Black Kids Abroad: The Mental Health Benefits of African Americans Traveling Young

become solipsistic as they grow into their consciousness and power. Sheltering them from the actual world might lead them to assume that the world they know is the only one that exists, except in fairy tales.

2. Get them to eat weird stuff. There’s nothing like hunger in a foreign land to make us appreciate what we have before us, and food is one of the most interesting and accessible ways to get to know a culture from the inside. Won’t eat fish at home, but will eat fish tacos on a beach in Mexico? Makes perfect sense.

3. Expose their brains to diverse languages. Even if your kids don’t try to speak the language of the country you’re visiting, exposure to another language will help their brains develop English skills more rapidly. And a recent study shows that even limited exposure to a second language in infancy results in greater retention of phonological structure later.

4. Build their confidence and independence. It never fails. Once your kid sees someone else go down the big slide or take the elevator alone, suddenly he or she is asking for the room key and permission to venture out alone.

If you’re staying put for a while, kids can become fully integrated into new communities and adopt new habits in a very short time. Even after you return home, those memories linger and

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