Freelance writer and photographer
Posted: 06/20/2013 2:48 pm
What is the one thing that people regret about their college years? Many alumni will say they wish they had taken the opportunity to travel or study abroad. So many students graduate without taking the leap and traveling, then regret it later. Now, more than ever, it is becoming increasingly important for college students to go abroad. Our world is growing in its demand for globally-minded people, and one of the best ways to achieve this is through travel and exploration.
It’s difficult to travel once you’re out of school. The hardships of finding a job, securing a home, paying bills, and settling down with a family are realities that impede peoples’ abilities to travel. Not only that, but it can be a lot more expensive, since student discounts no longer apply once you have your diploma. Even if you do get to travel with your family in the future, it is much different than being out in the world on your own or with a group of friends. Your options become more limited, and your money does not go as far.
Many students complain that traveling is too expensive. It’s true – with rising airfare costs, travel can come with a high price tag. However, as a student, you have one very magical advantage: scholarships. There are scholarships that fund study abroad programs, international research, internships, personal projects, language learning, and even leisure travel. Scholarship donors want students to travel, and thus thousands of scholarships are dedicated solely to this cause. Similarly, there are quite a few contests and fellowships you can apply for as a student.
Employers and graduate schools recognize the value and importance of international experience, and it is certainly a desirable quality in potential candidates. Additionally, the skills you acquire through travel are some of the most valuable in the professional world, such as independence, networking, and bilingualism. There are plenty of marketable traits that traveling engenders, and employers do notice when you have taken the time to participate in travel-related activities.
Most importantly, however, investing in travel is like investing in an education – the results are intangible but extremely valuable. You will learn so much more than you do from a textbook, or from a class lecture, or from taking test after test with minimal sleep. Through travel, you have the opportunity to see first-hand the things you’ve learned, to put into practice the skills you’ve acquired. You gain a global perspective and a strong independence that no other teaching method can impart. Travel teaches tolerance, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness as well, three key skills that you can use for the rest of your life. Without travel, you will only see the world on a screen or in a book, but you will never get to experience it for yourself. Do you really want to let this opportunity pass you by?
The bottom line here is that traveling during college is critical to a wholesome, global education. Students, your optimal time to travel is running out. Take the opportunity now, before it disappears right before your eyes.