
- Develop a “yes” attitude. Suddenly, you will find yourself saying yes to opportunities you never would have normally. I never had the desire to travel to Hungary, but when the chance was presented I hopped on a train to go explore Budapest—and I’m so thankful I did. What an amazing city!
- Learn to trust others. As much as people like to say they don’t stereotype others, we all know it happens. When you’re in a foreign country you can either continue to uphold those judgements or have a little faith and be open. People are people. (Still obviously listen to your gut if something doesn’t seem right.)
Culture yourself, and help break the stereotype
As mentioned, stereotypes are everywhere. I thought everyone in Europe drove on the other side of the road, French people were smelly, and I had no idea what Czech people were like. (I lived a very sheltered life.)
The best way to learn about other cultures and make your own impressions is through experience.
I met students from all over the world when I studied abroad and those initial judgements were broken very quickly. The statement “Don’t judge a book by its cover” although cliché, it is very powerful and true.
Additionally, many students had impressions of what Americans were like because of the media. One asked me where my accent was, thinking all Americans spoke with southern accents. I laughed, realizing I had originally thought all Italian people had the same accent as well.
My point is there is so much to learn and experience, which is why I choose to go global. It’s easy to google different facts about another country, but have you ever tried skyping someone from another country to have a real conversation or hopped on a plane to go experience your research first hand? I encourage you to do so. It just might change your life.
Exploring Budapest, Hungary with my parents.
What makes you want to travel and experience other cultures? Feel free to comment below and/or connect with me via firstname.lastname@example.org