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Friday, August 23, 2019

Opinion

Why every student should travel


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Traveling makes students grow. | Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

Stepping onto the jet bridge with experience in one hand and curiosity in the other, get ready for change.

Realize that the travel will be challenging as you continuously decipher yourself and attempt to understand the different cultures. Exploring different cultures or the same culture in a different place is worth every second, and all students should travel. 

Advertising senior Alyssa Cook took classes and interned abroad in London in the spring semester.

“I gained a different perspective not only on the world but my studies I wouldn’t have normally received just taking classes at UH. But I think the biggest benefit was the confidence I gained in myself,” she said.

To fully experience the new location, as hard as it is, erase all expectations of the place. It is not about the change of scenery but rather how you respond to it. Both the physical and mental toll makes the brain more flexible to grow even in seemingly comfortable situations, such as riding the London Metro.

“Travel disrupts your routine and introduces novelty to your brain,” according to Psychology Today. This improves cognition and helps reactivate reward circuits. Also, traveling improves cognitive flexibility, which helps stimulate neuroplasticity. 

These research results sound achievable on paper, but growing through travel does not work in a checklist approach. Taking into account plane boarding times, check points and everything else, it is daunting to tackle the liability of travel at a young age. And it is worth every minute.

Each new situation is a challenge and an opportunity to be creative. And, contrary to common belief that traveling is going to a far away place, travel can be a short trip, like a road trip to a nearby campsite. 

Also, it is unproductive to your personal growth to travel on a long flight or take a road trip only to eat at the same fast food chain and sleep in the same style of room. You should have new experiences ranging from the food you eat to the way you eat to the way you sleep.

According to a 2013 study, more than 80 percent of Americans surveyed said they had significant drops in stress just after a day or two of traveling. Traveling also makes you a more tolerant and open-minded person. 

Would one really be able to grow and expand their point of view without carrying one’s history and current opinions? To best answer this, writer Patrick Rothfuss said, “A long stretch of road can teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet.” In other words, going on an adventure with your old and current self can better your future self. 

At first, travel pushes you outside your comfort zone. Then, it teaches you more about yourself and forces you to face your weaknesses in a way that is difficult to encounter at home. Overall, traveling makes your brain grow physically by making more connections. This is why students should travel.

Opinion Editor Maryam Baldawi is a biology junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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