What is so great about having Penpals?
There are many reasons that people should be involved in penpalling but most importantly it gives you an opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures. With the way the world is today with so many different cultures interacting on a daily basis - its very important that we understand these different cultures and have empathy for where people are coming from. Whether it be in the office, the sports field, the train station or at school.. Understanding different cultures can help people get along and live in harmony.
You can learn about everyday life from a person on the opposite side of the world. Its very easy to assume that we can imagine what it is like because we have seen a television documentary or read a book.. but this is only a preview - to get the full story you need to interact with the locals - you need to experience it for yourself.
After all, the best way to get to know a place is not by a tour guide.. but by a friend. Someone you can relate to and feel comfortable around.
Friendship is something that can be devoid of physical human contact. It is possible to build a meaningful long term friendship with your penpal, perhaps even a closer friendship than your local friends you are actually in physical contact with on a daily or weekly basis. Some penpallers choose to meet their pen pals and others correspond for decades without ever meeting - it depends on your individual situation.
A common misconception of international correspondence is that you must always chat to your new overseas contact about the country you are living in. Most people like to write to their overseas pen pals just like you chat with your friends on the phone. You can write about your hobbies, what happened today or this week, an argument you may had had at school or work.. you can ask advice. International correspondence is all about friendship and the conversation should reflect this.
I'm not sure how many people have visited another country and joined the thousands of other tourists on a bus or boat tour.. Most tours these days are full of commission stops and people trying to sell you something. By making contacts with people in another country - you are guarantied to get the inside scoop on a country and get away from the tourist traps.
Improve your language skills. Many people start overseas correspondence in order to improve their language skills. You can practise your newly acquired or slightly fading language skills with real foreigners. There is no substitute for real practical experience and the best thing is that you can have fun while you are doing it.. no markers, no exams.. just two people getting to know each other.
Business opportunities and career development can also be a good reason for international correspondence. In this age of technology and the onset of the global economy - it is very important to maintain contacts with people all over the world.