It's not easy to step out of your comfort zone; in fact it's pretty scary. At the same time, you'll experience and learn amazing things; both about yourself and the world around you. Experiencing a new culture is like stepping into a whole new world; you're exposed to different languages, smells, colors, sights, sounds, and people. Taking the time to travel to a different part of the world and a new culture will completely change your life. It'll be an exciting and thrilling experience that you will never forget!
Here are some reasons why you should experience other cultures at least once in your life:
Broaden your perspective of the world
It's a big world out there; people live and behave differently. When you live in another country, you can open your eyes to the beliefs and values other people and its influence on their everyday life. You will discover new social norms and lifestyles. It will not only change your perspective, but it will re-shape your personality as well. Some countries have no electricity, plumbing, or internet. Kids don't have Xbox or Wii to pass the time; they use their imagination to create toys from whatever they can find. They live their everyday life with perseverance. It's a humbling and character-building experience, and one that teaches you to appreciate what you have and also to respect those who live without them every day.
"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."
― Henry Miller
Learn a new language
Who doesn't want to have a second language under their belt? Learning a second language will give you the ability to step inside the mind of the culture and see things from a whole new perspective. It'll also give you an advantage and a competitive edge in the work field. The world is becoming more and more interconnected so there is an urgent need for global citizens competent in a second language. So learning or knowing a second language is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity. Experiencing a new culture will force you to quickly learn and adopt the new language. There is only so much that you can learn by sitting in a classroom or from texts. It's a whole different experience when you immerse yourself in the culture and hear the language spoken in its cultural context; you will pick it up much faster since you will be surrounded by it constantly. Overall, learning a new language will open many doors and you'll have a much deeper understanding of the world.
"A different language is a different vision of life." ― Federico Fellini
Learn new skills
Traveling to a different country and experiencing a new culture teaches you a variety of new skills. You learn to become more social, flexible, open minded, and independent. Exposure to multicultures or diversity will lead to better judgment; you will meet people of different religions, color, race, educational background and many other things. You will also learn fun skills such as cooking among others. It will greatly enhance your development as a person.
Expand your circle of friends all around the world
The most fun part (besides the amazing food and shopping!) of traveling is meeting new people and making new friends. You meet people from different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. You will learn valuable lessons and stories from each person you meet that will make the trip even more memorable. You'll gain insights into their way of life and their beliefs. Not only will you gain tons of knowledge, but your personality will also develop. You'll come to see and appreciate your own culture from a different perspective. You can even keep in touch with them when you come back home and continue to experience and share from across the world. It's truly a liberating and life changing experience.
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."
― St. Augustine
In case you needed a scientific reason for traveling, according to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, individuals who experience or adopt new cultures have enhanced creativity than individuals who hadn't experienced a new culture. Recalling a multicultural experience (a) facilitates idea flexibility (e.g., the ability to solve problems in multiple ways), (b) increases awareness of underlying connections and associations, and (c) helps to overcome functional fixedness. Either way, it's a win-win situation!
Trying new food, learning new traditions or cultures, and meeting new people with different perspectives and stories will enrich your life greatly and add amazing experiences that you will remember even in old age, whether it's walking through the rice fields of China, taking a trip to the Amazon Basin in Brazil, or walking through the vibrant streets of Tokyo in Japan. So if you haven't done so yet, step out of your comfort zone and travel to experience a whole new world!
"You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown, you travel for the unknown, that reveals you with yourself."
― Ella Maillart