Are you contemplating attending college abroad? Like many college students, you may be thinking about doing so for at least a semester. If you are about to attend college and have a lifelong passion for travel, you might be giving your degree of choice a serious thought.
Perhaps the idea of being in someplace away from your comfort zone appeals to the adventurous side of you. Leaving home may thrill you as it opens up opportunities for you to explore new things. Or maybe you’re sold to the fact that traveling lets you gain a better understanding of the world in all its vastness. The thought of fully knowing the culture and integrating it as your way of life may give you satisfaction. And with all the lessons learned, you see the world a lot differently upon returning home.
Table of Contents
- Should You Study Abroad?
- Traveling Boosts Mental Health
- Want to Travel? Consider These College Degrees
- Preparing for Your Travel-filled College Life
- Are Travel Jobs Right For You?
- Pros and Cons of Travel Jobs
Should You Study Abroad?
Staying in a different country and staying there for days or months don’t instantly transform you, but wandering the streets of Helsinki or Hong Kong for a few hours leaves a “cultural footprint” within you. Often, you find it either hard to ignore or recognize. When people observe “something’s changed with you” or that “you’re different” could be an indication that the foreign culture you’ve immersed yourself into has significantly impacted your way of life.
Jonah Lehrer in Imagine has paralleled this observation with a similar study conducted by Kellogg School of Management along with INSEAD. Curiously, the study also revealed that students who live abroad and engage in the local culture solve difficult problems more creatively than those who choose to live or study abroad without efforts to connect with their local environment.
The infusion of a different culture cultivates open-mindedness among students. This lets them realize that a single thing may have “multiple meanings attached to it.” Though it is hard to pinpoint if this is a causal or correlative finding, a wide experience influences us to look into a problem from various perspectives.
Multi-million dollar research spearheaded by U.S. Travel Association launched the study called “The Travel Effect.” The research is still ongoing, but there are a few interesting ideas that you may want you to take traveling seriously:
- Students who study abroad are 40% more likely to complete their degree and earn more than their home-bound peers.
- Workers who are constantly traveling are more productive with higher morale. They tend to focus more on the job with less burnout.
- Travel and tourism is a major economic contributor, saving each U.S. household $1,000 in taxes.
- Traveling supports U.S. economic growth by generating up to 14.4 million jobs with $124 billion in domestic tax revenues.
Traveling Boosts Mental Health
We know that dark chocolates have a positive effect on the body when enjoyed in moderation. But is this the case with traveling? Science says so.
Traveling and vacation are almost mutually exclusive. It’s exhilarating, and you’re excited to explore the place where you’ll be staying. In addition, evidence shows that traveling can boost emotional and mental well-being.
It is a stress reliever.
For students, studying can become just another daily routine. But traveling abroad as part of your educational journey offers a fresh take on the environment. It is a breath of fresh air, they would say. When you let your mind wander and explore places, you feel relaxed and content. It brings you clarity. As such, you can better reflect on your degree as it relates to your goals and pursuits.
It prompts you to reinvent yourself.
When you’re uprooted from your usual setting, you are forced to adapt to your environment. A great adventure seeker finds guidance from locals. Your “feel” of the environment, how others think, and how you relate to them enrich your experience. Experiential traveling changes you into a better thinker in ways you had never known.
Traveling provides a “fresh start. “
If you’ve just had a major transition in life, traveling provides a “reboot” of sorts. If your previous environment wasn’t as supportive, this transition might offer opportunities you never imagined possible.
It gives satisfaction and fulfillment.
Traveling allows you to get away from the daily grind. New events and experiences stimulate your brain, thereby boosting your self-confidence and overall mood. Traveling gives you that feeling of “anticipation” of something new and different.
Want to Travel? Consider These College Degrees
Now that you’ve seen all the good that traveling offers, it’s time to look into college degrees that lead to travel careers. Here are some degrees and majors that might match your needs:
If you want to have a career in foreign affairs or diplomacy, you’ll be traveling to various places overseas to help citizens living abroad. Since you’ll be stationed overseas, you will be representing the foreign policy.
