University is one of the main times in one’s life where you have relatively few, permanent commitments, combined with lengthy vacations where you can afford the time to travel. But although students are relatively rich in time compared to people with permanent paid positions, they are relatively poor in money. If you want to travel as a student, therefore, you normally will need to do travel on a budget.
Here are some quick tips of how you can see the world for less while studying.
One of the advantages of a university degree is that the academic year and the content of the course is mostly provided to you up front. Combined with the lengthy vacations at most universities, this makes it relatively easy to book any trips you wish to make well in advance – allowing you to take advantage of some sizeable discounts. Make sure you use a travel agent that caters to students too; they tend to offer discounts and other incentives to those engaged in full-time study.
Fulbright, Erasmus – there are many different programmes available for students who wish to study abroad. Although it’s possible to simply apply to an institution in a foreign country, this is normally extremely expensive. Applying to study abroad through one of these programmes provides you with additional support and funding opportunities. Some of the Fulbright Awards offer full fees and funding, for example.
Aside from the major institutional cultural exchange programmes, many student clubs and societies also organise international travel – from warm weather training for athletes, to expeditions for explorers’ societies, to volunteering abroad with student charities. These societies allow students to pool their resources and book in bulk, as well as fundraising and securing sponsorship to subsidise international budget travel.
If you choose to undertake a research degree in a subject – such as International Relations or Social Anthropology – where the subject matter of your project requires fieldwork in another country, it is possible to apply for fieldwork funding; either from the university or from an external body. You get your travel paid for, you get to visit a place you’re passionate about, and it all counts as “work” – what could be better?
University life brings you into contact with people from all over the world. This doesn’t only mean you’ll get the amazing opportunity to learn more about many different cultures and countries all in one place, but it also means that you’ll make friends from those places – giving you a place to stay, and someone to show you round. Using your personal network is probably the most effective budget travel tip!
So there you have it. Not only is studying a great excuse to travel, it actually helps you to do it! If you want to see the world after your undergraduate degree, why not apply for a masters course, so you can earn a qualification while you see the world.