As a TCK (third culture kid), aka someone who grew up overseas, it’s hard to touch on every way traveling and experiencing a culture other than your own is incredibly valuable – but I’ll start with the tip of the iceberg. Before you jump back into your last haul of academics, take a moment to travel. Here are 6 reasons to explore a world that’s waiting for you!

1. You’ll venture out of your comfort zone – Doing things you’ve never done makes you grow as a person. If you limit yourself to routine and exist in the same environment, you cut yourself off from the ability to transform. Going to a country where you don’t know the language or the customs is uncomfortable – but in the wise words of Calvin’s father (and my own from time to time) from Calvin and Hobbes, “It builds character.”

2. You’re in a constant state of learning Education is important, but it doesn’t have to happen inside a classroom. When I was overseas, my days outside of school were spent learning about my new home. When they could, my parents would take me to monuments, temples, museums and local hotspots to further understand the history and current state of the country we moved to.

3. You’ll gain a new sense of independence – At this point you may be living on your own, paying your own bills and trying to cook for yourself (microwaving is still cooking, right?) But traveling alone or with a friend is a different story, navigating a new country is easier read in a Lonely Planet than done. 

4. You have the time – You’re young, smart, adventurous, curious and at a natural pause point in your life. Some people graduate and fling themselves straight into the working world, some immediately begin applying to grad school. Take the time sans papers and studying to discover what lies beyond the walls of your campus library – it’s time to put that wanderlust to work. 

5. You’ll have a new experience under your belt – Speaking of grad school, the best schools want students who have diverse backgrounds. Now you have an experience that a classroom couldn’t provide you and that’s valuable to a program that doesn’t require the GRE or offers an online MBA GMAT Waiver for example. 

6. You’ll come home with a new world view – One of the most important things I’ve learned from living overseas is that the people that exist beyond your bubble are real and living their truth. Understanding that can transform you into being more open minded and accepting of others who are different than yourself. 

So go out! Learn things, be an outsider, immerse yourself in something foreign, try to connect with a stranger who speaks a different language! Open your eyes to a world outside of your own and learn what it means to be a global citizen. Bon voyage!


  • Allegra Balmadier works at 2U, Inc., focusing on digital outreach of 2U’s university partner programs in the tech, nursing and public health verticals. If she's not writing you can find her at a kickboxing class or looking at cat adoption sites.