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A Master’s Degree Program is No Excuse Not to Travel

0 Comments 25 May 2012


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Traveling A Master’s Degree Program is No Excuse Not to Travel There is nothing like travel to expand your mind and world view, and there is no better time in life to travel than as a college student or in between graduation and getting your master’s degree. You’ve heard it more than once, the lecture on how carefree and joie de vivre your life is, free of the obligations of family and career.

Of course that Aunt, Uncle or family friend, encouraging you to take advantage of your freedom and “see the world” usually doesn’t whip out a checkbook and offer any assistance. And small bank accounts rarely go well with big dreams. But the fact remains, college is a great time to travel and if you get creative you can go anywhere and everywhere on a budget which takes into account even the thinnest of wallets. Following are a few suggestions to help you get started on the journey of a lifetime.

Work Abroad

In terms of “budget friendly” nothing beats taking a working vacation. And as a college student you have some unique advantages over the “civilian” population. Most colleges and universities of any reasonable size have a student travel office, which can help to hook you up with work abroad opportunities. Many of them can even help you with the required paperwork.

The beauty of work abroad vacations, you get paid for traveling. Plus, because you are engaged in the community in your daily life, you get a much more in-depth experience of the region. While others are mere “tourists” you become part of the community, making friends and getting the insider view of wherever you happen to be traveling.

For English speakers, there are literally as many possible work abroad opportunities as countries on the planet. People everywhere are anxious to learn English, and while you probably won’t earn much, you will quite likely earn enough to support yourself during your stay.

Volunteer Abroad

This is a rapidly growing area, as more and more Americans and Europeans seek out vacations that offer more than a beach and a lounge chair, and search for the chance to not only travel during holidays, but also to do something meaningful. As a volunteer you may be involved in building housing or schools, translating for indigenous populations, providing medical assistance, or participating in environmental projects.

You will usually have to provide your own transportation expenses, but once you arrive in country room and board will be offered through the organizing body. All you will need is spending money. Look for volunteer abroad opportunities at your local student travel center, church group, or within a neighborhood action coalition (they often have contacts outside of the area).

Social Networks

There were social networks long before anyone heard of “social networking.” Plenty of these offer great opportunities for lodging and travel, particularly for travel within the United States. If you are willing to forgo luxury hotels, you can often find free or budget lodging through a host of social service organizations and contacts. Many colleges, churches, fraternities, sororities and clubs offer reciprocal lodging to members. Or these organizations can arrange lodging at the home of a member of the organization. Not only does this greatly reduce expenses, it provides a ready made group of like-minded friends to show you around and guide you to the sites.

Road Trip

Yes, gas is expensive, but even a cross country trip by car is less expensive than most plane flights. And camping is “dirt” cheap. Find a carload of willing friends, get a tent, and explore the country by road. You’ll see America on the way, in ways that you never expected. Travel to Mt. Rushmore, visit the rodeo in Cheyenne, drive to Key West or hike in the rainforest of the Cascades. America is quite a country, and a road trip can be the way to see it all, from the big and beautiful to the small and quaint.

Student Travel Packages

Organizations like EF College Break offer group travel to college students. While their packages aren’t cheap per se, they are all inclusive and much cheaper than you are likely to arrange on your own. If London, Paris, Rome or other big ticket locales are on your wish list, a group package can be get you the most for your buck.

Student Discounts

Many countries offer student discounts on all kinds of goods and services. Bus and train passes, youth hostels, youth kitchens, discounts on museums and cultural entertainment, are almost always available at deep discounts with a student ID card. If you plan to take advantage of these, a stop at your school’s student travel center is the way to find the killer deals and ensure that you have the required paperwork.

So go ahead, get out there and see the world. With a little research and creativity, you really can afford it.

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