Why travel is the best form of education

Travel – the best form of atypical education there is

While some of us have aced it at academics and some of us were not so great at institutional education, most will univocally agree upon a singular truth – that most of life’s real education happens outside the classroom. Classrooms with teachers, friends and textbooks are of course one way to learn but these learnings are incomplete, unless they’re backed up by real-world experience and real-life perspective.

What better way there is, than to learn about life from travel, one of the most accessible tools of learning known to man.

In fact, traveling is the best way to learn things and the things that matter. Whether you stroll through the streets of Paris, explore the Great Outback, hike through the most trying trails in the Himalayas, spend a sunny afternoon sauntering on the Caribbean beaches, or sampling the Tibetan way of life in Nepal, travel will never fail you as a teacher.

What makes travel one of the best formats of learning there is? It’s the ability, to widen your horizons, grow your worldview, and make you limitless, in ways more than one.

Here’s why traveling is the best form of education you can get irrespective of the places you travel and adventures you have:

1. You learn about new language

English is spoken in almost all parts of the world and it will work for you mostly, while you go about globe-trolling. Nevertheless, it’s always exciting to pick up the native language of the place you’re going to visit. In a way, travel forces you to learn languages, or at the least, get acquainted with the local lexicon, so you can navigate through foreign, uncharted territories.

After learning the basics through books, apps or videos, you can test your skills beyond the classroom, by conversing with the actual native speakers. By putting your language education into use, traveling mostly develops your listening and speaking capabilities, while giving you much-needed confidence, to connect, communicate and create bonds.

Even when you have already studied a language, traveling is the best way to master that language, and the best way to do so is to travel to a destination where that language is the first-choice. When you travel, you don’t just test your language skills in a real world scenario, but also learn things like accent, intonation and slang in the most practical way, and often, in a fun way too.

2. You learn about other cultures

Not just traveling to a foreign country, but also to the different parts of your own country, is the best way to discern and appreciate the many cultural nuances. In doing so, you better understand how the cultures around the world vary and where the common ground lies. You also learn to be more accepting and tolerant of very diverse cultures, which may have values differing to your very own.

Yes it’s true, differences do exist in cuisines, etiquettes and lifestyle across different cultures. But in spite of the differences, you can find so many commonalities, like shared love for art, sports, nature, stories and ancestral legacies, all the common facets that bind all the different cultures together.

Education is not just about learning things to make our living more purposeful and goal-oriented, but also about contributing towards making the world a better place to live in. The understanding of diverse cultures plays a vital role in your education, and the experience becomes a pivotal tool, for future transformation.

3. You learn history

You studied about the civilizations and major historical events in your history class, which could have been a tad boring. Nothing quite beats traveling to historic landmarks and exploring your way around a city’s history and culture, while soaking in all the wonderful lessons that come your way.

When you stroll through the streets and visit museums, palaces and galleries, the entire nation’s history comes alive in front of you, helping you relate to the cultures at a deeper level, in a more profound manner. Learning about different dynasties, conflicts and changes, is so much easier when you actually explore a nation. What’s more, it also helps you value all that you have closer home.

Most often, what we learn about history through text books is deviated from reality, because facts are often distorted as and when they get passed on from one generation to the next. By engaging in dialogues with the locals, you understand history in a more accurate way, or at least it provides with you with a whole different perspective, which is vital to shaping your worldview in a balanced way.

4. You learn about today’s world

Travel teaches you not just about the world as it was in the past but also as it is today. For instance, when you visit a historic destination, such as Badami in Karnataka, you will be able to experience a true melange – of the old world and the new world. Like the ancient relics mingling with modern-day wonders, such as the town’s first electric rickshaw. It’s probably the best way to truly understand the political situation, economic scenario and social structure of the world we are living in today, so we can draw our own inferences on how the contemporary world can be bettered, by reflecting upon past lessons.

Our views about distant people and cultures are often influenced by what we are fed through the media, which may or may not be a biased perspective. Traveling is a way to learn about them for real and not through the convenient kaleidoscope of the media, which can be prejudiced or agenda-driven.

When you begin to travel often, you fully begin to understand the underlying reasons behind why the societies of different areas are shaped in a particular way and differ from the societies in other places. While learning of the differences, you learn that diversity is what makes life an interesting potpourri – of cultures, of people, of places, of passions.

5. You learn about nature

When you move out of your comfort zone of the concrete jungle and begin to explore the most exotic natural wonders of the world, you will begin to realize the colossal majesty of nature, and will most certainly be overwhelmed and disarmed by it. Nature’s lessons are best absorbed in the wild, where it thrives in abundance.

Understanding the grandeur of nature and its divine plan, is essential to solving most of the issues of the world today, such as climate change, air pollution and global warming. When we fully realize what we are going to lose with our conduct and our insensitive practices, tackling issues that gnaw at the core of existence, becomes much easier.

So, better than spending all the funds in organizing seminars and conferences, you’re better off taking backpacking trips to the most exotic mountains, lakes, forests and plains, of the world. Nothing quite matches the invaluable experience gained from Nature – the wisest teacher there is.

