General Education

No Room In Your Schedule? How To Travel In College Without Studying Abroad

No Room In Your Schedule? How To Travel In College Without Studying Abroad
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Sarah Mariski September 14, 2020

Studying abroad is not ideal for every busy college student. Learn more about how you can still have a nontraditional international experience.

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Colleges tout the experience of studying abroad as an instrumental part of the educational experience. Gaining an international perspective on current issues and how they affect your course of study is an important educational extension. However, not everyone has the means to give up a semester. It could be because of their major having strict course schedules. It could be because it’s too much of a commitment. There are plenty of reasons why someone would opt for a nontraditional travel education. Since the pandemic has shut down everyone’s opportunity to study abroad, there’s no time like now to plan alternative experiences for the future.

Travel Course

If going away for a long period of time is not ideal, an alternative suggestion would be to participate in a travel course. Most colleges offer students unique and specialized courses that finish their semester with an educational trip. This period abroad can last from one week to five depending on the school and the time the course is held. Courses such as these are prevalent among language classes so students can get real world experience practicing their language of choice. Just make sure you actually have interest in the topic of the course (or even better, can receive credit). No travel is worth a semester of mundane class periods.

Alternative Spring Break

If you have interest in community service, alternative spring break may be a good choice for you. Alternative spring breaks are when college students choose to participate in volunteer projects during their traditional week-long spring break. These breaks can be organized by your university, a nonprofit, or other volunteer organizations. Popular national organizations students choose to volunteer with include Habitat For Humanity, United Way, or Teach For America. For international travel, you may want to look at Projects Abroad or UBELONG.

Overseas Research

Research still has to be done, even through a pandemic. Talk to your professors and see if they have upcoming international travel plans researching a topic that may be of interest to you. If not, some schools allow you to coordinate your own research and apply for research grants to fund such ventures. This would be a perfect opportunity to take control of your learning while getting your college engaged.

International Internships

Internships may not be possible as most international companies want you to stay at least a semester. However, the pandemic has led to a multitude of remote internships and with that also comes remote international internships. Some schools have a matching program to apply for if you visit the global education center. Though you may not get to travel, a remote internship can further supplement your learning by providing you with the knowledge and intricacies of international business, politics, cultures, and organizational ethics. Not to mention, you can be paired with a company where you can practice another language.

Plan A Travel Related Career

If none of these options are possible for your schedule, but you still want to travel, you’ll need to think beyond college. There are plenty of careers that will allow you to travel or station you in another country entirely. Some of these occupations are:

  • Travel Nurse
  • English Language Teacher
  • Foreign Service Officer 
  • Peace Corps Volunteer
  • Flight Attendant/Pilot
  • Consultant 
  • Construction Manager
  • Event Planner
  • Athletic Recruiter 
  • Retail Buyer
  • Translator 

Studying abroad is not required to graduate. It is not even required to live the true “college experience." How you want to spend your college career is entirely up to you, no matter how much study abroad opportunities are toted. Never worry if your schedule disallows you from participating in international studies. People around you might say college is the main point in your life to travel, but in actuality, you have your whole life ahead of you. If you’re passionate, you’ll find a way.

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