According to a study conducted by Professor William W. Maddux from the INSEAD, people who travel benefit from a greater number of employment opportunities. Several different factors come into the equation, particularly the fact that travel develops self-esteem or that intercultural relations enhance creativity and problem-solving.
Travel and career opportunities would appear to be linked. At least, that’s what’s suggested by a survey* published last December. For instance, an MBA student who has had intercultural experiences would tend to be more open-minded and proactive, which would help them negotiate the recruitment process more easily and, most importantly, receive more offers of employment.
And the correlation between travel and career prospects doesn’t stop there, as travel also fosters:
> Good self-esteem
Travelling would appear to engender greater awareness of one’s values and priorities, as you’re obliged to differentiate between your own culture, those encountered and your personal identity. Businesses are keen on employees with a capacity for such awareness.
> Trust in others
The more you travel, the greater tendency you’ll have to trust someone you don’t know, as you’ll be more familiar with cultural differences. Employers value staff who can develop trusting relationships spanning virtual and international borders.
> Creativity and problem-solving
Intercultural experiences constitute a laboratory for the improvement of creativity and problem-solving. In a new environment, tasks are often carried out differently, and being capable of observing new approaches other than those with which we’re familiar leads us to look at things from different angles and therefore allows us to resolve problems more creatively.
But all this is of course only possible if we actually leave our hotel rooms (or student accommodation) and come face to face with the culture of the country we’re in. Your “cultural intelligence” will only develop if you embrace a wide variety of experiences. Simply clocking up the miles won’t suffice. It’s vital to be able to immerse yourself in new places and experiences and to accept that there are things we can learn from others. As Augustin d’Hippone said: “The world is a book and those who don’t travel stay on the same page.”
*W. Maddux, E. Bivolaur, A. Hafenbrqack, C. Tadmor, & A. Galinsky. Expanding Opportunities by Opening Your Mind: Multicultural Engagement Predicts Job Market Success Through Longitudinal Increases in Integrative Complexity, Social Psychological and Personality Science, December 2013.