Tagged: international travel

The Cultural and Intellectual Significance of International Travel

Travelling around the world can really open ones mind for new perspectives and new ways to evaluate ones day to day experiences. We tend to operate under a set of assumptions about what we are going to face in our everyday life, and getting some experience living in a different culture and with people of different ethnicity may help in questioning some of such assumptions and perhaps refining others. It has been recognized all throughout the history that being well travelled is a factor that makes a person civilized and knowledgeable. Any international tourist who can spend a significant amount of time travelling abroad can therefore consider himself lucky and privileged. After all, the majority of people in certain parts of the world can only dream of such long distance travel.

However, modern technology has in some sense decreased this difference, as it has enabled some of the people who might not afford to travel very extensively to nevertheless gain a decent understanding of other countries, people groups and cultures via various media, and especially the Internet. The strong presence of Western entertainment industry in much of the contemporary world also tends to influence non-Western cultures in ways that bring them closer to the Western culture, whereas immigration has in some ways resulted in a situation where the assumption of one single western culture can be questioned. Whether these developments are overall positive or negative can be debated, although that is not a debate that we wish to enter right now. Nevertheless, it can be argued that the role of extensive travel has maintained its place as a significant factor that influences the development of ones worldview. Even extensive and multimedia-based online explorations of other countries, cultures and people can be seen as virtual travel. Therefore, this phenomenon can actually be somewhat supportive of the basic idea about the importance of international travel.

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