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The 8 best things travel can teach you that college never will

By Martha Ella Muthoka, Juba

Visiting new places and meeting people from different cultures is more than just a whirlwind of fun experiences. If you’re open and willing, travelling can teach you some of the most powerful life lessons that you never would in a classroom.

Here are 8 of the best things travel can teach you that college never will:

1. Interpersonal skills

Learning communication skills in college is one thing, but interacting with people from different cultures is even more gratifying. Immersing yourself in different languages and norms helps you acquire interpersonal skills that will make you more efficient in school and in your career.

Encountering and communicating with new people will undoubtedly make you better at networking and more approachable. Conveying something to people who speak different languages forces you to observe their body language, even without your knowledge. These skills help you foster strong personal and professional relationships.

2. Managing stress

When you travel, you take time to relax and spend more time learning new things. This drastically lowers levels of stress hormones in your body.

You are more likely to spend more time outside when travelling. Recent studies suggest that exposing your lungs to fresh air enables your body to take in more oxygen which can help to relieve stress and anxiety. This teaches you to ward off any overestimated threats in your life and gives your body renewed positive energy.

3. Managing money

When travelling, learning to manage your money is a crucial skill that you’ll have to learn fast. Mistakes will cost you time and money, neither of which you can afford to lose in a different country. You’ll estimate your trip’s expenses and bring enough cash with you to last you the entire trip. If you only have the cash you travelled with, you will quickly learn the value of every dollar. You may also be forced to acquire skills to make extra income to travel.

For most people, saving up for a big trip requires some pretty ruthless budgeting. They make a travel budget and periodic goals until they hit their target. Creating a budget helps you track your expenses to ensure you have enough money for other important things such as travelling. More importantly, it sheds light on how you spend your money and forces you to take a closer look at your spending habits.

4. Dealing with tough situations

Neuroscientists suggest that our brains are stuck with the same capabilities unless exposed to different experiences. Travelling expands our neural pathways in the brain by providing them with the opportunity to think and act differently.

It also boosts your problem solving skills, since you may be required to solve some tough issues quickly. You will find that you are a lot more resilient and can put up with much more than you thought possible.

5. Spontaneity and flexibility

The future is not as predictable as most of us were led to believe when growing up. Things in life rarely move in a straight line and don’t always work out as we had planned. When this happens, we need to be courageous and willing to make the most optimal decisions in the current situations.

If you are obsessed with planning every little aspect of your life, travelling will definitely teach you how to be more spontaneous. You may plan many items for your trip ahead of time but circumstances may change when you get to your destination. Travelling dares you to go with the flow and adapt to different circumstances fast.

6. Being alert

Traveling (especially to a new country) helps you to be more vigilant. You really need to look out for scams, thieves and other negative incidences. You’ll have to do some research before you begin your trip and follow common safety rules.

Another important skill you learn from travelling trusting your instinct. Your gut feeling plays a pivotal role in your safety and you will have to learn how to stop thinking so much and trust yourself. Its however important to know that most places are safe and it’s good to be vigilant but not paranoid.

7. Character building

Visiting new places helps change your lifestyle and way of thinking. Problems/ difficulties encountered during your trip changes your personal adaptabilities and help you discover your true self.

Overcoming a simple difficulty such as desperately trying to find a bathroom in a new city or using different currency can have a profound effect on your character and courage. Put simply, no one comes from a different country without having been changed.

8. Global Mindset

Young people with global mindsets have an active openness to learn about other cultures of different people and are passionate about diversity.

Visiting different countries helps you learn about cultures, political and economic systems in the world. Travelling teaches you to deal with people from other cultures, backgrounds and styles all without losing sight of who you are. You will learn to seek out and appreciate the differences between people rather than being frustrated or intimidated.

To conclude, travel helps you learn lifelong lessons that can’t be taught in a class, only experienced. It emphasises self-learning and helps you acquire transferable skills that can be used in your personal and professional life

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