Does travel broaden the mind? In what sense? Explain.

More and more people nowadays travel and visit various places in the world. Travelling has become easier because of a variety of different means of transport and because tourism has become a powerful business. I strongly believe that travel can broaden the mind although in my opinion, in some cases it does not.

If you have enough money or you are not afraid of hitch-hiking and adventure, you can visit even the most remote places on earth. Various means of transport, such as planes, express trains and transatlantic ships let us reach the places our grandfathers never dreamt about like China, Australia or Venezuela. You cannot compare reading about them or even watching geographical documentaries on television to the first-hand experience. After you have had an opportunity to see the Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon or the hustle and bustle of Japanese metropolises, nothing will be the same.

Visiting foreign places enables or even forces you to practise your foreign languages. Nobody will understand you if you attempt to speak Polish in Denmark or Switzerland. A few weeks abroad when you are left to your own devices and cannot count on your compatriots’ help equals to a year of a regular language course in your hometown.

Apart from languages, you can also learn something that your French or German teacher might not have told you about during the school year – namely, you can become familiar with different cultures and traditions. You may read hundreds of coursebook texts about fish and chip shops but it is only the foreign country where you can taste local dishes. Even if you live in Warsaw, you will not comprehend what multiculturalism is all about unless you go to London or Paris. I also believe that travelling can help you combat narrow-mindedness, which can often lead to racial prejudice and violence. Chauvinism and nationalism usually originates from ignorance of different cultures and traditions – once you meet foreigners and make friends with them, observe their holidays and everyday life, you will notice that they are people like your next-door neighbours.

However, there are also some arguments against the idea that travel broadens the mind. Some people claim that you can really get to know foreign countries only by living and working in them. Visiting a country for a couple of weeks and enjoying your free time is not the same as getting up early every morning to catch the bus to work, going to the bank or to the doctor, having your car serviced, etc. People always treat you in a different way when you come only for a flying visit.

Besides, a lot of tourists who go abroad do not really care where they are. They stay in hotels all day long or flock together to the local McDonald’s to behave exactly in the same way as they do when they are at home. They do not attempt to speak the language, relying on their tour operator; they do not do any sightseeing – just lie on the beach and relax. Such holiday experiences can hardly broaden your mind.

All in all, travelling is no longer a luxury and nowadays more and more people can afford it. It enables them to observe and appreciate other cultures and to understand that theirs is not the only way of life. I sincerely hope that most of them prefer to return from their holidays not only with a lovely tan but also with some valuable reflections regarding different nations and traditions.


Pytanie, które może zadać egzaminator

Have you ever had an opportunity to learn something new when travelling?

I have never travelled abroad because I am a student and for the time being I find it too expensive to go overseas. However, when I travel within Poland, I try to keep my eyes open. I admire different landscapes. I taste local dishes and try to cook them at home when I come back. I also listen to people talking and enjoy getting to know different dialects, especially of the Silesia region or in the Tatra Mountains. I definitely think that you do not have to travel abroad to learn something new and it can be very informative as well.

  • compatriot – rodak
  • prejudice – uprzedzenie, uprzedzać się (do czegoś)
  • chauvinism – szowinizm
  • all in all – ogólnie rzecz biorąc, w sumie, ostatecznie
  • informative – pouczający
  • comprehend – pojmować, rozumieć, zrozumieć