Candice M. Roberts
What You Should Know About Student Travel
When I was in the fifth grade, my class trip was a trip to Paris. Yeah! I know! My father went to every meeting and paid the deposit. Halfway through the process my mom got scared, thinking I would be kidnapped and asked my dad to get their money back. She is probably rolling her eyes at this story because I (even at 36) reminder her how she held a sister down.
Student travel is more important than ever and there are so many opportunities to take advantage of. Organizations like IIE with their Generation Study Abroad program, are pushing for more American students to gain international exposure. “By 2050, the E7 (China, India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey) will be more than 50% larger than the G7 countries (the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan) when measured by GDP at market rates.” For student to compete in the future, they are going to need international experience to fare as well as other international students in the future job market.
But there are some misconceptions about traveling so young. Here are a few tips that I hope will ease your mind.
1. Travel doesn't have to be expensive. Lord knows I have wasted money on all types of foolishness in my lifetime. If you hold of on a few months of Starbucks drinks, you can afford a roundtrip plane ticket to any place within your budget.
2. Cost of living is different. Let's say you work all summer to save your pennies and you want to book at trip. Often the most expensive thing is the plane ticket. The dollar goes a long way in many places around the world. Here in Spain, I can get a full breakfast for 2,30€ or stay in a nice hostel for 20€ a night. Remember that when you choose a location. You can research any city in the world and make a trip daily budget.
3. Others do it everyday. During my travels I have met so many in their early 20's who are backpacking, interning, volunteering and studying abroad. They are doing this on a shoe string budget, but they are doing it. All while creating wonderful memories and building experience that will change their lives forever. Also, other cultures value travel and students travel internationally at a younger age than American students.
4. You can get paid to travel. There are study abroad scholarship and post graduate teaching programs that are eager to accept ambitious young travelers. Find a program that suits your educational and career goals and apply. Talk to your study abroad coordinator at your university and find out which program suits you. You can even earn college credits for study abroad programs at your home university.
5. Going abroad looks amazing on your resume. Study abroad or internships are a wonderful way to gain cultural exposure and build your resume. Every college student should consider a summer abroad. Employers have admitted that they consider applicants who have international experience over applicant that don't. The experience can be life changing.
6. You experience new cultures and teach people about yourself. Our time in Spain has been amazing. We have learned so much about the customs and culture while completely immersing ourselves in our new environment. But I cannot deny the fact that we are symbolic unicorns. We have been to places where people have stared in shock because we were the first Black Americans they have ever seen in their lives. Though this was not the plan, we recognize that we have broken opinions and changed stereotypes of what an African American is. It has been eye opening for myself as well as others.
7. You write your own story. Don't let anyone else impose their fears on you. If you want to travel, make a plan and do it. It's for your personal enrichment and no one else should stop you from doing it.
I have since forgiven my mother as she has been to Spain twice to see me.
Do any of you have any tips for colleges students on travel? Leave a message in the comment section.
Candice is an introverted extrovert who loves to read, wander aimlessly and is addicted to olives. She is a photographer and loves to share travel experiences. She is married to the best husband ever hands down and they have 3 wonderful creations.