Opinion: Do yourself a favor and travel


Bruno Beidacki is a sophomore journalism major. Contact him at [email protected]

Bruno Beidacki

You have probably heard it a million times, but maybe not for the right reasons: travel. Yes, visiting the Louvre, exploring the Amazon rainforest and relaxing at a beach in the Bahamas are fun things to do. However, the benefits of traveling go much further than lying by the ocean and taking pictures of the Mona Lisa (which, by the way, is a frustrating experience.)

Once you travel, or even better, live abroad, you become a completely different person — a better person. During the past five years, I have lived in three different countries and visited more than a dozen. At the end of every single one of these adventures, something about me had completely changed.

As I sit down to plan a study abroad program for next fall, it intrigues me that some people are still not convinced they should be traveling as well.

The first benefit that deserves to be mentioned is the most obvious: learning a foreign language. By traveling to a non-English speaking country, you have the opportunity to experience an unequal cultural period that will make the process of improving your language skills a lot easier. When you are surrounded by people who do not speak your native language, you are forced to learn theirs.

That is the only reason I am fluent in English. When I first came to live in the United States, I had no one to speak Portuguese to. If I did not learn the language, I would be constantly alone and would have trouble completing the most simple tasks, such as ordering food or finding a public restroom. In other words, traveling provides you the chance to immerse yourself and learn or improve your skills in a foreign language.

Second, there’s the cultural experience. By traveling, you become more aware and accepting of the diversity that exists around the world. It becomes easier to understand why certain people are more individualistic than others or why eating habits are different depending on where you live. Diversity is everywhere, but it is easy to judge others, especially when you are both sharing an environment.

Finally, traveling makes you a more independent, positive, grateful and empathetic person. When you are forced to deal with all of your problems on your own and faced with challenges and adversities you would not encounter back home, you grow. You learn to do things you thought were not possible and realize that you have control over your future.

It makes you more grateful because it teaches you to appreciate the little things that were always taken for granted. The home-cooked meal, your comfortable bed, time spent with friends and family. It also makes you empathize more with people who are living in situations you could not previously understand. When you understand why someone acts a certain way, it is easier to be compassionate.

Traveling is one of my passions and there are more reasons that make traveling worth it. There are 196 countries in the world. Each one has multiple regions and each region has its own culture, traditions, food and language. How can you be satisfied with experiencing only one or two? If you want to learn, grow, mature, adventure and simply become an overall better person, do yourself a favor and travel.

Bruno Beidacki is an opinion writer for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].