A Generation of Globetrotters


Sofia Meritano, General Assignment

America has always been, in popular opinion, the land of possibilities and the ideal place to achieve your goals. It is not a coincidence that the “American dream” is so often referenced. So true is it that people from all over the continents of the world have migrated here in all modern and contemporary history. 

But, if you’ve always lived in the USA, then the “American dream” is your everyday life and has become a reality of joy along with some disappointments.  So, while the rest of the world wishes to travel here and many plan to move to America, what do Americans think? What are the plans of Gen Z?

Isadora Goad, an LHS senior, said, “I am going to go to college out of the country for a semester abroad. I would do this so that I could learn more about other countries and meet new people.” Goad added, “I think there are better opportunities abroad because when you go to another place, you get a new perspective and get to learn more about different cultures and ways of life that you are not used to.”

However, she wants to spend only a short period abroad to learn and embrace a new culture, but her lifelong plan is to get a bachelor’s degree and find a career here in the states. 

This desire is shared by others too. LHS senior Brea Reed is planning to travel around the world but always live primarily in America. 

She wants to be close to her family and also thinks that the US has the best career opportunities for what she wants to become, a nurse or baker. 

“Living outside of the US is a decision that depends on the person and what they want for their future. That said, our young generation is certainly more open than our parents because the internet made more opportunities available to us.” Reed said.

Goad’s opinion is not discordant, and she also thinks that our generation seems more prone to take risks while past generations lived similarly to their parents. “An example is my mom, who was going to travel abroad in college, but then she decided she wanted to settle down and start a family,” Goad said.

LHS senior Cody Davis doesn’t know if he can define younger generations as more adventurous than others, although the idea of leaving America has always been present in his mind.

“For many years, I’ve dreamed of traveling worldwide. I extensively studied the Japanese language and culture for four years, hosted a Japanese exchange student at my house, and planned to travel to Japan as a foreign exchange student. However, the COVID-19 pandemic repeatedly canceled those plans,” Davis said.

 Many countries have more art institutes and extensive art histories than the city of Rathdrum or the USA in general. Moving out of the country would give Davis an opportunity to pursue his long-term life plan of becoming a professional illustrator for fantasy artwork books, games, and films.  

Personally, in my life, I’ve always felt the urge to change my environment and leave at the discovery of something new. My exchange year was the perfect occasion to do that.

 I also grew up in an atmosphere where it felt that everyone in my generation wanted to emigrate.  That was not just a perception. In fact, according to Statista (a leading provider of market and consumer data) in Italy, around 44 percent of people between 18 and 24 years old want to move to other places.

In Hungary, 46 percent want to move. In Greece, 43 percent. In Portugal, 31 percent. 

Sara Cenedese, a senior in my Italian school, is a perfect example. “I want to go to another place because I’m fascinated by potential experiences and career possibilities. At the same time, our generation feels the need to move because we are unsatisfied with the current working and political condition of our country.”

Traveling is an excellent opportunity to learn new perspectives, but it is always unfortunate when someone feels the need to move because of negative experiences in a particular region. 

It is undeniable that Gen Z is deeply interested in its personal realization. In this process, Americans are likely more tied to their motherland than Europeans. However, young people from all over the world are looking for something: travel, discovery, or change.