Travel and get to know other cultures

This was the second point on the speech I gave last week, which was entitled “Kick-starting your Career”.

I think most young people (and I include myself here being 22 years old) underestimate the value one can obtain from traveling and getting to know other people, other languages and other cultures.

Consider someone with limited financial resources (pretty much everyone?) who needs to choose between investing his money in a specialization course in the local university or in a travel abroad. I think most people would stick with the former. First of all because it yields a tangible and short-term benefit, the specialization course generates some knowledge and will figure in the first lines of the resume. A travel abroad, on the other hand, offers much more subtle benefits.
The second reasons has to do with the fact that staying in the local university is a more secure and comfortable option. Often times in our life we will face a fork in the road, where you will need to pick one out of two or more doors. There will always be an easier door to pick, but that is rarely the right one.

Choosing to travel abroad as opposed to staying in the local university, living close to your family and going out with your old good friends will present many more obstacles on the way. But when you face such obstacles you are forced to adapt to new situations, new problems and ultimately to grow as a person.

When you get to know other cultures you also learn that there is no such a thing as the ultimate truth or THE way of doing things. A single situation can be interpreted in many different ways, and not necessarily one will be right and the others will be wrong. Life is not an exact science, you can have many different perspectives for a single problem and all of them can be true at the same time.

So if you happen to have the opportunity to travel and get to know other cultures do not waste it. Diversity is wealth.

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