This was originally published in the JFE Blog and Newsletter.
Jaunty.org is an organization which combines social skills training with a gym-like environment.
Hola! Shalom! Hello! After traveling myself and speaking with other travelers, these are some of the top ways I have seen travel help people’s social skills.
1. Traveling forces you to talk to new people
When you travel you are forced to make small talk and get to know new people. As you navigate your way through a new city or country, you will likely need to ask for directions or help with something at some point. It’s always interesting to see how people react.
Some cultures may be more reserved and some may be very happy to help, and even invite you over for dinner, hello Italy!
This can be a great way to meet new friends and learn about different cultures. You can take the things you like in their communication style and make it your own.
These are the kinds of life experiences that challenge your preconceived notions about people and influence you to be more inviting and open.
2. Travel helps you see different aspects of communication
In some cultures, such as those in Latin America and Israel, people are very assertive and will often speak loudly – gesturing with their hands.
This can be intimidating for some people, but it is important to remember that this is just their way of communicating. They are not being rude.
If you are respectful and try to communicate back in a similar way, you will likely have a great time getting to know them. You may even learn to be more assertive and come home as a much bolder version of yourself.
You may need to learn how to be more patient when communicating with someone who does not speak your language. You might also be reminded how to be more playful or serious in conversions. Travel can help you learn how to adapt your communication style to different situations, which is a valuable skill to have.
3. Traveling helps you learn how to read body language and nonverbal cues.
Since language may be a barrier when you are in a new place, you will need to be able to read body language and nonverbal cues in order to communicate effectively.
This forces you to watch facial expressions and body movements a little bit more which we innately are very good at reading. This will re-awaken your attention to body language and vocal tonality.
4. Travel helps you learn how to deal with difficult emotions, such as homesickness, anxiety, jadedness, and depression.
When you travel, you may find yourself in situations that are emotionally challenging. This can be a great opportunity to learn how to deal with difficult emotions or reframe and overcome feelings like jadedness.
Travel can help you learn how to be more resilient and adaptable to new and challenging situations. You will reflect on relationships that are important to you – or even toxic to you. The world starts to feel bigger which gives you a sense of abundance and options socially.
Traveling can also create a stronger sense of internal status and outcome independence which can help with any inhibiting attachment behaviors.
5. Traveling helps your social skills by teaching you how to be a better listener.
Since you will be talking to a lot of new people, you will need to learn how to be a better listener. This will help you understand what people are saying and build rapport.
You will need to be an active listener and pay attention to their every word. Bringing this back home can be very intoxicating to people in a fast paced world.