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National Geographic Editor Says Travel Is Ultimate Teacher

Published: December 03, 2009
There are three things Keith Bellows, editor-in-chief of National Geographic’s Traveler magazine, hopes people come away with from his presentation on Dec. 3 at UT.

“One, is to realize that travel is the ultimate learning opportunity,” said Bellows, who will be lecturing in Reeves Theater at 4 p.m. “Two, to really be willing to take risks, and three, even in this tough economic climate, there is hope and it’s all up to them.”

Presented by the Office of International Programs and the Baccalaureate Experience, Bellows’ lecture is free and open to the public. He’ll also judge UT’s International Photography Contest. The top photos will be featured in the Spartans Abroad Calendar.

The Office of International Programs has hosted two National Geographic photographers in years past. This kind of opportunity is a way to internationalize UT, said Brooke Pawlak, coordinator/advisor of International Programs.

“These speakers are able to impart their own personal stories of travel, the importance of cross-cultural understanding and the ups and downs of their own international careers,” Pawlak said. “Most importantly, it helps UT to graduate internationally competent students, defined as students with enhanced skills, knowledge, attitudes and values in the areas of international and intercultural matters.”

Bellows, who graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in English literature, said there is no better way to become a global citizen than to travel. Even on a tight budget, he says students can peruse the world.

“You don’t need a lot of money to travel,” Bellows said. “What you need is a willingness to step out of your comfort zone.”

He recommends having a plan to save money. Instead of delivering pizzas in Pittsburgh to save for the trip though, deliver spaghetti in Italy. When it comes down to it, Bellows said traveling is a must.

“Travel is critically important and is key to global understanding,” he said. “We are no longer an isolated country. We are deeply immersed with the rest of the globe.”

Under Bellows, Traveler has won more than 50 Lowell Thomas awards for excellence in travel journalism and has twice been nominated for a National Magazine Award. He recently led a National Geographic team to create journeystreams , an open-source online product that enables students to share multimedia stories.

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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