“Engaging with another culture helps kids recognize that their own egocentric way of looking at the world is not the only way of being in the world,” says Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School. Galinsky, who has conducted extensive research on the benefits of travel on the brain’s neural pathways, says studies show international travel also increases cognitive flexibility, which is the mind’s ability to jump between different ideas….
“This act of perspective-taking is a critical ingredient in compassion and empathy,” he claims….
At the same time, exposure cannot in itself provide children with automatic understanding, nor will it guarantee an increase in empathy without the addition of meaningful interpretation via a trusted adult or parent. “Simply visiting a developing country is not always enough. It’s what you do while you are there that helps cultivate empathy,” claims Samantha C. Sweeney, a psychologist and founder of an educational company called Cultural Competence.