Traveling is an attractive pastime for many people. Top bucket list items include visiting the Eiffel Tower, hiking Machu Picchu, or riding the London Eye. Outside of amazing views and crossing something off your bucket list, what are the benefits of traveling abroad or even around your own country? Traveling opens up a whole new world of cultures, mindsets, and relationships. You learn to be adaptable, diversify your communication style, relate to others better, and appreciate your own culture even more.
When I was 18, I left my country (the United States) for the first time and traveled to the southern hemisphere to live in Argentina for a year. It was a rude awakening for me as a young adult, but I am ever so thankful for it. I attended a school where I was surrounded by amazing people from various Spanish-speaking countries. Approaches to communication, humor, idioms, meal times, background experiences, etc. all diverged from what I was used to. I learned to give up expectations and be adaptable to new situations. I learned to see things from other people’s perspectives and have empathy for what other people were going through as I put faces to situations. Listening became so important in the face of all the newness around me.
These skills have translated to my jobs and relationships now that I am back in the United States. I value diversity in different teams I work with at my job. New projects are a challenge I am up for; I see them as a chance to apply the skill set I have. I really appreciate the beautiful relationships I have formed with people from across the world. I have met people from different cultures not only in my travels but also in the cities I live in now. Diversity is all around us! I approach these new relationships with enthusiasm as I know in a small way what it is like to live in a different culture that is outside of your comfort zone.
My trip overseas is just one example of a cross-cultural experience. Something I appreciate about Language Matters is that each person on the team has their own cross-cultural experiences to share. LM is intentional in creating a space to share these encounters and celebrate different cultures.
The benefits of cross-cultural experiences are many. If you travel with an open mindset to learn from all you will come across, you are set up for success!