This week my daughter arrived home from a six month stint backpacking through Asia. This wasn’t her original plan – she had intended to travel over her summer break and go back to University to continue with postgrad studies this year. She just got slightly waylaid along the way.
What has been interesting for me as we have discussed her travel experiences, is to hear how what she has seen and the people she has met have further developed her view of the world and her values. And it’s been useful for me to think about the role that travelling plays in our career planning (and we are a nation of travellers!).
While I absolutely believe finding a career direction or work that gives us real satisfaction and enjoyment is pretty crucial in leading a ‘happy’ life, it is also fundamentally important to open ourselves up to what is out there in the world and that life experiences, like travelling, help us to grow and develop our potential as a person (regardless of our age!).
My daughter has met people working and studying in a very wide range of fields, she has thought more about where she wants to target her work, she has made useful contacts and learned of opportunities in other countries. She is now thinking about her future from a wider perspective – and I think that is a truly great thing.
This morning I watched an item on line about a young (just 21 years old) Kiwi couple who are studying and building a very successful business overseas, based on their beliefs about how powerful education is in our lives, and wanting to help others to grasp opportunities and create exciting futures for themselves.
While the two things might seem unrelated, in my mind both reinforce the exciting breadth of opportunities that are out there for this next generation, and the importance of encouraging our young people to broaden their perspective, and develop the confidence to grasp the opportunities that come their way.
From a career planning perspective this could be about formal exchange or gap year programmes; it could be studying overseas as part of a University exchange programme (which incidentally, looks great on a CV) or it could be completing that first qualification and heading overseas with it. The ability to take a global perspective, to work and live with an awareness of how people live and do business around the world, fully prepares our young people to make big contributions and to live more meaningful lives!