Want to expand your horizons? Think differently? Go travel. Although your time in college provides options for growth, traveling or studying abroad helps you think out of the box. Heading to unknown places like Columbia or even New Orleans will even give rise to immense amounts of responsibility leading to maturity. Becoming a diverse person shifts your perspective and changes how you think. How can you say no to a culture-filled road trip to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco to stand where the hippies once stood?
During four years of college, you have the chance to befriend your professors, join Greek life, participate in sports and so much more. College may be the best time of your life. And just like icing on top of a cake, traveling fits perfectly with your college experience.
“Traveling is a great away to find out about other cultures, practice a little discomfort and meet new friends that you would never have made if you’d just stayed home,” said Florida State University junior Meghan Crawford.
Venturing out of your comfort zone or participating in a study abroad trip can change not only your college experience but can change your life forever.
So maybe you decided to visit Peru this summer before junior year and check out Machu Picchu. Or maybe you chose to take a last minute road trip or sign up to study abroad in Rome. Heading to a new country can challenge you in more ways than one, like coming across unfamiliar languages and cultures.
While these new experiences may overwhelm you, think of all the positive aspects of flying somewhere unfamiliar. “Traveling forces us to confront our feelings of loneliness, or of difference, and our own homesickness, for example. Suddenly, we can empathize more with people that are different from us, because we know what it means to feel a foreigner, to feel ‘not at home,’” said FSU Associate Professor of Italian Studies Dr. Silvia Valisa.
Learning to think on your feet in an unknown place, out of your comfort zone, can definitely help you grow as a person as you learn to empathize with those around you.
Venturing off into another world lets you encounter foreign territory, a step farther than your campus. “As much as colleges try to promote diversity, it’s no secret that most campuses in the U.S. are pretty homogenous. Most of our classmates tend to be from the same socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures as us,” said Crawford.
Traveling teaches love and acceptance of others who come from different backgrounds, unlike those around at your college who come from similar backgrounds. “We appreciate much more the gestures of love and kindness that we receive, and understand how important human connections are,” said Dr. Valisa.
Choosing a place to travel can also be a difficult task, especially if you’re doing it on your own. “I would say go anywhere that sparks your interest—and find a travel format that suits your personality,” said Dr. Valisa. Simply look for a place that interests you and form a plan from there. The place you choose should be dependent upon your likes. Don’t get too comfortable, though. Step out of your comfort zone. Choose a place that will challenge you in more ways than one.