The Importance of Geography

Geography: a word we are all too familiar with. A word that might make teenagers groan in annoyance. A word that’s awarded the American people the reputation of pointing at England and calling it China. But this stereotype is completely avoidable. But in order to, first, we must learn the importance of geography.


Photo courtesy of Gavin Gardner.

Geography is one of many subjects that is largely overlooked in American schools. There are two very important flaws with this fact that we must acknowledge beforehand. One, so many Americans find geography boring. And two, so many Americans don’t know much about geography because of flaw one. This creates a cycle.


However, Geography is only as boring as you make it. A problem would be that teachers can be very boring and fail to get the class involved and simply have fun. The truth of the matter is that if the teacher is a fun, interactive, involved teacher, the subject will be fun. If the teacher is the opposite, the subject will be the opposite.


As an effect of this, your average American doesn’t even know the slightest about geography because teachers wouldn’t be fun, and this will only get worse because the American school systems have just simply given up on even teaching students geography!


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You do not need to be a geography expert and have the ability to find every country in the world if provided the name, flag, or capital. However, the fact that some people do not know the difference between the UK, Great Britain, and England, or the fact that some people don’t know where India is, is berserk.


The basic knowledge of knowing the general area of a certain country is what’s in fact valuable. It opens the world to you, reveals the other billions of people on this planet. Geography will also be valuable for certain jobs. Especially businessmen and other traveling professions. 


Having a general knowledge of the fact that Egypt is a desert, is very helpful to know. Having general knowledge of where a certain country is will be very helpful!


Plus, learning is a very important thing to accomplish. Having a basic knowledge of geography can make someone look very knowledgeable. The more you know, the more likely you are to succeed. You’re more likely to get ahead in life when you know many things, it can make things in life that would normally be difficult obstacles seemingly very easy.


Now, to cover the second flaw of this vicious cycle. Because the American school systems aren’t even attempting to teach this significant subject to students anymore, the upcoming generations of Americans will only get worse and worse at geography. This will only slow down the American country as a whole over an insignificant thing that is so easy to overcome. 


Let’s compare this to European students. When there are Americans who can’t point to a well-known country on a map, there are Europeans out there who can point the American states out very accurately. Not only does this make the Europeans seem very knowledgeable, but they will also have a very easy time accomplishing things if they ever need to go to the United States.


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Your ‘average’ European will have a basic understanding of world geography. In European schools, geography is taught as its own class or integrated into other classes.  For example, in Finnish schools (according to, “Geography is taught as an individual or integrated subject in primary and general upper secondary schools.” Plus, Finland is known for being one of the countries with the best education system in the world, (as stated by “Finland is the 8th most educated country in the world. In Education ranking by Countries, Finland has a total score of 1.631K ranking at 3rd position in 2021. Finland has the highest ranking in High School Completion Rate.”


While Europeans are required to have some basic knowledge of geography in order to graduate, it is not a mandatory subject in order to graduate throughout the country. (According to “Geography is not a required subject in most states. … Most geography instruction is incorporated in social studies classes, and social studies teachers reported spending only 10% of their time teaching geography. History, civics/government, and economics are often prioritized.” This could result in upcoming American generations having a lack of basic knowledge in geography.


To conclude, Europeans are benefited from having knowledge of basic geography. It can help prevent people from tripping over minor problems that progress into larger problems and keep the country moving forward. Having a basic knowledge of geography will benefit people who work in anything related to travel and people who have more global careers. If we as Americans make it mandatory for all American schools to at least have 1 to 2 years of a basic geography cycle required for graduation; not only will we make our upcoming generations more knowledgeable and keep our country moving forward. But we will once and for all be able to finally eliminate that dumb stereotype, that Americans are bad at geography.