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I am preparing for quite a bit of international travel in the next 18 months. I’ll be going to Paris for eight or nine trips every other month as part of my Executive Master in Change program through INSEAD.

With that, I was curious, what does international travel do for the brain? And so I found that there are a number of studies that show that your cognitive flexibility increases when you have international experiences. People who live internationally or have had those experiences have much more creativity. And then another interesting piece was that cognitive function improves after you’ve had international travel as well.

I thought those are all great things that I can look forward to as a result of my travels. And then I wondered about the people that either don’t want to travel internationally — or can’t travel internationally, for whatever reason.

How to Create Your Own International Experiences Without Traveling

If you are in that category, consider how you can manufacture your own international experiences. One of the fastest ways to do this is to think about friends or colleagues who have international backgrounds. Then, set up some time to either sit down with them face to face, or hop on a Zoom call with them, and ask them some questions.

For example, if you’re an American, you might ask, “What do you notice as the biggest differences between how Americans think and how people from your home country think?” And, “How have you navigated those differences?” Or, “What do you wish people knew about your home country?”

Having a curious conversation about all of this could help with the cognitive flexibility, cognitive functioning, and creativity that comes from having international experiences.

So have fun encouraging your brain to think internationally, this very day!

If you’d like to learn more brain-friendly concepts to help drive meaningful conversations with others to “change minds, for good,” explore The Academies’ neuroscience-based coaching programs. We value connection and conversation and would be happy to answer any questions, so contact us or schedule a call to explore your curiosities!