Why Travel?


Why Travel? Experts Weigh In

I overheard a locker room conversation recently that got me thinking. A guy was talking about his daughter wanting to volunteer in an orphanage in Nicaragua. He told his friend "Why should she help orphans in Nicaragua when she can do the same here? There are plenty of orphanages in the United States." He really thought it was a dumb idea to spend money doing what you can do at home for free. It apparently hadn't entered the mind of this clearly upper-middle class father that there might be more to his daughter's idea than just helping some kids. 

If you're like most Americans, your life has taken a fairly predictable path: high school, a few car trips with the family, part-time jobs, then college with the goal of a future career.

There's nothing wrong with that path.

But travel -- extended trips to faraway places that take you out of your comfort zone -- are an exciting way to enrich this life journey.

Don't just take our word for it. There are many advocates of serious travel, especially travel by young people.

For college students, study abroad offers an extraordinary door to the world. For one financial adviser, it paved the way to career-enhancing travel throughout his 20's, something he now recommends to all young people: take the plunge before the responsibilities of adulthood limit your options.

If study abroad doesn't fit your academic plans, consider doing an overseas internship, something that will set you apart from the competition, whether it's for grad schools or jobs. In fact, some see global internships as the key to getting a job. That's why ELI's internship programs are so popular: having these experiences on your resume shows prospective employers that you're an out-of-the-box thinker who can adapt to different work settings and succeed within the international community. It's a huge asset in today's global economy.

But travel isn't just limited to those in college: your entire 20's are the perfect time to explore the world. Some even suggest that it's a good idea for 20-somethings to quit their jobs and hit the road, especially in a lackluster economy. Inexpensive travel is a productive way to boost your resume and hone your social skills as you wait out the economic doldrums.

Whatever your reasons, setting out into the unknown (especially with a little help from ELI) can be a life-changer. At the very least, it will give you a greater understanding of our world. And that's a priceless gift in itself.

By Kevin O'Neill


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