Studying While You Travel: Is it Possible?

Traveling and studying are linked in a number of ways. It is often said that travel broadens the mind, and anyone who has a lot of experience traveling the world will be able to attest as to how true this is. But we don’t often hear the same thing said about education, even though that is clearly the primary purpose of it. Both learning and traveling are opportunities to discover more about yourself and about who you are underneath it all.

In a perfect world, all of us have a dream destination and a dream job. If we weren’t restricted by the limits of our own capabilities, many of us would choose to work in a different job to the one that we have. But if you stop and think about it – is your dream job actually something that you could do if you worked for it? Similarly, maybe that dream destination isn’t as far away in reality as it is when you imagine it.

If you feel like your life is in need of a kickstart and you are looking for a way of improving yourself and expanding your opportunities, combining study and travel is an excellent way of going about it. That’s not to say that it will be easy, but if you approach it with the right attitude and preparation, then there’s no reason that you can’t make a success of it. If you manage to complete your studies and your dream trip simultaneously, you will feel an enormous sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Studying Abroad

Perhaps the most obvious way of studying while you travel is to simply enroll in a college overseas. There are lots of advantages to studying abroad, especially if you hope to ultimately work outside of the United States after earning your degree. Studying abroad will give you the chance to experience what life in the country you’re thinking of moving to is like.

So on a practical level, it definitely makes sense to study abroad if you will one day be moving abroad, but many of the benefits of travel are more abstract than this. For example, experiencing other cultures and ideas is an integral part of traveling around the world. But there is a very big difference between experiencing an area as a guest passing through, and experiencing it as a student who will be living and studying there.

Studying abroad will mean that you have much more direct contact with locals than you would as a holidaymaker. This means that you can learn about the place and the culture in a way that is otherwise difficult.

The value and experience of studying some degrees can actually be significantly enhanced by electing to study them overseas. Take a history degree as an example – the American continent is home to a number of ancient indigenous cultures, but the history of the United States itself is much shorter. Depending on the area of history that you hope to ultimately specialize in, studying abroad will give you the opportunity to completely immerse yourself in the subject.

Take a Semester Abroad

Perhaps you aren’t yet ready to commit to packing everything up and moving around the world, even in pursuit of your academic passions. If this is the case, then you can still choose to spend a little time studying abroad – you don’t have to move there for an extended period. If you can spend even a single semester abroad, it could be hugely beneficial to your overall academic experience.

You might find that after spending a semester abroad, you actually enjoy it more than you were expecting. This will then make you much less apprehensive about traveling there again in the future. If you’re lucky, you will fall in love with your chosen destination and, when you finally complete your studies, you will be able to return there to start your dream career.

Use Your Downtime Wisely

One of the things that sets the most successful students apart from the rest is that they always make good use of whatever time they have available to them. Students who don’t make their downtime count and only work towards their degree when they are in the classroom are missing out some of the most important work that any student can do to further their education. 

In whatever time you have between now and when you need to make a final decision about enrolling in your chosen subject, you should do everything that you can to help you make the right decision. If you have the opportunity to visit the place where you are planning on completing your studies, this is always a good idea. But this is far from the only useful thing that you can do.

You could also use the time to seek out other people who have already studied the course you are thinking of and see what they would recommend doing. The internet has made things like this easier than ever before – all you need to do is make a post in the right reddit community. Armed with more knowledge about your destination before you leave, you will have an easier time making the right decision.

Study Online

Online degrees are nothing new; they have been around for about as long as the internet itself. But until relatively recently, online degrees were seen as worth less than the cost of the internet connection you need to earn one. However, that has completely changed since the turn of the millennium.

Today, many leading universities offer online equivalents of their most popular campus courses. More importantly, a degree earned online will carry just as much weight as a degree from a conventional campus course.

If you are looking for ways to combine studying and traveling, an online course makes the most sense of all your options. If you choose to enroll in an overseas university for your studies, this will enable you to travel to the place where the university is located, but you won’t be able to go much further. On the other hand, an online degree can be completed wherever you are, meaning that you are free to explore as much of the world as you like while you earn your degree.

There are some situations, for example, if you choose to study an RN to MSN online course, where you will be required to do some practical work as part of your studies. If this practical work requires you to complete a placement somewhere specific, then you will have to plan your travels around this – failure to complete this part of your degree will prevent you from passing.

Be Prepared for the Added Difficulty

Studying for a university degree will always require you to be organized. The purpose of a university education is to prepare students for the professional world. Students will need to learn how to study independently and develop skills and knowledge on their own initiative. If you are disorganized, then your college experience is always going to be a stressful one.

If you also add travel into the mix, then it becomes doubly important that you’re able to keep everything in order and stay on top of all your commitments and deadlines. Everything that a student usually has to worry about (handing in assignments on time, managing their finances effectively and making sure that they know exactly what is coming up in terms of their work and commitments), becomes more difficult when you’re also on the move.

You can only predict so far into the future with any accuracy when it comes to your course workload. In an ideal world, you would map out in some detail exactly where you will be and what you will do when you are traveling. However, while you can plan out when you will travel to the next destination on your list, you will have to factor in a degree of unpredictability when it comes to your workload.

It is important that you understand the extra pressures and difficulties that you will face if you choose to study while you travel; you don’t want to get halfway through your first semester and realize that you have set yourself an impossible task. If you know that organization is a challenge for you at the best of times, it is worth giving some serious thought now as to how you will manage it when traveling.

If you are determined to combine traveling and study, and you are prepared for the extra difficulties that it entails, there is no reason that you can’t make a success of it. Whether you choose to enroll in an overseas university or an online degree, you can broaden your horizons and greatly enhance your learning experience by traveling at the same time. 

Studying on the go presents unique challenges, but also unique opportunities and rewards. If you can travel to places that are related to your studies, it will enable you to appreciate them in a whole new light.

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