For the majority of college students, money is tight. But don’t let that limit you from exploring everything the world has to offer. Whether you write an essay about traveling to get into grad school or simply learn about a new culture, the benefits of student travel outweigh the costs.
While it may seem like student travel is impossible without excess cash, there are plenty of ways to travel as a student—so pack your bags, grab your passport and get out there.
The Obvious Choice: Study Abroad
Student travel is made exceptionally easy through study abroad programs. Most colleges partner with universities across the globe in an effort to both draw in international students and teach their own students about other ways of life.
Working closely with your own study abroad office will ensure that you find somewhere to live and have your classes lined up before departure. However, there are usually scholarships available as well. This is the perfect way to earn some free money for traveling abroad.
The best part of all? You’ll earn college credit while you travel!
Surprise! There Are Scholarships Available For Students
Even without studying abroad, it’s possible to obtain scholarships to travel as a student. A variety of organizations, including National Geographic, Hosteling International, UNESCO, the Student & Youth Travel Association and the Smithsonian Institution have applications for student travelers. Take advantage—this can be a great way to earn some travel money.
In addition to scholarships, websites like World Nomads and Go Overseas hold travel competitions. Earn a trip by submitting an essay about traveling, a photo story or a documentary. The winners of these competitions usually receive a travel package that teaches them something and covers most of the cost.
Teach English Abroad Over Summer
English teachers are in high demand all over the world. Spend your summer breaks traveling under the guise of teaching English. This terrific experience will give students a chance to immerse themselves in a unique culture while sharing a little bit of their own.
Because English is so sought after, there are plenty of destinations to choose from. You’ll find inspiration and enrichment from teaching others. But you’ll also form bonds with locals that allow you to get to know the country as a local.
Do your research though. Some programs may only accept those with a bachelor’s degree or those who can dedicate at least a year. But it’s possible to find short-term programs as well. This is also a great alternative for students who are taking time off of school or who are graduating.
Working or Volunteering On Your Breaks Can Make a Difference
When you’re not in school, working or volunteering abroad can make a big difference—for the locals and for you. Not only does it allow you to see the world, but it allows you to immerse yourself in it.
There are plenty of options. Work as an au pair. Participate in WWOOFing on an organic farm. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. You can even work at a hostel in exchange for room and board. If you can find a way to make money or cut down your expenses, you’ll save money while helping the locals.
Students don’t always have a lot of time for traveling, but if you try to volunteer in a different country during your summer, winter and spring breaks, you’ll be surprised at all you can see.
You Will Probably Benefit While Changing Your Perspective
There’s no doubt that seeing the world changes a students’ perspective. Experiencing new locations and cultures widens your view but it also helps you find yourself.
Aside from the internal benefits of student travel, you may find that it benefits you in other ways as well. When it comes time to apply for grad school, write an essay about traveling. When you work on school projects, incorporate what you’ve learned during your time spent overseas. Share your experiences with those around you to inspire a new wave of students traveling.
Just because you’re a student doesn’t mean you can’t travel.