International Experience: What's It Good For?
International experience is extremely important for many different parts of life. It allows you to relate to other cultures, learn flexibility and management skills, and gives you a broader mindset than you will be able to gain while living at home. For these reasons, having international experience is a major plus when searching for a career.
For example, I have always been interested in journalism. Now that’s a very broad field, so let me specify. There are a few different types of journalism that are of particular interest to me. First of all, travel writing for various magazines. Obviously, international experience is of the utmost importance for this job, which is one of the reasons I’m interested in it. Travel writing allows you to travel for a living. Although it’s a difficult job that doesn’t pay much, I think the experiences it allows you to have more than makes up for it.
Second of all, I’m looking into videography dealing with different cultures around the world. International experience is vital for this, as it gives you a certain level of tolerance for different cultures and languages. Whether or not you speak the same language as the other person, anyone who’s traveled long enough knows how to get their point across. That and anyone with some international experience is less likely to accidentally make a fool of themselves due to differences in culture than someone who’s never been out of their country.
Whether or not you’re using international travel to power a career, the experiences you have on the road are guaranteed to change your perspective on life and the way you live it.
Phil Gehman is nineteen, and has been traveling for most of his life. He’s a great example of a young adult who uses international experience in his career. Phil works for his Dad’s windmill company, and helps manage the setting up of the windmills. He recently flew to Malawi to set up a windmill for some indigenous people there. Phil agreed to be interviewed about his experiences.
EdventureGirl: How long have you been traveling?
Phil: Well I'm 19 now and I've been traveling internationally since I was 6 years old.
EdventureGirl: What is one of your favorite countries you’ve visited and why?
Phil: My favorite country I’ve both visited and lived is Guyana, South America. I would say the main reason I enjoyed Guyana (besides the awesome food) is that the people are like no other I've ever met. They are truly friendly and I have real friendships with many of them!
EdventureGirl: How has international travel changed your life?
Phil: International travel has really opened my eyes to see how sheltered we Americans are to the reality of the "real" world. Also it has made me realize how blessed we are in America.
EdventureGirl: Has international travel given you a different perspective on how you perceive other cultures?
Phil: Traveling abroad has really shown me how awesome other cultures really are. They might get misrepresented through movies, but I have seen first-hand how nice other people are, and how enjoyable their cultures are!
EdventureGirl: As a kid did you want to travel?
Phil: As a kid I got to travel a lot and always thought of myself as living abroad.
EdventureGirl: What is one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned from your experiences traveling?
Phil: The greatest lesson I learned while over seas was probably that respect and love go a long long way in any country!!!
From Phil, 8 countries and counting...
No matter who or where you are, international travel will not only change your life, it will change how you think of other people around the world. This difference will set you far apart from the average crowd. The experiences you have while traveling will bring you a wider selection of careers, and a greater ability to take things as they come.
Hannah Miller is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.
Photo courtesy and copyright Hannah Miller