International Studies major, while complex, is an exciting degree to pursue. It is an interdisciplinary program that links different social sciences, which build your diverse academic background. Gain foundational knowledge in Economics, Political Science, and the environment by which the current international relations are created in the current international state of affairs. Having the right academic background is essential for you to excel in an increasingly complex and global job market.
As an International Studies major, you are expected to understand and analyze the different aspects of world issues. This is where you can apply your knowledge in the various social sciences. As a student of international studies, you can build your cultural competency, which will you for a job in the government, specifically in international organizations, journalism, community development, foreign relations, and human rights advocacy. It is a perfect opportunity for you to study current world affairs. As a strong advocate of cooperation among states, an Internal Studies degree will make you an asset in any workplace.
Diplomats are quick to think and solve problems under pressure. The work entails you to work independently and resolve issues fast. Learning a new language to fit where you’re stationed would be a great plus. In-demand languages like Russian, Chinese, and Arabic are some you may want to look into.
Diplomats have a global mindset with broad knowledge in economics, sociology, business, and foreign languages. As a diplomat, you will also need to be good with numbers as you’ll oversee logistics and budgeting. Perks also include travel allowances, language tuition, and accommodations.
Social Science (International Development or Social Policy)
With a degree in International Development or Social Policy, you will get a better understanding of real-world issues that will prepare you for many job opportunities that will allow you to see the world. Graduates take on jobs in international development, social welfare, and community development.
If you share the growing concern about poverty, inequality, or social exclusion, a degree in Social Science with a major in International Development or Social Policy is the perfect choice for you. The major offers an interdisciplinary critical approach to analyzing the problems in social policy and structural formation. Expect to gain expertise in Sociology, Politics, and Economics.
If you’re suited for traveling with a heart to help the under-served population in developing countries, this might be suitable for you. International aid workers need to deal with challenging situations such as conflicts and epidemics.
Your duties may include creating reports and fundraising activities, collaborating with public authorities and NGOs. Field workers need exceptional communication skills for effective dialogues with communities and authorities. They also need to be capable of handling pressure and exhibit good decision-making abilities.
If you’re pursuing this degree, you can look into job opportunities in the field of International and Developmental workers.
This is for those who are curious about sea life and passionate about protecting it. As you very well know, 70% of the Earth’s surface is made up of water. This only means that a degree in Marine Science will be a rewarding path for you to take. But If you want to become a Marine Scientist, you need to focus your academic training on marine biology and oceanography.
Most colleges and universities in the country offer Marine Science as a minor. The curriculum is designed to complement both science and non-science college majors. This means you can take a degree in Humanities or Social Sciences and can still become a Marine Scientist and explore the world’s oceans.
You need to complete Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Geology, and Economics courses, and Sociology. This way, you can learn about the relevant contemporary environmental issues and concerns that affect us today.
On the other hand, Oceanography covers a wider scope as you’ll need to study the effects of environmental changes on marine life. You’ll be expected to travel to various parts of the world and gather data in remote places.
Medicine (Doctors Without Borders)
Just like international workers, Medicins Sans Frontiere (MSF) is not for the faint of heart. A passion for helping underserved communities in different parts of the world should be your driving force.
Doctors without Borders are modern-day heroes that deserve all the recognition they are given. The MSF-USA lives by the commitment to the principles of equity, inclusion, and respect for diversity. Doctors who commit to the cause carry out their social mission in serving their patients with respect and free of any prejudice. If you want to be a part of MSF-USA, you must embody these principles and prepare yourself for a rewarding and eye-opening experience in the field.
Expect living conditions to be very modest with scanty resources for comfort. Doctors pursuing this career aren’t keen on building wealth but on enriching themselves with experience through immersion in impoverished communities. Some professionals take this opportunity to experience different cultures and make a difference.
