O Level English Editorial
Essay: Travelling broadens the mind. Do you agree?
There are just a plethora of benefits to travelling. Be it meeting new people, trying new cuisines, experiencing new cultures, and seeing new sights – travelling provides experiences and perspectives that eliminate bigotry, prejudice, and narrow-mindedness. These are negative values that Mark Twain believes many people sorely need. Even though some critics may argue that continuous travel may reduce the impact of this learning, for the majority, the greatest advantage that travel has is that it can expand one’s knowledge about the world.
Through good and bad experiences gained while travelling, the minds grow and expand. The perspective that one gains when experiencing what is like in a foreign country is far more significant that purely seeing it through books and on screens. Leaving one’s bubble and seeing a vastly different way of life, a different set of rules, and a different definition of happiness – these are all enriching experiences that one gains when travelling.
Looking at different cultures enable one to take a step back and reflect on one’s own culture. It also enables one to have a greater appreciation for diversity. Exposure to a new set of culture will allow one to understand that there is no one right practice and that greater tolerance of differences is necessary in today’s increasingly interconnected and multi-ethnic world. For instance, understanding the traffic situation in India will enable Singaporeans to be tolerant towards foreigners who may not adhere to local traffic regulations. Therefore, instead of reprimanding and gossiping about foreigners, one can enlarge his or her perspective, taking into account the fact that humans are transient beings who can change and adapt.
Going abroad also exposes one to new languages. Besides the fact that learning a new language enhances communication, it also reinforces an appreciation of cultural diversity. For instance, the fifteen different words for smiling in Thai emphasises the need for optimism in Thailand. As such, to the Thais, staying positive and smiling is often a much more effective way to deal with their emotions than getting caught up in anger. This further compels one to reflect on and question our current practices. Should an individual not have this new knowledge on the different interpretations of language, one would continue in his or her bigotry towards contrarian views in the long run.
Yet, some critics may argue that travelling back to the same country continuously would mean that one remains in the same isolated bubble. For instance, one may travel to the other end of the earth just to visit the nation’s Chinatown, Korea Town, American village, and so forth. Even though this may not be the case, it only occurs to the minority and most travellers do in fact get out of their comfort zones and embrace new knowledge and experiences.
Therefore, for the majority, travelling does indeed expand one’s horizons to have a greater appreciation of the world. Individuals should strive to achieve what Mark Twain purports to “throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, and catch the trade winds in one’s sails.” One should definitely explore, dream, and discover the world around them.
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