Isolationism was once seen to be the solution to all of America’s problems, but my travels have convinced me otherwise. You can’t just stick to the States. To be successful by today’s standards, you have to understand that we function on a global market. Globalization is now the word of the day.
Mega-corporations have branches all over the world doing business in a growing number of languages.
To make yourself more appealing to companies while applying for a job, it never hurts to show that you have traveled and experienced different cultures.
You can never be sure when or where your company might send you for a project, or in my case, a story.
The best way to experience the cultural differences is to travel. I understand money is tight because of the economy, but that does not mean traveling abroad is impossible. As college students, we are eligible for many opportunities to broaden our horizons by traveling abroad.
There are many scholarships, grants and internships available to students looking to study abroad. This summer, I spent three weeks in London visiting family. While across the Atlantic, I also visited Madrid, Rome, Amsterdam and Paris exposing my ears and eyes to Spanish, Italian, Dutch and French cultures.
I spent long hours in museums soaking in the art of Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Da Vinci and other masters. There is no better way to experience cultural differences than traveling around Europe. Every country is like a different world with different foods, languages and customs.
For example, European countries view sex in a much different light than the United States. Sex clubs are open for business in the major European cities, catering to all sexual orientations and fetishes. Yet, Europe is so close to the more sexually-prude Middle East, where someone can be imprisoned for being drunk or having premarital sex in public and eating outside during the holy month of Ramadan.
Every European city is unique. Madrid offered flamenco dancing; Amsterdam – legal pot and prostitution; Paris seduces with the Palace of Versailles and its geometric and symmetric gardens. London had great shopping at Oxford and Piccadilly Circus.
After visiting Europe for three weeks, I have changed.
The proximity of all the major European cities lends to the understanding that the world has become more of a neighborhood.
Reading about a different country is one thing, but to be completely immersed in the culture offers a real-life understanding of life abroad.