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Traveling is more important than reading books to understand people and the world. A book about another country tells you about things such as the country’s history, its people and its culture in a very general way. When meeting foreigners, I found that books can’t be trusted totally. For example, when I was visiting Wisconsin University, many people were rigid, uneducated, had no sense of humor, and they all wore blue suits. Even the picture in some people’s minds was that Chinese still wore pigtails as they did in the Qing Dynasty.
Though the videotapes shown by me, they were surprised to find that these facts were not true at all and the Chinese people are outgoing and have great intelligence, dress well and have an equally strong sense of humor. Reading a book about another country makes me interested in traveling.
Then I make plans to go and see what I have read about. In addition, people who go out and experience things themselves are likely to be open-minded, and are really interested in making things happen.
A friend of mine, Chen Ming, went to a backward rural area and experienced the sufferings of the children there firsthand. Then he organized a medical team to give them treatment. Just reading about these children’s situation would not have had the same effect as seeing them in person. More and more Chinese travel at home or abroad. Especially the children who travel more will see the important landscapes and will truly be full of knowledge about their own country.
I have always felt enriched by the experience. It is only by “getting into action” that one can make a mark in this world, and truly live a meaningful life.
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