Kids can learn about the history and customs of foreign countries in school or from the media, but there are more effective ways to enrich their cultural awareness. According to David Livermore, President of the Cultural Intelligence Center, an East Lansing, Michigan-based organization that offers cultural intelligence (CQ) training, there is no substitute for traveling to an overseas destination to develop a true understanding and appreciation for its culture. “When international experience is combined with active engagement…and thoughtful reflection…, it’s the most powerful way to improve CQ,” Livermore wrote in a blog post.
Livermore, who has written several books and speaks frequently about CQ, has been traveling internationally with his own kids ever since they were babies. His oldest daughter recently spent her 16th birthday on her own in Thailand. “She built the love and confidence for travel based upon going with us,” he said.
In addition to being fun, international travel can help children grow into open-minded adults who are better prepared to enter into a globalized job market. “As children become more culturally intelligent, they’ll have an increased ability to interact effectively and respectively with their peers today and in the decades ahead,” Livermore said. “Higher cultural intelligence leads to higher earning power, increased creativity and innovation, and an overall improved sense of well-being.”
Deciding on an international destination can be confusing, but Europe is often the first region many parents consider. Its countries offer an array of cultural experiences without the inducing the culture shock that might occur somewhere farther away. In a recent webisode, Royal Caribbean talks about the ability to expose kids to different cultures and food and explore museums on a Royal Caribbean European cruise.
Families with limited vacation time who want to see a lot in a brief period of time may like the convenience of a cruise, where they can choose to either explore port destinations independently or sign up for organized day tours. Guests can choose to visit the Eastern or Western Mediterranean, or Northern Europe, visiting iconic cities such as Athens and Barcelona, and world-renowned monuments like Stonehenge. Plus, by booking a Europe Family Vacation Package between now and September 30th, guests receive a 50% reduced deposit and, after reserving two adult shore excursions, kids tour for free.
Just don’t forget to take a lot of photos!