Sometimes parents hesitate to send their youngsters to private boarding schools due to concerns about travel. Yet traveling widely does offer a number of benefits for children. Many international private schools recognize this aspect of studying abroad and make efforts to ensure that the students in their care gain exposure to historic sites and national landmarks within the host nation. Three benefits of childhood travel concern cultural exposure, language skill development and intellectual curiosity.
Children who travel extensively benefit by obtaining exposure to other cultures. Although all human societies share some problems in common, people in different places developed remarkably different solutions to these challenges. This diversity enriches life. By traveling abroad, a child may gain insight into the lifestyles, customs, traditions, and attitudes of people in distant locales. The youngster’s perspective may widen as a consequence.
For example, by journeying to another, very different place, a young person may obtain an opportunity to witness a different approach to resolving problems. A child accustomed to seeing everyone clothed in light, cotton garments in a tropical climates will certainly understand viscerally why some people wear heavy boots and coats if the child ventures into an Arctic environment. Without the ability to feel the physical sensation of icy cold weather, the full experience of life on the tundra might escape attention.
Another benefit of foreign travel involves the development of language skills. Some parents choose to send their offspring to international private schools precisely in order to expose them to intensive academic work in another language. For example, some studies have shown that babies and very young children who hear foreign languages at an early stage in life develop the ability to pronounce the non-native words much better as students. The exposure to the nuances of native speakers makes an enduring impression, apparently.
Many children who journey abroad develop an “ear” that enables them to catch speech and pronunciation differences, at least with respect to languages that they hear during an early stage in life. Language instructors often recommend that pupils begin learning a foreign language in elementary school for this reason. International travel may allow a young child to detect the varying tones of different languages, and ultimately become a better linguist.
One other possible benefit of foreign travel relates to the development of intellectual curiosity. Children who reside in a single location until adulthood may grow so familiar with the local culture that they consider their own culture’s solutions automatically, and discount the methods that other cultures discovered to address challenges. They enjoy the advantage of strong roots, but may lack flexibility. Although few academic studies address this issue, the phenomenon finds expression in many literary works. In former generations, people sometimes referred to poorly traveled individuals as “provincial,” i.e. reflecting the narrow intellectual impact of experiencing only a single, limited locale or province.
By exposing pupils extensively to cultural influences, such as museums, art galleries, and historic landmarks, adults can offer youngsters a broader intellectual perspective. Children who travel benefit by visiting these places. They may eventually form a more sophisticated perspective, at least in the sense that they gain a more comprehensive appreciation for the impact of other cultures on human society.
Whether you choose to send your children to a distant academic institution, or you prefer to journey overseas with them, it benefits youngsters to experience some international travel, if possible. By observing people in distant locations, young people may gain a broader appreciation and understanding of foreign cultures, languages and ideas, thereby enriching their own lives.