The Importance of Cultural Exchange

With astounding advancements in technology within these past few decades, now with a click of a button we can send a message instantly and reach a completely different part of the world. Virtual connection is global. However, without travelling, a true sense of global awareness and the benefits that come from cultural exchange are lost.

These are some key reasons on why cultural exchange is important.

  • A Shift in Perspective. While volunteering abroad you are exposed to quite a few experiences you likely wouldn’t have without travelling to foreign countries. Through the opportunity to explore other ways of living, the way you look at things will likely begin to alter. 

  • Expanding World Knowledge. As you work in various new unfamiliar environments, you constantly gain knowledge on the world around you first hand. Without leaving the safety of your own home, you wouldn’t have any idea how different cultures, religions, or beliefs impact their society. Anyone who has traveled will vouch for the fact that gaining personal experiences within a new country is more valuable than reading any article. Discover it for yourself!

  • Self-Awareness. It’s well known that you tend to recognize yourself, your values, and your own beliefs after gaining a better understanding of different possible ways to go about living. Your self awareness grows, because you are exposed to new experiences and you have the opportunity to learn what radiates within yourself.

  • Meet New People. Meeting new people along your journey abroad is inevitable. You have the chance to create connections with people, no matter how big or small the interaction is. A genuine smile with eye contact can make someone’s day, and the ability to share experiences, adventures, and values can make someone’s life (quite possibly even your own). 

  • Explore Diversity. By understanding and experiencing a different way of living to your own, you can appreciate the beauty of diversity and see value in how other people around the world live. You can accept the differences and similarities between cultures, and appreciate the customs and traditions for what they are.

Altering your view of the world isn’t something you learn to do, per say. Although, through volunteering abroad, chances are your experiences will give you a more profound insight and meaning into this crazy idea of life humans are faced with, and maybe you even learn how to make the most of it. 

“Simple exchanges can break down walls between us, for when people come together and speak to one another and share a common experience, then their common humanity is revealed.”                     

        —  Former United States President, Barack Obama