Your Opened Heart And Eyes Can Inspire Others To Travel

 In Cultural Immersion

ESL abroad was a surprising experience of another culture.  You learned that despite thinking you knew all about the US and Americans from what you’d heard and read your whole life, you were totally unprepared for the reality.  That surprise awaits all travelers to other lands.  Use your ESL experience abroad to inspire friends, family, and fellow students to travel to the US and elsewhere.  They’ll broaden their minds and experiences of the world.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lau Tzu

People often don’t travel because of fear.  They’ve been told a country is dangerous, or that the local people are unfriendly to visitors from… fill in the blank.  These blanket statements don’t take into account individual people.  Yes, you should always be aware of your safety, wherever you travel, but fear will keep you 5 feet from your front door, and rob you of the rich, life changing experience that travel affords.  As for how EVERYONE thinks?  All you have to do is ask a question at your own dinner table to see that individual people have their own minds.

There are no foreign lands.  It is the traveler only who is foreign.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Help people understand how immersion in the US culture allowed you to become more interested to learn what you didn’t know about America.  How Americans found you exotic, and were eager to ask questions about your culture.  Travel is an opportunity to learn AND to teach.

A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.

Moslih Eddin Saadi

Standing back and observing let you hold your assumptions, and bias’ in check.  They weren’t able to dictate your understanding.

You learned to practice deep listening wherever you went.  Tell others how it may have been a challenge having conversations with fellow students in the US since you were still learning and perfecting your English language skills, but you asked for explanations of words and phrases you didn’t know.  You were striving to understand.  Striving to understand others, really listening to what they say, and making connections are the way you truly experienced the American culture.

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.

Henry Miller

Tell how travel changed you.  How it changed the way you think about yourself and the world.  Share how study abroad opened you up to possibilities you didn’t know existed in your life and career.  Travel allows you to see things from a fresh perspective.  Often the biggest beneficiary of this new perspective is you.

Don’t follow where the path may lead.  Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I hope your time in the US was filled with spontaneous moments.  Sometimes accidents and mistakes are the doorways to authentic experience.  Getting behind the pre-packaged cultural experience most countries offer travelers—including the US—is where you’ll find the real people, and the heart of their culture.

Inspire others to travel by sharing your experience as a study abroad student to the US.  Talk about travel with friends, family, other students, and your fellow countrymen.  Inspire people with your passionate curiosity about the world and it’s citizens.

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