With 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created and exchanged every day on the Internet, within and across borders, we are already in this future Dawkins spoke of.
Popular British Biologist, Richard Dawkins among other concepts introduced and popularized the idea of “memes” in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. In the text, he postulated that all cultures around the world developed a range of ideas (memes) that are communicated even without express use of language.
Examples of these kinds of ideas include but are not limited to; fashion, catchphrases, humor patterns, cultural philosophy and even architecture. He went on to argue that in a globalized future, global memes would start to emerge as cultural exchanges hit new heights.
With 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created and exchanged every day on the Internet, within and across borders, we are already in this future Dawkins spoke of. It is for this reason that we can watch Hollywood films and appreciate the humour in it even if the situation is unlikely or not funny in our local context.
However, access through movies, art, books and other mediums are limited in many ways compared to physical travel. Travelling immerses young minds into a culture by allowing them interact with the people and environment. This gives a whole new dimension to understanding you cannot get from watching a movie or reading a book because these mediums are often filled with stereotypes and are not dynamic. As Robin Williams character in the Oscar Award winning film Good Will Hunting explained, “you think you have the faintest idea what it means to be an orphan because you read Oliver Twist?”
By travelling, children are positioned to reflect on their own culture as they contemplate new perspectives to gain key insights and a richer understanding of the larger world. Beyond the mind expansion which will serve them well in communication when working in multicultural environments, the process of travelling serves to open their minds and boost their confidence by training them to cope and adapt to new social environments.
Armed with knowledge of the world outside their locality, children are more likely to grow in confidence and think more creatively as their minds are now open to other modes of thinking and possibilities. This is why at Lifeforte International School, we ensure that our students are presented with the opportunity of travelling outside Nigeria at least once a year to explore foreign cultures. We believe that more than traditional learning, and even extracurricular activity, it is important to prepare children to be socially and culturally intelligent and aware, able to easily integrate into the world they will grow up to inhabit and lead.
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