7 Ways to Travel the World While in College

7 Ways to Travel the World While in College
  • Opening Intro -

    Nearly every college student has toyed with the idea of seeing the world a bit before settling down.

    You're young, adventurous, flexible, and open to new experiences.

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You’re more likely to be accepting of cultural differences around the world, as well as willing to forego the standard of living you’re used to in order to gain some incredible adventures and lifelong memories.

Unfortunately, most people let these dreams of freedom and a care-free life fall by the wayside as they get thrown right into the job-seeking grind and move home after graduation. Whether it’s because of societal expectations or the need to start making money right away, these plans fizzle out before they are acted on. But there is good news. You don’t have to wait until you finish school to begin your explorations. There are plenty of ways to satisfy your travel bug while staying on track.

Studying abroad

Check with your university to see if there are any study abroad programs or exchanges in place. Spending a semester continuing your studies will allow you to begin your adventures, but still remain in a structured program and schedule. This is a fabulous way to see how well you fare away from home, and to do so without taking any time from your studies. Just make sure you can transfer the credits back to your university when you return. Additionally, you may be able to apply for scholarships that will help finance your time immersed in another culture.

Summer travel

While most college students expect to spend their summers catching up with high school friends and working a part-time job, summer is a fabulous time to test the waters in some extended trips. You can even have the best of both worlds, by splitting your summer into a month at home, and then spending a month traveling.  You’ll return to school in the fall with a breadth of new perspectives under your belt, and perhaps a new direction in life. It doesn’t even have to be international travel. Going on a cross-country road trip can help prepare you for larger adventures later on.

Short-term mission trips

If you’re involved with a religious group, you may find an opportunity to spend some time traveling to various parts of the world performing charity works in some off-the-beaten-path locations around the world. The great thing about mission trips is that much of your trip will be financed through fundraising, and very rarely will your parents protest that you’re not getting a summer job if you tell them that you’re taking part in an altruistic church activity. It’s also a good way to get a feel for navigating a new culture, while staying semi-protected with a group of people you are comfortable with and able to communicate with easily.

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Volunteering

Don’t second guess your ability to make a difference. Find a cause that you are passionate about and dive in. Whether you’re building schools for girls, teaching English to children, or helping with an environmental conservation effort, there are plenty of opportunities to help out all over the world. Find an organization through your college or just search for opportunities on the internet. While you may expect to pay for airfare, there should be assistance with finding lodging and getting settled once you arrive. Just make sure that you are truly passionate about the cause, and don’t mind putting in long hours. This is different than a vacation. You’ll be living and working alongside people in the community, not relaxing and drinking on a beach. It is a much better way to immerse yourself in another culture, and to get a real feel for the place than sticking to the well-traveled tourist attractions.

Working abroad

There are some great opportunities to kill two birds with one stone – find a part-time summer job while traveling internationally. There are any number of opportunities to make money on the go. You can tutor or teach English in almost any country in the world, and often make good money since English speaking is a highly desirable skill in many places around the world, particularly tourist destinations. You can also become an English-speaking tour guide, work on an organic farm, and even work as a sailing crew on a charter boat. You can also find a way to finance your travels if you can run a blog, or if you have any skills that you can freelance over the internet.

Seek out travel grants or enter competitions

There are actually agencies out there, some non-profit, some government, and some businesses, that will offer to fund a trip for you. Grant programs generally require that you present a plan or proposal for your trip, and explain why sending you is a worthwhile investment of the money. There are also writing competitions where you submit a piece and the chosen winner gets some funding for their travel.

Good old-fashioned couch surfing

Don’t forget the tried and true method of traveling on a budget: crashing on a friend’s couch until they get sick of you. You’ve probably already made friends with people from all over the country, and possibly some international students as well.  Ask if it would be okay to come and stay for a few days while you explore their corner of the world, and all you’ll have to pay is for your transportation and maybe some groceries. Chances are they’ll be glad to have you, and you’ll even get a personal tour guide who’s excited to show you around. Just make sure not to overstay your welcome.

Information credited to Stayz

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