It was common in the Victorian era for well-to-do middle and upper-class families to send their youths abroad towards the end of schooling—probably around what we would call 11th or 12th grade—and this was one of the key elements of “finishing” an education. The literary trope in fairy tales of “going to seek your fortune” is perhaps connected to the medieval practice of apprenticeship away from home, where a young man went from his hometown to another household to learn a trade, manners, and the responsibility of adulthood.
Going abroad to enlarge one’s mind and round out an education remains important today, regardless of your age or education. “Study-abroad” college programs, foreign exchange students, and pilgrimage tours bear witness to some recognition of this. But what exactly are travel’s benefits? How can we avoid it degenerating into tourism and what are the benefits?
Catholicism in Europe
Hilaire Belloc, in Cruise of the Nona writes of his contemporary Englishmen as ignorant of the “fact” of Catholicism because they did not travel to mainland Catholic Europe. Belloc believed that modernism and Catholicism are the two greatest forces opposing each other. The idea of Catholicism being an…