Opinion: Vacations help shape worldview

Becca Koch '22, Staff writer

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The world around us grows smaller the more we travel, and yet simultaneously grows larger every time. It’s a bit of a paradox. Once you begin to travel, the sheer amount of things to do in the world expands. Travel helps bind everyone and everything together.

I have been very lucky to have traveled with my family. Personally, I can attest to the advantages that travel gives. Growing up, being exposed to new cultures was an invaluable experience. There is something to be said about seeing the places that you were learning about in school just the week before. Traveling gives one a new appreciation for all of the earth’s wonders.

I remember learning about Pearl Harbor and the Pacific theater during a social studies class last year, and a week later being on a boat overlooking the USS Arizona. Seeing the monuments and going onto decommissioned submarines. Looking around at the pure Hawaiian beauty, I thought of the stark contrast to the vicious attack that had taken place there. It was a moving experience. When I got back to school, the remainder of the lesson had a deeper meaning to me because of the experience. I was also at an advantage of being able to go deeper into the information presented at the memorial because I already had a basic grasp of the situation.

That being said, one of the biggest benefits of traveling has been the experiences that are easily applicable to my education. For example, when discussing art history in a social studies class, being able to make connections between the pieces you are analyzing and actually seeing the painting is incredible. It gives you perspective on what it is actually like.

Beyond the exciting parts of traveling, there are practical uses. Today’s current world is multi-cultural and children should be exposed to as many new cultures as possible in order to create empathetic and informed world citizens. Fear and bigotry are built upon a bed of hate. Combating this issue needs to start early. Learning about new cultures, and especially visiting them or exposing them to cultural practices helps to expose kids to new ideas. The impact of learning respect for other people can last a lifetime.

Personally, traveling has also helped me increase my independence. Learning how to navigate public transportation systems in new countries is a vital skill. I am confident in my ability to navigate new cities in a country where I don’t speak the native language.

As the world changes, we have a moral obligation to become well-informed citizens on a variety of cultures. If you have the opportunity and the resources to travel, take the chance. There is no classroom that can compare to seeing the museums of the world up close. There is no way to fully understand and appreciate different parts of the world without seeing them for yourself.