Traveling on budget provides rewarding experience

Traveling on budget provides rewarding experience

Learning to live and work with people from a diverse set of backgrounds is absolutely necessary in our shrinking world. If you want to be included in the workforce of the future, you will need to learn to adapt quickly, and communicate with people who think differently than you do.

While some classes at Buffalo State help you hone these horizon-expanding skills, the best way to gain perspective is by traveling.

The biggest objection to traveling that I hear from students is that it is too expensive. Yes, going to an all-inclusive resort on the shores of some country you know nothing about is expensive.

As far as I am concerned, cheap travel is a win-win situation. Taking public transportation in a foreign country instead of other cushy modes of transportation saves you a ton of money, and forces you to submerse yourself in the unfamiliar.

Trading in your private hotel room for a bunk in a hostel, though sometimes intimidating, can be an enriching experience. For a fraction of the cost, you can (usually) stay in a more authentic setting and explore the real side of wherever you are.

Traveling shouldn’t be about comfort. It’s the complete opposite, actually. You should be throwing yourself out of your comfort zone and soaking up as much of another culture as you can.

Every experience that you have while traveling can be applied to situations you will face at some point in your life. There is no way of knowing how much you’ll miss by not seeing another country. You could learn how to cook something you’ll want to make for the rest of your life, or make a lifelong friend that you couldn’t imagine living without.

By experiencing a little culture shock, you will be more sensitive to foreigners in your own country. Being able to empathize with a future co-worker or employee is invaluable.

If cheap travel really isn’t your thing, there are other routes to take to open your mind to people in other parts of the world. Studying abroad can be a great way to experience another culture. Plus, you could probably tack most of the costs on to pre-existing student loans and worry about money later … when you get an awesome job because you know all that conversational Mandarin that you learned while studying abroad.

Taking some time to really get lost in a place that’s foreign to you can also provide your life with direction. My personal experience with dropping myself in a foreign country for a few months has taught me how to calm down and look at the big picture. It helped me gain a greater sense of humility, and that I am just one drop in a gigantic ocean of people, places, and ideas.

Andrew Manzella can be reached by email at [email protected].