When I worked on a campus, I found it enlightening to take a class — it gave me a firsthand view of what it was like to register, get books, interpret the schedule, find the classroom, figure out the bill, etc. It led to many service improvements as I had to experience things that just didn’t make sense.

That same perspective is true for those who teach. My sister was just on a trip abroad and shared how her experiences in countries with different languages, currencies, customs, etc. will be helpful in her work as a corporate trainer. It reminded her what it’s like to experience something brand new and to be lost on how to navigate even the basic functions.

My new volunteer stint as an English tutor has also made me more cognizant of language and all the quirks that come with English. Obviously, they have always been there, but having to explain to someone why we say it’s June 6th (sixth) when the calendar only has a 6 (and not a 6th) definitely has me seeing things in a new light.

One of my favorite icebreakers is “What’s the last (most recent) thing you’ve done for the first time?” If you have to think hard about your answer, maybe it’s time to venture out a bit more.

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