Educational Travel: How to Study While Seeing the World?

You know what they say: explore the world while you’re a student, it’s the best time to do it! But what if you have no time to even breathe between attending classes, doing homework, and taking part in extracurriculars? If that’s about you, traveling now must sound close to impossible!

You don’t have to sacrifice one for the sake of another, though. There are multiple ways you can travel while studying – like these five below.

Be warned, though: all of them require some preparation. You’ll need to fill out applications, ace interviews, and prepare for your trip. So, if you don’t have enough time for this, you might need to pay for paper on to focus on it. Don’t let homework stand in the way of making your dream a reality!

Option 1. Look What Your School Has to Offer

This is, probably, the easiest option on the list. Your alma mater has to have an International Education Office (the name can vary from one establishment to another). Go to its website and see what opportunities your school is already offering you.

Here are the kinds of opportunities you can find there:

  • semester or year abroad programs at partner colleges or universities;
  • student exchange programs;
  • travel study courses;
  • language study courses;
  • international internships and volunteering opportunities.

Some opportunities can be restricted to specific fields of study; others can be open to everyone enrolled. Besides that, your GPA is likely to be a selection criterion. Your background and extracurricular activities are likely to play a role, too.

This option is also typically among the more affordable ones. Plus, your school will be there for you when it comes to housing and visa matters. And, as a cherry on the top, you won’t have to worry whether the courses will be transferable!

Option 2. Apply Directly for a Program Abroad

Do you have an idea of where you want to go next? Nothing is stopping you from looking for universities and colleges in this destination and applying to their programs directly.

Let’s say you study business analytics and you want to travel to Spain. All you need to do is google the top business schools in this European country. Then, look for short-term (they often take place in summer) or semester programs on their websites.

Unlike the programs offered by your school directly, enrolling on your own means your alma mater’s staff may have to agree upon your departure. Plus, make sure the credits for the courses you want to take abroad are transferable.

But this is where challenges end. In all other matters, such as visas and housing, your hosting school will be there for you.

Option 3. Go to a Third-Party Provider

If you don’t find a suitable program using the two options above (or don’t manage to beat the competition), don’t give up just yet. There are plenty of companies that help connect students in the United States with the right study abroad programs all over the world.

However, these third-party providers charge a substantial fee for their services. So, it’s up to you to decide whether you’re ready to pay for it.

When you choose a provider, shop around. Compare the administrative fees. And check on your school’s website whether they work with this or that provider – or talk to a counselor about it beforehand. If they don’t, the credits you earn abroad might not be transferable.

Option 4. Find Internships & Volunteering Projects

Yes, you might be thinking, “It’s not exactly what you could call ‘study opportunities’, right?” But your curriculum may already have an internship requirement as-is. Or you may be able to get some credits by completing one. So, why do it in your home country when you can combine it with traveling?

The chances are your school already has partnerships with companies in other countries to provide such opportunities. But even if that’s not the case (or if those opportunities don’t suit you), some third-party providers can help you find one.

There’s also AIESEC, an international student non-profit that connects employers with students looking for an internship around the world (for a relatively small fee, too). At the moment, there are 500+ internship options on their website!

Option 5. Enroll in a 100% Study-At-Home Program

If there’s one thing you can actually thank the pandemic for, it’s that working and studying remotely has become a new norm. Now, most colleges and universities offer 100% remote programs to their current and future students.

This means that you don’t have to stay in the same country as your alma mater to get that diploma anymore! Instead, you can pack your backpack, take your laptop, and leave for any country in the world. All you need to do is make sure you’ll have a stable Internet connection once you’re there.

“But how can I afford something like this?” Don’t worry: you don’t have to come from a rich family to manage to see the world! Here are three basic pieces of advice for you:

  • opt for education destinations that don’t require a visa – the application fees can amount to around $100;
  • compare the cost of living in various destinations and choose the cheaper ones;
  • find a part-time remote job or start freelancing to cover the travel expenses on the go.

In Conclusion: 6 Things to Factor in When Choosing a Program

You might be worried that there won’t be enough opportunities for you to choose from, but the reality is often the opposite. Most likely, you’ll end up having to choose between several programs. And that can be tough.

So, here’s a short checklist with six criteria you can use to take your pick.

  1. Goals and interests. What do you want to learn and achieve during your stay abroad? Does the program align with your declared major and life goals?
  2. Location. Would you prefer a European, South American, or Asian country? Would you rather live in a quaint town or a lively city?
  3. Time. How long do you want to (and can you) stay abroad? Is it a couple of weeks, a semester, or a year?
  4. Climate. Would you prefer a tropical one? Or, maybe, you can’t imagine your life without snow?
  5. Housing. Would you rather live with a host family or in a dorm?
  6. Cost. Can you foot the bill? Are there any financial aid packages available?

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