Does Travel Broaden The Mind?
One often hears it said that travel broadens the mind: if you stay in your own country the whole time , your ideas remain narrow; whereas if you travel abroad you see new customs, eat new foods, do new things, and come back home with a broader mind.
But does this always — or even usually — happen? An acquaintance of mine who lives in England and had never been outside it until last summer, decided to go over to France for a trip. When he returned, I asked him how he liked it.“Terrible, ”was his answer.“ I couldn’t get a nice cup of tea anywhere .Thank goodness I’m back. ”I asked him whether he hadn’t had any good food while he was there .“Oh, the dinners were all right, ”he said.“I found a little place where they made quite good fish and chips. Not as good as ours, mind you, but they were passable. But the breakfasts were terrible: no bacon or kippers. I had fried eggs and chips, but it was quite a business getting them to make them. They expected me to eat rolls. And when I asked for marmalade , they brought strawberry jam. And do you know, they insisted that it was marmalade? The trouble is they don’t know English. ”
I thought it useless to explain that we borrowed the word‘marmalade ’from French, and that it means, in that language, any kind of jam. So I said,“But didn’t you eat any of the famous French food?”“What? Me?”he said.“Of course not! Give me good old English food every time! None of these fancy bits for me! ”Obviously travel had not broadened his mind.
This does not, of course, happen only to Englishmen in France: all nationalities, in all foreign countries, can be found judging what they see, hear, taste and smell according to their own habits and customs. People who are better educated and who have read a lot about foreign countries tend to be more adaptable and tolerant, but this is because their minds have already been broadened before they start travelling. In fact, it is easier to be broad-minded about foreign habits and customs, if one’s acquaintance with these things is limited to books and films. The American smiles tolerantly over the absence of central heating in most English homes when he is himself comfortably seated in his armchair in his centrally heated house in Chicago; the English man reads about the sanitary arrangements in a certain tropical country, and the inhabitants of the latter read about London fogs, and each side manages to be detached and broad-minded. But actual physical contact with things one is unaccustomed to is much more difficult to bear philosophically.
Perhaps the ideal would be if travel could succeed in making people tolerant of the habits and customs of others without abandoning their own. The criterion for judging a foreigner could be: Does he try to be polite and considerate to others? Instead of: Is he like me?
Ⅰ. True o r Fa lse :
1. It is often said that if you travel abroad to see many new things, your mind will be broadened.
2. The Englishman had a happy life when he travelled to France .
3. The word‘marmalade’is originally a French word, which means any kind of jam.
4. In the view of the author, people often judge things according to their own habits and customs.
5. The author thinks that people who are better educated and read a lot are easily to be tolerant.
6. Tea , bacon, kippers, chips are all typical English food.
Ⅰ. 1. T 2. F 3 . T 4 . T 5 . T 6 . T
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