Travelling is the ultimate pastime, or it seems to be that way with all the #vacation photos you see on Instagram. For students and new grads, travelling is thought of as a way to enhance your education; go to the best schools, learn from the best professors, be the best in class and then land your dream career. There’s so much more to travel than just the traditional educational benefits – there are career-related benefits too! Keep reading to see how travel can help you gain skills that employers are looking for on your resume!
In the good ol’ days, seeing a “gap year” on a resume, where a potential candidate ran off to Europe to explore, got an eye-roll and a laugh in the human resources department before the resume was promptly thrown into the “no” pile, but we’ve learned since then. Travelling has some real value, especially when it comes to building your employable skills.
By ‘travelling’ we mean heading to another city, country or continent to explore, learn and grow as an individual – not heading to Mardi Gras and partying it up with your friends (though New Orleans has some great history), or even necessarily taking an eight-hour roadtrip to your favourite music festival.
#1. Travelling Allows You To Learn And Experience Other Cultures
Travelling gives you the opportunity to learn about other cultures and their customs. This is especially important in cases where you’re hoping for a future career that involves international or cross-border communications work.Learning and experiencing new cultures has a ridiculous amount of positive benefits, but the most important often involve helping you establish more solid adaptability, understanding and communication skills.
Being an outsider
Experiencing a culture that is not your own can help give you a broader look and appreciation of the world. Looking at something as an outsider often gives you a different, more unique perspective that can help you understand situations better.
Dealing with language barriers
Dealing with language barriers, while at times frustrating, can be helpful when it comes to increasing your communication skills. Much of communication happens in a nonverbal way, meaning your communication comes through your tone of voice, your body language, and your facial expressions as opposed to your actual words.
Communicating through a language barrier can also strengthen your nonverbal communication skills, helping you pick up and rely on cues that aren’t solely dependent on words.
TIP: Immersing yourself in a new language is the best way to learn! Bonus, the opportunity to do this can lead to better job options in the long run.
Learning to adapt
Living in a new city, country or continent that has customs and a culture different than yours helps you build better adaptability skills. Being exposed to a new culture means that you have to assess your situation and make your decisions based on what you see, hear and feel, and not about what you’re used to doing.
#2. Travelling Helps You Hone Your Networking Skills
Networking is and likely will forever be,your most valuable skill when it comes to landing a sweet gig. While there are many important skills depending on your business or industry, networking is how you get there in the first place. Ever heard that old adage ‘it’s not what you know but who you know?’ Well, get used to it because it’s 100% true.
Much of the work we do today, even when we don’t realize it, has a hint of cultural interaction in it. Even something as simple as having two groups inside an organization work together is in some capacity an exploration of how cultures interact. Travelling helps build those adaptability skills to properly assess and help employ cultural interactions in the workplace.
Developing better cross-cultural skills also means developing better networking skills. It means learning how to adjust and become more resilient and adaptable in situations where you might not be the most comfortable. It also means learning how to work a crowd and meaningfully interact with other individuals, and learning to understand and work within cultural and contextual frameworks that you might not be used to.
When you travel, connecting with people makes your trip a much more enriching experience, especially when you’re interacting with new people, from different backgrounds. When you travel, you are forced to break the ice as you don’t necessarily know anyone. Being able to start up a conversation is a valuable life skill that will help you in your career.
#3. Travelling Can Inspire You To Grow
Sometimes too much routine is not a good thing. Seeing the same things, doing the same activities and experiencing the same places over and over again can all lead to you getting stuck in a rut. Mixing things up with a little culture and some new experiences can help you get inspired and encourage you to grow as an individual.
From an employers’ point of view, inspiration can lead to new discoveries, better workplace culture and all-around more satisfied employees. Satisfied employees = a happier workplace, and a happier workplace can often be a more productive one.
Travelling can help you become a more well-rounded, experienced and adaptable individual, which is incredibly important when it comes to landing your dream job. While it might not be considered traditional education, when you travel you learn and grow. That experience just might be the thing you need to get your foot in the door when it comes to searching for your next awesome gig. So if you have travel experience, flaunt it, share it, and talk about it because you never know who could be listening.