Published on October 26th, 2021 | by Bibhuranjan0
In What Way Does Travel Help Students to Gain Global Awareness?
Global awareness is a necessity in the increasingly globalized world. This term is defined as the capacity to demonstrate proper knowledge, attitudes, and skills to function in a globalized world. A globally aware individual can act in an informed manner, be sensitive and empathetic, and navigate the challenges and opportunities that globalization brings to the communities. It is believed that global awareness is essential to work efficiently, communicate across borders, and satisfy customers’ needs. The Assignment Partner team examines how travel can help students build global awareness to integrate into the global community and succeed in their future careers.
Travel Improves Attitudes
When traveling, students are exposed to cultures that differ from their own. By interacting with these cultures through communication, sightseeing, food, and other means, students understand new values and beliefs. They learn to eliminate their cultural biases to appreciate the cultures and lifestyles in all their diversity and complexity.
Travel can also develop empathy. As students encounter new people and lifestyles, they consciously understand them and maybe even walk in other people’s shoes. However, it is important to stress that travel does not automatically lead to empathy. Students need to be open-minded and willing to learn about the new culture. They need to understand the cultural context and look beyond strictly transactional intercultural encounters. Instead of perceiving locals as mere service providers, they need to look deeper and understand the cultural and socioeconomic forces that determine their lives. It often means that students should be pushed outside their comfort zone and face things that may unsettle or challenge them. For example, travel won’t build empathy and attitudes if students do not leave their luxurious hotels to explore the local life.
Travel Builds Knowledge
Travel also builds extensive knowledge about the foreign cultures. This process occurs as students engage in the following activities:
- Read about the history of a foreign country
- Visit sights and museums
- Communicate with locals
- Learn a foreign language
- Study abroad
- Interact with the culture through daily activities (e.g., using public transport, eating out, etc.)
Travel makes students more aware of how national economies affect each other and how geopolitical processes impact everyday lives. This knowledge is much more people-centered than that drawn from books and newspapers because students witness the socioeconomic and political phenomena and processes. In addition, traveling uncovers the cultural and ideological issues that drive government decision-making, which allows them to understand why people live the way they do.
As a result of experiencing the culture first-hand, students gain invaluable knowledge they can then apply in their study, work, and personal life. Some students become so fascinated by the new culture that they decide to study or move abroad to become its part.
Travel Develops Skills
Skills are another component of global awareness that can be built through travel. So, what skills, in particular, are we talking about? These include but are not limited to the following:
- Intercultural communication
- Conflict resolution
- Planning and goal setting
- Cultural competence
Travel is always an opportunity to challenge oneself. When students overcome challenges abroad, they become more skilled in global awareness. For example, they learn to communicate with people that do not speak their language or address conflicts with locals. They also gain invaluable skills in managing foreign currency, adjusting to unexpected events, and demonstrating respect and friendliness no matter what.
All these skills enrich students and prepare them for adult life. Even if they never revisit a foreign country, the global awareness skills listed above will help them interact with people at work and in personal life and become more independent, resilient, and confident.
Why Does It Matter So Much?
You probably wonder why students need all these attitudes, knowledge, and skills. In the contemporary world, no country can live in total isolation. Once students enter the labor market, they will inevitably interact with representatives of different cultures. Many professions and industries also require foreign travel and intercultural communication. For example, scholars usually interact with colleagues from different countries to conduct research, meet at the international conferences, etc.
Global awareness makes these interactions meaningful and mutually beneficial and helps prevent cultural conflicts and misunderstandings. Students who travel learn to use multiple frames of reference and be open-minded, creative, and resilient. These are the skills that any employer is looking for in their employees because they improve performance and help maximize employees’ contribution to the company’s reputation and growth.
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