By Mia Casey
Ever woken up, knowing you have uni or work that day, and just thought to yourself: “This is it. Today is when I get on a plane and never look back”. Well, it turns out that that idea may not be the worst you’ve ever had. Travelling offers a range of benefits and skill-building that can be hard to come by. So what are the benefits of travel for your career?
Increased cultural intelligence
If you’ve never travelled, it can be difficult to have a thorough appreciation for cultures other than your own. The internet can often blend the differences between countries and cultures, and while working or studying with people from overseas can help you become more culturally sensitive, there’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in a new culture entirely.
Being able to see how other people live and how their values differ from yours, can be really beneficial in your professional life. If you ever find yourself in a position where you have to communicate with overseas clients or work with foreign teams, being able to take a step back and draw on your cultural experience may prove to be an invaluable skill in navigating a successful work relationship.
Puts things in perspective
There’s nothing quite like seeing the world to make you realise just how small some of the issues we get caught up in are. Or, to show us how many opportunities or career options actually exist. Many of us can be guilty of existing exclusively in our own little spheres from time to time, but travelling helps pull you out of this microcosm, and really appreciate the breadth of what the world has to offer. And in turn, can help you realise what you have to offer in return.
Even learning about the history of somewhere new – about how cities were shaped, who the major cultural influencers are, what people’s daily lives are like – this can truly help you develop a deeper understanding of your place in the world, and how different value structures operate, which may help you navigate your own industry.
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Can increase your empathy and emotional intelligence
Meeting new people, trying new things, experiencing a new way of living – all of these things can help increase your empathy and build your emotional intelligence. Having these experiences can give you a greater appreciation for what motivates people, and the myriad of ways they find their path in the world. Broadening your world-view in this regard is beneficial if you’re looking to work in any role that deals with people, as you start to think beyond how an issue affects you, to how it affects the people around you as well – which in itself is a great leadership quality.
Can help you learn a language
If you’ve got any background knowledge of a language, or are hoping to learn one, travelling and immersing yourself in a language other than your mother tongue is the best way to do it. Sure, if you’ve never spoken a word of Spanish, and you want to go to Spain to learn it, then you’ll likely have to stay there for more than a 3 week holiday. But if you have the opportunity to take an extended ‘vacay’, and you’ve always dreamed of being bilingual, then now’s your chance!
Find new passions or opportunities
It can be easy to slip into the mindset that if you’ve studied, lived in a big city, and have friends from around the world, that you know what industries are out there, and what companies you want to work for. If you decide to travel, this mindset won’t last long.
There are so many companies, startups, not-for-profits, and industries that are unique to certain countries. Or industries that are huge in one country but nearly non-existent in another. While travelling can help expand your world-view when it comes to dealing with people, it can also help expand your career options. Maybe you travel to Paris and find a new passion for art and art history, or to England and find you want to know more about the theatre and performing arts world. You just never know what new passion or opportunity may be waiting for you.
So if you’re umming and ahing over whether it’s worth taking a break to see the world, it’s certainly not a bad idea, by any means. Travel can open you up to so many new ideas, opportunities and sources of inspiration that it can be helpful for nearly any career you want to pursue. And just remember not to feel guilty about travelling – everyone needs a break sometimes, and doing something that can actually help you build your professional soft skills is always a good idea. So maybe it’s time to pull out your diary and start planning your next trip around the world!
Featured image courtesy of Pexels.