Guess what? Every country (except for 3) I’ve traveled to in my young 22 years of age has been during my student years. That = 13 countries (all in the past 3 years!)
And it’s all thanks to my study abroad year in France. I have met countless of people who have studied abroad, thought about studying abroad, who wanted to, who were scared to, nervous, excited, and the list goes on.
But there’s one thing that that they all had in common: opportunity.
They each had the opportunity to travel abroad, but not everyone chose to pursue it for their own reasons.
And those who did, well, let’s just say they had the time of their life.
Here are my tips for how to travel while in college:
Follow the five second rule
Meaning, go with your impulse. Don’t over-analyze. Do you want to see the world, or don’t you? Answer your impulse, answer the question – within 5 seconds. Go. 5, 4, 3, 2…1….. If you are still reading this article then I imagine your answer is “Yes.”
If that’s the case then ask yourself, what’s stopping you?
I didn’t have any money and I still don’t. But money should not stop you. The goal is to just get there. You don’t need a fancy apartment to live in and you certainly don’t need to sport the latest European trends. Be you. Be broke. After all, it is the best way to travel, in my opinion. Get the ticket – that will be the most expensive thing on your list of travel to-dos. Once you are there (wherever it may be; Europe, Asia, US..) the possibilities for cheap and adventurous travel are endless.
Leaving behind your family and friends is not easy to do. But, it’s worth it (love you mom…). Maybe it’s the first time you have ever left home. Scary, right? Well, think about how much scarier it is to never leave home. Adventure awaits! Travel is about meeting people and making great friendships, and then having to say see ya later, bye bye for now, tootaloo. And that is okay. It will be okay, I promise. J You will cherish the diverse people you meet for the rest of your life, even if you never bump into them again. And who knows, some of the people you meet abroad may be a part of your family one day! 😉
Fear of change / the unknown ?
Another thing travel is all about is learning how to overcome your fears of stepping into an unknown culture, with perhaps no previous knowledge of the language, unfamiliar customs, values, traditions, etc. But isn’t that also the beauty of it? Adapting to change by first stepping outside of your comfort zone is a surefire way to discovering amazing opportunities and embarking on some unforgettable adventures.
“Who needs work anyway?” Just kidding, we all have to work (some) to make (some) money eventually. Some college students work full-time jobs in addition to being a full-time student. I completely understand. I would have been in the same boat if it wasn’t for financial aid that allowed me to shrug off “work”. Don’t be fooled, I didn’t live off financial aid alone. I did work and I did earn money. A great way to earn money while in college is to get a job through the university. This way you get the same university holidays, unlike if you were, say for example, working in retail two miles off campus, in which case you are most likely adding hours during the holidays. I tutored French to other students through the university and it worked out perfectly and saved me a lot of time and money because “work” was located on campus which I was already at for my classes. One location = one trip = save gas = save money = save up for travel.
There are several ways you can incorporate travel to match school. One way is to do it my way >>> make school about travel. What the heck are you talking about Brittany?
Okay, find a major(s) that you love. For example..Language (like me, woo!), arts, history, science, biology, psychology, business and administration. Okay great. Guess what, you’re in luck because those fields exist abroad, too. So study abroad! Do not make school the reason why you don’t pursue your wanderlust. While I was tutoring other students French, I always told them about my study abroad year in France and asked if they had planned on going somewhere during their undergrad. Most of them said yes, but others said “Ah, I’d love to, but I just can’t…ya know…School.” Excuuuusseeee me? What did you say?
Don’t make that same mistake. School is a gateway to a plethora of travel opportunities. Do an exchange, no matter what your major is there is a university abroad that will offer similar classes that you can get credit for. Don’t have the freedom to go away for a whole year? Do a semester! A summer program! Put in the effort, apply, and fill out those darn applications and just go! You won’t regret it. In fact, the biggest and most common regret among adults today is that they never pursued their study abroad opportunities whilst in college.
Have another area in life that is potentially stopping you from traveling abroad while in college? Let me know and I’ll do my best to give you advice.
Prioritize & Organize
Traveling abroad doesn’t organize itself. You need to put in the effort. Plan ahead, at least a semester or two. I took my whole junior year and devoted it to my study abroad; I left May 2013 and did a summer program in one part of France until mid-July when I moved to the next city, Lyon, where I stayed for two academic semesters before leaving to backpack Europe for one month. So prioritize the money you make by putting some aside for when it’s travel time. Organize and do a bit of planning ahead. This is also the perfect time to apply for those grants and scholarships for study abroad.
Keep Abroad in Mind
Think about where you are going and where you want to go. Is living abroad a good fit for you? Then pursue programs abroad. I am currently living in Nepal because I found an interesting Masters program here. Now I’m in a hotspot for traveling Asia, eventually. Keep in mind that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Volunteer abroad. My roommate at the moment tells me awesome stories about her volunteer experience living in Kenya for fourth months.
Work abroad. Teach English in Japan, Vietnam, Spain, France, etc.; the options are endless, just search for them.
Intern abroad. Similar to working abroad, an internship is a great way to go live abroad in a country for a couple of months. Just find a paying internship (harder to come by), but if you do you’re in luck. Internships often lead to contracts, so maybe you’ll end up working abroad anyway.
Holiday / work abroad. Have you ever heard of a work/holiday visa? Well, they are the greatest things ever. You can work up to 20 hours / week to sustain yourself, but the main goal is to just be on holiday and travel. Jump from fun, boring, temporary jobs; farming, bartending, whatever is it, make some money and move on. Just for the record – I am definitely doing this in New Zealand. And, well, you should too.
Wherever you want to go in the world believe that there is a way to get there, because there is. You just have to find it. Ask me about my job(s) in France and Nepal.
Take that First Step
Sometimes the hardest part is the beginning. It’s like when you have a term paper due the next day but all you can do is fill in your name, class, professor, and date in the top left corner with “enter witty title here” a few lines below and center. But once you start it gets easier. Well, it’s more or less the same thing with travel. Just start. Just go. Just do. Just live. Just travel. Just live. Just love. Just enjoy.
Final Blurbs: How to Travel While in College
Take advantage of your youth, of your situation, of your education. And above all, make your education more than learning from books, go live and learn from the world; from amazing countries, places, museums, people, bars, concerts, shows, games, restaurants, clubs, beaches, mountains, deserts, casinos, art exhibits, everywhere and anywhere there will be lessons in disguise, people to learn from, experiences to share, and opportunities to grasp. So GO! What are you waiting for!?
Hi there! Thanks so much for reading and following BB. I hope you could benefit from this blog post! If so, share the love by letting me know! If (me) sharing my experiences (with you) makes you want to just get up and go travel and satisfy your wanderlust, then that means I must be doing something right. Do you have an idea for a post or a question about travel? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours. 🙂