The Seattle Times “interviewed Rick Steves”:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/living/2003879700_webricksteves12.html on his stance on travel as education:

bq. I think if the world knew what was good for it, it would establish a fund to pay for Americans all to have a free trip for six weeks, anywhere they wanted around the world upon graduation. It would be the best investment the world could ever make. Because right now an America that is threatened by, fearful of and misunderstands the rest of the world is a costly thing on this planet.

bq. I used to think the world was a pyramid with us on top and everybody else trying to figure it out. And I really traveled believing I could just share with people all the beauties of American culture, and I don’t believe that anymore. I like my way of living, but I don’t think that other people want to copy it.

bq. America, frankly, doesn’t know what war is like. We don’t have many living memories right now of what a serious war that the Europeans have experienced is. Consequently, we’ve sanitized it. And Europeans have many more powerful reminders of how war can devastate a society. Consequently they’re inclined to find alternatives to war a little more aggressively than we are.