In recent years it has become easier to travel abroad and more and more families are taking their children on international vacations. It is also becoming popular for mothers and children to participate in short-term study abroad programs together.
Of course, travelling to a foreign country, where Japanese is not understood, with your child can also be stressful. However, the experiences your child has abroad will last with him/her forever. In this article, we will cover the benefits children gain from travelling abroad.
They can experience racial and cultural difference
For children who are used to hearing only Japanese on a daily basis and interacting only with Japanese friends and families, everything they experience abroad will be totally new to them. Everything from the city layout, the way the people look, the language and even the food and manners are different than what they are used to. In some countries, the cleanliness of the water and public toilets will also surprise them.
However, after spending a few days in the new environment, children will get used to it. They will begin to understand that there are a lot of different countries and cultures in the world which will make them more aware of the global society around them.
They can learn how to communicate in a different language
When abroad, the signs and ads are written in a different language so children cannot read them. Even buying one banana is difficult because the staff at the stores do not understand Japanese and you do not understand their language. Children easily adapt to their surroundings so in this new environment they quickly learn how to handle daily situations on their own. They learn to use their fingers to point and their body language to communicate and capture the hearts and understanding of the local people. This type of experience will give them confidence in the future.
It encourages them to show an interest in foreign languages
Have you ever experienced getting used to foreign language just as you are about to leave the country and go home? Within just a few days, our ears begin to get used to different sounds and we can communicate with some simple, common words. For children, who want to learn as much as they can about what is happening around them, the longer they are in the new environment the more greetings and phrases they will pick up. When they try using the words and phrases they learned and the local people understand them, children feel a sense of accomplishment. This will make them feel more motivated to continue to learn foreign languages.
They can recognize the convenience and richness of Japanese society
We often see foreigners on Japanese TV stating how clean the streets and cities are. Public toilets are often kept clean and are sometimes even heated and there is little garbage on the streets. However, this is not the same if you go abroad. It is sometimes usual to see garbage and dog poo on the streets and some countries even charge to use public toilets. Also, in countries where there is a big gap between the rich and poor, you often see homeless people (including children) on the streets.
By learning that life in Japan is not the same as in other countries and experiencing what it is like to live in other countries, children better understand the convenience of Japanese society.
Taking your children on a trip abroad is a big adventure for parents. There are the expenses, the flight, the food and health to worry about. However, there are a lot of benefits for children to gain when they have the opportunity to travel abroad. Their experiences will last with them throughout their lifetime and are not something that they can buy as an adult. One way to take advantage of their experiences abroad and continue their learning is to attend early learning classes with your child. Let’s work hard to find the opportunities to expand our children’s potential but through learning and travel.