By Aoife Inman
In the UK we often equate life experience, especially amongst younger generations, with the number of stamps in your passport. That is to say travel is regarded as an enriching life experience that will make your C.V. stand out amongst the other thousand applicants. Travel is not simply a pursuit of leisure but also "character-building", "defining" and potentially "career-boosting".
I can agree that for most of us at university, we would collectively agree that we have all caught the "travel bug". Most of the people I know here at university experience that same itch to get in a plane, train, bus or car and escape the hectic stress of deadlines and seminars that usually surrounds us. But I don't think, as UK students, we can blame our addiction to international travel simply on a stressful life. Yes I have a lot of things to juggle and it's a fine balancing act managing my part-time job, my degree and my social life to a perfect level. But really I think we are the first generation in a truly open world, where we can get anywhere, see anything and experience every culture under the sun, at the click of a button, the purchase of a ticket.
Many people I met whilst working in China were surprised at the number of countries I'd travelled to, which came as a surprise. Compared to friends and family I consider myself vastly under-travelled. I've yet to even set foot across the pond in the U.S.A and Canada, let alone South America and even within Europe my checklist of destinations is far from complete. But more eye opening for me, I was also met by astonishment at how little geographical traversing I had done within my own borders. This was something I had not really considered before and as I left Beijing I felt an overwhelming appreciation not just for the rich culture of China but also for the diverse localities within the UK. How much of my own country had I really seen and experienced? To those from a place as vast and varied as China, Britain was really so small in comparison and so to have spent 20 years there and not seen every nook and cranny of it was quite surprising.
I spent a while engaged in a conversation with a Chinese colleague over the difference in building style, in architecture from the Highlands of Scotland to the Cornish coast. Now for most people this sounds dreary and dull, and I guess I am biased as a student of history that I find anything remotely historical fascinating. However it was not the geological variety of stone within British cities I found interesting, which even I can agree is hardly a riveting subject. What was curious was that it was something I had never even considered, and yet here was someone intrigued by something I had simply taken for granted.
"Yes." I agreed with her, "It is remarkable to find so much diversity in a country of such modest borders", making a mental note to appreciate these small but wonderful characteristics of my home more often. We continued to discuss the reasoning behind our use of golden Cotswold stone and the white render of the scattered coastal cottages of the Atlantic, yet I was left embarrassed that I could not provide a concrete answer to her question. In China, as well as a wealth of new culture that fascinated me, I discovered that there were parts of the UK's culture, history, the very fabric of my identity that were so different, so unique from China that I also gained a new found interest in my own heritage.
In this respect, travelling enables you with two things. Firstly you develop an overwhelming fascination with new cultures, understanding customs, experiencing cuisines and absorbing the sights and smells of every new city. For many employers this adaptability to new locations is seen as a tremendous asset to your personal résumé. But alongside increased employability, through international, cross-cultural conversations, you develop an interest in your own history, culture, and customs. You return to your home filled with an understanding of other people's fascination with it and imbued with your own sense of intrigue at its peculiarities.
1. equate: 使等同；stamp: 图章，印戳。
2. enriching: 使人充实的，使有价值的；C.V.: <拉丁>简历（curriculum vitae）；applicant: 申请人。
3. pursuit: 追求；potentially: 潜在的；career-boosting: 利于职业发展的，boost意为“推动，促进”。
4. collectively: 全体地，共同地；travel bug: <口>旅游癖，旅游瘾。
5. itch: 欲望，渴望；hectic: 忙碌的；seminar: 研讨会。
6. addiction: 上瘾，沉溺。
7. juggle: 尽力对付，力图使平衡。
8. vastly: 极大地；under-travelled: 旅行少的，不常旅行的。
9. 我甚至还没有去过大西洋彼岸和加拿大，更不要说南美了，而且就算是欧洲我也还有很多地方没有去过。across the pond: 在大西洋彼岸；checklist: 清单。
10. 但更让我吃惊的是，我竟然连自己的国家都没去过几个地方。eye opening: 令人惊奇的；astonishment: 震惊；traversing: 穿越。
11. overwhelming: 巨大的，势不可挡的；locality: 地点，地区。
12. nook and cranny: 角角落落。
13. architecture: 建筑式样；Highlands of Scotland: 苏格兰高地，位于欧洲北部大不列颠岛西北部，由古老、分裂的高原组成，许多人将其称为欧洲风景最优美的地区；Cornish coast: 康沃尔海岸。康沃尔是英国英格兰西南端的郡，海岸线美丽曲折，是著名景点之一。
14. dreary: 沉闷的，枯燥的；biased: 有偏见的，片面的；remotely: 遥远地；fascinating: 迷人的。
15. geological: 地质学的；riveting: 吸引人的。
16. intrigue: 使感兴趣，使好奇；take for granted: 认为理所当然。
17. remarkable: 非凡的，引人注目的；modest: 不太大的；make a mental note: 牢记，铭记。
18. Cotswold stone: 科茨沃尔德石，矿石的一种，因其盛产地在英国科茨沃尔德而得名；render: 抹墙的灰泥；scattered: 散落的；cottage: （乡村、农场的）小屋，村舍；concrete: 具体的，确切的。
19. 我被丰富的中国文化深深吸引，与之相比，我发现英国的一些文化、历史和我的个人属性是如此迥然不同，以至于我对自己的文化传统也产生了新的兴趣。fabric: 结构，构造；heritage: 遗产（指国家或社会长期形成的历史、传统和特色）。
20. in this respect: 从这方面来说；overwhelming: 压倒性的，势不可挡的；cuisine: 烹饪；absorb: 吸引，全神贯注。
21. tremendous: 极好的，了不起的；asset: 有价值的人或物。
22. employability: 就业能力，受聘价值。
23. imbue: 灌输，深深影响；peculiarity: 独特性；intrigue: 激起兴趣；peculiarity: 特性，特质。
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