The importance of foreign affairs news: an opinion piece

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2018: a year in which we are bombarded with news. From TV to online to printed publications, it is everywhere. So it can be hard to know what to focus on - because what really makes a story newsworthy?  

Another question some frequently ask is: ‘why do we hear so much about what happens abroad?’ Why, if it doesn’t directly affect us, do we really need to hear about it? But, if we really think about it, foreign news does affect us. It is arguably highly important for so many reasons.  

One obvious reason why foreign news is so important is that we need to know about trade and other such issues. With so many multinationals and smaller businesses in the UK, we must be able to know and understand the impact of foreign countries on them; after all, it impacts on our economy.  

While most of us are pretty sick and tired of constantly hearing about Brexit every single day, it is vital that we are aware of how it may change our lives in the not too distant future. 

It is also necessary to know about international relations for when we go abroad. For example, it is useful to know about the borders between certain countries. This may not be such a big deal in most of Europe, with Schengen allowing freedom of movement across most of the continent.  

Schengen, named after the Luxembourgish town in which it was established, allows people to go from one country to another freely and without passport checks. Countries must be signed up to it, so it is worthwhile researching which countries are.  

Despite being able to travel without any problems within the Schengen member states, foreign borders are often a huge deal elsewhere. There have commonly been stories of tourists getting into trouble by unintentionally crossing international borders (for example the American tourists being detained by the Iranian authorities after accidentally crossing into Iran). 

This may seem like common sense to many of us, but a good knowledge of where borders are and what may happen if you accidentally cross them is imperative when you are abroad. While doing research before traveling is necessary, keeping an eye of foreign news will arguably go far in allowing us to keep up to date with foreign laws, customs and possible political turmoil abroad. 

Most importantly, we should absolutely be paying much closer attention to humanitarian crises going on around the world. We might not be able to help as individuals, but collectively, we can make a serious impact. While what happens in Syria, Yemen or Eritrea might not directly affect us, it does not mean that we shouldn’t pay attention to it. Why should any child have to see their siblings killed because of decisions out with their control? Why should any parent have to see their baby die of malnutrition just because they can’t afford to eat?  

If we hear about an international story on the news, it’s arguably also important to not take it at face value. We should go more in-depth to find out more about it, especially looking at its impact on innocent civilians. And we should also consider countries that are not covered as much. After all, why is one group of people any less deserving of help than another? 

Whether it directly affects us or not, foreign affairs news is highly important. It is vital that we are aware of what is going on abroad. We never know when we might need to use that knowledge.  

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