You can go to college as much as you want to learn new things, take courses or read books, but the best way to know and understand the world is by traveling. And by traveling I don't mean to book a five star resort in the carribean to lay on the beach for five days and fly back home. By traveling I mean to visit places, the people and culture. Take a bag and passport, a map or travelguide, maybe a friend, step on a plane and explore places you haven't been. This is one way I discovered the world. I think by meeting new people and adjusting to a new culture helps you to learn appreciate what you have, and to become more openminded. Who you are to judge another persons lifestyle. They probably think you're crazy too :)
I always recommend people to travel by themselves. Especially when you are young you can explore who you are and what is important for you. Also, when you are by yourself you're forced to meet new people and get to know the locals or fellow travelers. As a person with social anxiety this doesn't seem so exciting. But I have found out this is the best way..period. Spending a year abroad to be an exchange student was the best decision I could have made. Because I was only 15 this really shaped me at a young age. I learnt from that age on that I can be thankful for where I come from. Six Years later I am still in contact with my former high school class mates. (Big shout out to social media platforms).
Traveling the world by myself during the ages of 15 and 16 made me feel quite confident. And with quite I mean a whole bunch. I have spent a night alone in an airport when I was supposed to be picked up by someone, not understanding what was happening (and literally one quarter left). At 15, not knowing the language, people, culture and where the heck I was, was scary, but I learnt to trust myself. Whatever situation happens, I won't panic, but think logically. WIth that last quarter I got to call someone to save me, picking me up 8 hours later. This year made me confident for the past six years already. Whatever situation I end up in, I can manage. It made me realize that I DO have the ability to take care of myself.
What is a better way to learn to appreciate where you come from then stepping into new cultures. With anything that I would do, eat or saw I could think 'I am happy we don't do this at home' or 'I am glad we don't eat this stuff'. I lived in three different families, and got to learn how each family has different values and rules. I appreciated my mother more than ever, she was the best woman to grow up with. I loved the norms and values I grew up with, the faith that I had adopted. But it was also the other way around. I appreciate the people I got to meet and become friends with. The places I got to visit that had so much history. How lucky was I to see all of this with my own eyes. Or that my parents were alright with saying goodbye to their 15-year old, not knowing where she would end up with and if we would see each other again.
Overall, traveling is an experience that will make you grow in every way possible. Challenging yourself to step into the unknown is the best decision you can make for yourself. It will learn you to become more patient, open minded, daring and adventurous. It will enhance your life and makes you feel happy about where you come from, as well as the places you get to visit. You can make new dreams, you are forced to leave your comfort zone and will make friends that you keep for the rest of your lives. The people you meet will be a lot like you, open minded and adventurous. You will learn new things from them, and share places that should be on your bucket list.
Explore, dream & discover.