6. You learn social skills

If you’re an introvert and not too outgoing naturally, you may be little shy and find it difficult to engage yourself socially. But traveling will change that, as things like talking to complete strangers or asking them for favours in case of unforeseen emergencies, is not an option but a necessity during travels.

If you are thinking of some personal development courses to upskill yourself, you might want to consider investing your savings on some real-world exposure instead. Travel your way to a wonderful place somewhere and if possible, on your own; solo travel helps your mind and your soul grow by leaps and bounds.

7. You understand your needs vs wants

This goes in tandem with balancing your budget, when limitation forces you to improvise and innovate – in regular life and in travel. You realize what experiences you value, you learn to prioritize better, and you gain better understanding of the things you really want to do when you’re traveling from country to country. You learn to function with the bare minimum, and in doing so, inculcate survival skills that may come handy in the future.

8. You’re comfortable being uncomfortable

Traveling can present you with some challenges and uncomfortable situations. You learn to lean into that discomfort and embrace it, while slowly and surely losing the fear of the unknown. In doing so, you free your mind, from needless dogma and unsubstantiated preconceived notions about life, the world and its people.

When you travel, you not only leave your home town, you also leave your comfort zone, while throwing yourself out there, at the mercy of the unpredictable world. While that can be scary, it provides numerous growth opportunities too, while giving you the rare chance – to grow exponentially.

When you’re in unexplored cities, you must move past your fear and immerse yourself into the unfamiliar, and use your curiosity to guide your adventures. Allow your grit to help you persevere through any travel mishaps, while retaining an ever-positive attitude. In short, you gain independence and freedom of being, some of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

9. You learn to live unplugged

For those of us who are mostly living in the digitized world, living off the grid with no Wi-fi is an incredible feeling we all deserve to experience every once in a while. It’s a good idea to go off the grid every once in a while, put your cellphone away, lose the unnecessary gadgets, and experience life in its bare, true, pure, unplugged form.

10. The world becomes your classroom

Our world is so beautiful and vast, that it’s difficult to take it all in, in the span of a single lifetime. Instead of solely reading out of bulky textbooks, get used to referring to maps, tour guides and travel books, as your lifelong guides. History pops out the page when you explore new lands, and you can do so many things you wouldn’t experience in a traditional classroom, when you’re out and about. Rock-climbing? Scuba diving? Sky diving? Snowboarding? Get out there and do it. The world is at our fingertips and all its joys are at your beck and call, when you get out and explore. Being hands-on with these experiences is crucial to our development and interactions. Only when you experience things first-hand, do you remember them, even long after the actual travel is complete.

11. You learn more about people

You may argue that there are people all over the world, so why bother venturing beyond your own neighbourhood, right? Wrong. Getting in touch with people from a different culture than your own teaches you things on a whole other level, while you share some of your own learning with them too. Whether it is the idiosyncrasies and quirks of your fellow travellers or those of the locals you meet, there are different lifestyles, modes of etiquette and types of heritage to explore, to gain from. You will think about things you’ve never thought about, and realise just how much your own culture differs from the others out there. There is a wealth of knowledge out there, waiting to be discovered, valued and treasured for a lifetime. People are, after all, the real wealth of all cultures that exist the world over.

12. You become cultured

In Italy, people go for post-meal walks; in Portugal people sit on street corners drinking coffee and eating pastries; in England, people have tea and scones somewhere between breakfast and lunch; in India, everyone loves to devour street food. Outside of your culture, there is a whole world created by others that you may or may not be aware of. The same way you realise the differences, you also get to know the similarities, and you realise that when you peel away differences like race, religion, region and other variations, people are people, and there’s more common ground than you think. This helps you become a person of culture, who values commonalities and accepts differences.

13. It provides perspective

Our views of other countries, cultures and people are often influenced by what we see in the media, because there’s a perception that digital reality tends to create. Travel gives you the opportunity to get out there and figure it out for yourself, so you can learn to tell the grain from the chaff. You get to experience people inside of their culture, their own context, their own belief system. You get to know their history, their reality, even the weather and the way they commute to work and school, and learn that the little things go a long way in making cultures what they are. The more you travel, the more you begin to understand people and the world we live in, and the more worldly-wise you grow.

14. It inspires your creativity

Research shows that when you travel, your creativity is enhanced. Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School and author of several studies that investigate the concrete links between creativity and international travel, explains that “foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms.” The key to a creative boost, says Galinsky, is to purposefully engage while traveling by immersing yourself in the local culture.

How can we at Europe Incoming help you learn through travel:

Europe Incoming recognizes the vital role travel plays in shaping lives. As a travel company comprising a team of European travel and events specialists, our extensive network of agents, event planners and their clients from across the globe, is focused on a shared goal – to offer you enriching, memorable, well-curated travel experiences.

From planning through to departure – whether accommodation, transport and ground transfers, escorted tours, event venues, special event support, or entertainment – we provide agents and event planners with seamless solutions for clients in leisure and student groups, as well as FIT, corporate MICE and Destination Events including Weddings.

Our tailored travel packages are designed so as to inculcate numerous avenues of learning, so that you return with a treasure-trove of life lessons, which we’re certain, will keep you in good stead for an entire lifetime!

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