Seeking a new adventure, experiencing new cultures, seeing new things… there are lots of reasons why people choose to travel but have you ever thought about how the experiences and skills you develop while travelling around the world will benefit your future career and employability?
One of my favourite quotes about travelling says that “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”. For me, this couldn’t be more true! We live in a consumer society and it can be very easy to spend your money keeping up with the latest trends and technologies but this can become expensive as soon as the next big thing is released. One of the greatest investments you can make in yourself is to broaden your horizons and explore the world around you. After spending the last couple of years staying at home, I’m sure it won’t be long before people regain their confidence and start seeking out opportunities for adventure again.
Some of my fondest memories relate to travel and the skills developed through these experiences have proved to be invaluable in other aspects of my life. I have been very fortunate to have been encouraged and supported by my family to explore the world around me and this led to my decision to take a gap year volunteering in Thailand with Project Trust. As I approached the end of my time at school and being very undecided about the next steps in my career, a gap year felt like the perfect opportunity to develop my skills further while also gaining some incredible life experience.
Travelling, no matter whether it’s for a week, a month or a year, gives you the chance to build up your confidence and self-belief in a number of key skills that future employers value:
Communication - Taking the time to learn the local lingo makes communication so much easier, especially if you want to try some delicious local delicacies! Communication is one of the most transferable skills and it takes a great deal of skill to do this effectively with people who speak another language as you need to take more care to avoid being misunderstood or causing any offence based on cultural differences.
Organisation - Before you even get to your destination, you have no doubt been flexing your organisational skills but this is another skill you use constantly throughout your travel experience. From planning your daily itinerary, managing your time and making the most of your available budget - organisation can play a key role in keeping you safe!
Adaptability - Let’s face it, unfortunately travelling isn’t always smooth sailing and despite spending a great deal of time planning every little detail of a trip, there is always the chance that something can go wrong. Dealing with the stress of transport cancellations or disappointing accommodation bookings encourages you to go become more adaptable. There’s no point letting small issues or disappointments spoil your entire trip, so it’s all about being resilient, dealing with it and moving on.
Empathy - Exploring the world around you can open up your eyes to different cultures, ways of life and thinking. While travelling you will come into contact with people from various backgrounds, including those less fortunate than yourself. Immersing yourself in the local community can help you to build deeper connections and further your understanding of the culture - a great skill for the future when joining a new workplace.
The list of skills you develop while travelling doesn’t end there but going on a trip does not guarantee that you will develop these skills - you have to be willing and open to come out of your comfort zone! As with anything, the more effort you put into it, the more you are likely to get out. Travelling is an incredible and enjoyable way to enrich your transferable skills for whichever career pathway you choose in future.