One of the hardest things about traveling is finding the time and money to go. As a college student, I try to take advantage of every travel opportunity I can get while I still have summers off (until I start internships). Studying abroad is one of the best opportunities out there because you get to spend a whole semester, year, or summer in another country while still getting the credit for school! However, studying abroad can be quite an expense depending on the type of program you go with. In my case, it is actually cheaper for me to spend a semester abroad than at my home university granted I get some study abroad scholarships, crazy I know! If you’re interested in studying abroad I highly encourage you to at least look into it and not let the cost scare you away because there are many scholarships available for study abroad and you never know what financial aid applies to it.
Studying abroad isn’t the only way to travel during your college years. There are plenty of volunteer programs that allow you to work for free in another country in exchange for accommodation with a local family. I know the word “volunteer” looks scary since it typically means working without pay but your only big expenses will be travel costs and excursions. If you’re interested in organic farming, WWOOF is a popular program with tons of places to go. Helpx is another good one and has more than just farming like helping around the house, being a nanny, or helping in a local business. If living with strangers in a foreign country alone scares you, many of the programs allow more than one person to come so invite a friend to come with you! Missions trips are always a great way to travel too because you’re going there to make a difference and further the kingdom of God. If you’re involved in a church that is planning a trip, go ahead and attend an interest meeting even if you haven’t been going there that long. Going with a group of people you already know is a great way to establish a stronger bond with other members of your church. If your church doesn’t go on missions trips that often, you can still go on missions trips with national organizations. I went on two trips with Global Expeditions while in high school and they were a few of the biggest life changing experiences for me. I’ll talk more about those experiences in future posts.
Money is always a big issue that prevents people from traveling as much as they want to but if you plan ahead and start saving early, it’s not as expensive as it’s put out to be. If you’re bad at saving money like I am, you can take money out of your account and hide it someplace so it’s less tempting to spend. That system works wonders for me! Also, when looking for places to stay while abroad, avoid the big touristy areas since everything is usually more expensive there, plus you get a better cultural experience!
All in all, I encourage every one of you to take advantage of every opportunity given to you to travel while you’re young. Plan strategically and start saving up even before you know where you go. Take advantage of the summers you have off while you still do! More than likely, traveling anyway will never be an experience you regret. Have a wonderful day, friends!