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Use Your Youthful Years To Experience Cross Cultural Adventures And To Broaden Your World View

May 17th, 2013 | No Comments

A frequently heard saying is: “It is such a shame to waste youth on the young”. I believe Oscar Wilde’s quote said it even more succinctly: “Youth is wasted on the young.” The years in which we have the most inquisitiveness, the most physical energy, and the sharpest minds are often the years with the least purpose. As the saying goes, “I have been there, and done that”. Childhood is great and a child should be allowed to have one. But, when we reach our late teen years and approach college age, it is time to start considering what one will do with the rest of his or her life.

I do not mean that a person at that age should know where they are going to be ten to twenty years down the road. The nature of our rapidly changing world precludes that happening to most of us. Rarely some individuals will plan out their life’s direction for decades and actually follow the plan. For most this is unrealistic.

When I was 19 I spent a summer living with a friend in Mexico between my Freshman and Sophomore years in college. After I returned, I determined that I wanted to learn as many foreign languages as possible. I researched the top five languages spoken by the majority of the world’s populations and determined that those would be a good place to start. As it turned out, in the following three years, I majored in Spanish, studied two years of French and German, and took some basic linguistic courses. As a part of my graduate studies, I became somewhat acquainted with several other languages and am still fascinated by the thrill of beginning study on a new one.

It is so much easier to learn another language and become familiar with another cultural tradition when you are totally immersed in it. With the international interconnectedness today, it is imperative to know more about other countries if one is to be fully educated.

Our children and grandchildren have the opportunity to spend semesters abroad with relative ease. It is this group that I want to specifically encourage. The problem is that the very group that needs this encouragement the most are probably not reading this article. If you are in this group and are now reading this, you are already in an exceptional group.

So, I say to the parents and grandparents of our future leaders who are reading this article: encourage your children and grandchildren to avail themselves of the widespread opportunities to awaken their international inquisitiveness by traveling and studying abroad. The resultant broadening of their world view will be of benefit not only to them in their careers and life, but will help develop an international understanding that can be perpetuated through their passing on the same interest to their children. The future of our country and its cultural traditions may depend on them.


Dr. Lamar Ross, a cultural anthropologist by training, has a special interest in training individuals for expatriate living and providing information on unique travel destinations. He is an author, educator, photographer, internet entrepreneur, and international traveler. He has lived in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and India and has traveled extensively in 29 different countries.

He presently splits his time between the U.S. and the Republic of Panama. He speaks both English and Spanish fluently and has a basic ability in several other languages. For more information on expatriate living, check out the blog Expatriate Traveler Notes. Check out also his Everything Travel Blog.

Article Source: Use Your Youthful Years To Experience Cross Cultural Adventures And To Broaden Your World View

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