Ignorance of the law excuses no one. With more advancements in technology, the world is getting smaller and smaller, and information is more accessible to gather. Especially when you travel a lot, be it for leisure or work, it is to your advantage to have some info on the laws of the country that you are going to. Knowledge is power, and you will have so much power in your hands when you know even the basics of the law. It’s not too late to learn them, however, as schools like the University of Southern California offer courses that can help you study this further. This article gives you more reasons as to why it’s important to learn foreign laws.
1. You can build friendships across borders.
No one wants to be friends with a person who does not have any regard for their law whatsoever. It is impossible for friendships to thrive without respect and consideration for each other’s laws. However, the world is getting smaller, and wherever you are, in your school or your workplace, you will often find yourself dealing with citizens from other countries. These classmates or workmates of yours can someday become your friends.
For example, there was a thirteen-year-old teenager who was half-Chinese, half-Norwegian. Her best friend was an Iranian. Despite their differences, they were able to foster a strong friendship even until they got married and had their own kids. This happened successfully because even when they were teenagers, their parents informed them of each other’s laws and customs, so they did not step beyond what was considered illegal and immoral for each one. Without knowledge of foreign law, instead of building a strong friendship, you might create enemies.
2. You can better bridge the gap across cultures.
When you know the law of a foreign country, it is easier for you to bridge the gap across various cultures. The law allows you to have a better understanding as to why citizens of a particular nation behave in this specific manner, and why they do not. Behavior that may be disrespectful or illegal for you might be acceptable and legal in other countries. Without knowledge of the law, you can easily make the mistake of disrespecting or judging other nations. This judgment can create an even wider gap across nations. With the law, you can help foster peace and understanding among citizens of different countries.
3. You can avoid offending the general public of the state you are going to visit, which can lead to your arrest.
What may be moral and legal in your country might not be the same in the state you are looking to visit. For example, in some Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and the Philippines, eating on public trains is acceptable. In other neighboring countries, however, like Singapore, eating on the train and train stations is punishable, and the penalties are quite high. You wouldn’t want to be caught in the unfortunate situation of visiting Singapore and making this mistake, where you will have to pay a high fine. Another common example of mistakes made in foreign nations because of no knowledge about the law is committing driving and traffic mistakes.
4. You will realize that most laws have a common ground: respect for humankind and morality.
Wherever you are in the world, you will realize that laws are founded on a common ground, which is respect for humanity and morality. When you know the rules of foreign nations, you will come to this conclusion; hence, when you visit their country, it is easier for you to blend in with their customs and laws as well.
The only difference across countries comes with the execution of these laws and their respective penalties. For example, in some countries, there is a death penalty for capital offenses such as murder. In some states, however, the highest form of sanction is life imprisonment. The common ground is that murder is illegal in both these countries.
5. You will have a better understanding of the history of the world.
Despite countries having their respective laws, and being divided into different continents, the world is small. All nations, have, in one way or another, been connected in the past, both for positive and negative reasons. With so much fake news in today’s day and age, it is easy for you to fall into the trap of believing fake news and have a mindset of hate and rage against citizens of other countries. However, when you are aware of the laws of a foreign state, you will know how to filter your information, and not believe in false information. Instead, you can better understand why these events in legal and political history happened, through the laws of that nation.
6. You will not run the risk of losing your job.
If you will be assigned to work in a foreign country, it is best if you know the laws of that country before you relocate. You don’t want to make a mistake later on of doing offensive things to the company you work in, to the environment or to your co-workers who are citizens of that foreign nation. Doing so can cost you your job, destroy your image, and even break a business deal.
Understanding the laws of a foreign country helps promote global understanding. When citizens of different nations understand international laws, you become a better citizen of the world, as you can accept and learn other cultures better. Even more importantly, you can help make travel smoother as you are less afraid of what irreparable mistake you might commit in a foreign country only because you do not know the basics of their law.