Between tuition and other expenses, college students don’t have extra money to spend on travel. But fewer responsibilities, scheduled breaks, and college discounts make it a great time to see the world.
Studying abroad enables students to immerse themselves in other cultures. In fact, during the 2015–2016 academic year the number of U.S. students studying abroad for college credit rose 3.8 percent.
If you want to take a few jaunts visiting other countries, this guide focuses on how to spend a break—or a long weekend—learning more about the world. Here’s how to travel on a tight budget.
Six Reasons Why All Students Should Travel
Traveling is fun, but that’s not the only reason students will benefit from seeing new places. Here are a few reasons why it’s worth broadening your horizons:
- Observing Different Perspectives.
“The more you see the world, the more you understand how it works,” says Ninad Sharma, president of the International Volunteer Travel Association. “Otherwise you get too used to how things are in your “universe” until you hit the job scene, get into a serious relationship or just are just forced out of your comfort zone.”
- Experiencing Other Cultures.
We all love the comfortable feeling of the familiar but seeing something new can provide incredible insights and possibilities. From new foods to holiday traditions, traveling provides eye-opening opportunities and the ability to experience a new culture. Watching videos online and reading books is one thing; experiencing it firsthand is quite another.
- Enhancing Gratitude.
Let’s face it. Many college students don’t realize just how good they’ve got it. “You learn to appreciate what you might be taking for granted by seeing others who don’t. Remember, the fact that you were born in a time and place is (most likely, depending on your religious views) a coincidence,” Sharma says.
- Creating Unique Memories.
Millions of students will remember that crazy thing some kid did at a party or the thrill winning an intramural sports tournament. Far fewer will be able to look back and say they saw a toilet flush “backwards,” experienced New Year’s Day almost a full day before the United States or got to eat a food that doesn’t exist back at home.
- Practicing a Foreign Language.
For those who are trying to learn a foreign language, no teaching experience is better than spending time in a country where that language is spoken. Total immersion is the best way to learn a new language. This benefit is greater the more time the student spends in that country, such as when spending a full semester or year studying abroad.
- Professional Development.
Extensive traveling can provide a variety of professional development opportunities. Prospective employers love seeing applicants who have spent significant time living in another country. It shows the applicant has an open mind, is willing to step outside the comfort zone and can adapt and overcome challenges. Besides that, travel makes for a well-rounded person. “Go, get some experience under your belt—it will make you more interesting,” Sharma says.
- Build Self-Confidence and Independence.
Figuring things out in a new place can do wonders for creating confidence and building a sense of independence. Learning to navigate a foreign city’s subway system or figuring out how to order dinner in another language can help eliminate self-doubt or insecurity a college student might have. Without a travel opportunity, the college student may never get the chance to truly figure things out on their own.