First, you should have a medical degree and a medical license to qualify. You will also need at least two years of medical practice. This degree (and job) requires strong leadership, flexibility, quick decision-making skills, and impressive management skills. Perks include language tuition and professional training needed before deployment to a specific country.
English or Education
Teaching is a noble profession. Teachers do not only mold minds; they also shape the future through the students they teach. If you want to play an active part in ensuring that the younger generation becomes equipped to face the future, a degree in Education is the way to do that. When you choose to major in English or Education, there will be numerous opportunities to gain international teaching experience. When you do so, you will improve your institution’s capacity and preparedness to host international students.
You can choose to major in either Elementary or Secondary Education. Both undergraduate programs are designed to prepare you for acquiring teaching credentials in the country. If you are considering a major in English or Education, you have an opportunity to land a job as a TEFL teacher abroad. Even without a transferable qualification, having these two degrees will allow you to teach English as a second language.TEFL teachers usually teach in foreign countries like Asia. Primarily, you will be teaching kids and adults with little to no knowledge of the English language. Individuals pursuing this career choice should be well-organized in creating lesson plans fit for a classroom setting. They should also be able to handle classes independently. Salaries usually vary, but your dollar goes a long way in places like China and Thailand.
Arts or Graphic Design
It’s incredible how technology has evolved in the digital era–with modern artistry at the forefront. It is not a surprise that first-year college students choose to major in Fine Arts. Graphic arts is a highly technical degree program that can be studied through either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree program. You will learn how to combine the latest design innovation with your passion for art and design in both programs. Through this, graphic artists can create visual communication.
Despite the fierce competition in the global arts and graphic design industry, a few exceptional individuals have excelled in their careers everywhere in the world.
Graphic designers are in demand, but it has become a saturated market for them, particularly in the freelancing arena. Arts majors usually work in the fields of technology and design. There are also “unconventional” uses for Arts majors in investing and management should this pique your fancy.
Like Doctors Without Borders, Public Health majors also can travel to places with other medical professionals to help impoverished communities. Public Health focuses on how to develop or improve a community’s capacity for disease prevention. In essence, the degree is committed to the overall improvement of human life. As a career, public health is broad, thereby generating various work opportunities. Public Health majors can take on a career as an Epidemiologist, Health Educator, and Public Relations.
Most public health professionals assigned abroad also collaborate with fellow medical professionals, NGOs, hospitals, and government institutions to address global health problems. Work may also include educating people and teaching communities about disease prevention, particularly in places where breakouts occur.
Undergraduate study in Public Health also prepares students for social work or jobs relating to public policy.
Before you start looking into jobs in one of today’s most sought-after industry, you should familiarize yourself with what the curriculum in a Business Management degree program. Simply put, the program will cover all the foundational Education and skills needed to succeed in the industry. As a Business Management major, you can expect to learn critical business principles, organizational behavior, data analytics, and human resource management. It is essential to take these courses seriously. You will gain a competitive advantage in this dynamic industry and eventually venture into career opportunities abroad.
With competition becoming increasingly stiff and competitive, business degrees are in high demand. An eye for global shifts in businesses can make you a skilled consultant in companies and firms across the globe. A genuine passion for business and thirst for knowledge on current market trends may land you suitable employment everywhere in the world.
Business Management or International Business degree internships are afforded to select undergraduates who display exemplary achievements and dedication to community involvement to alleviate the socioeconomic status of their community.
What can you do with a Business Management degree? Here’s a video of 7 potential career paths:
Environmental Engineering is a branch of engineering with a sole focus on alleviating pollution through waste reduction. The field is also dedicated to finding long-term solutions to remedy environmental conditions. If you choose to major in Environmental Engineering, you will design technologies and processes that will control pollution and find ways to eliminate and eventually remove existing contamination.
Environmental Engineers are highly-regarded professionals, especially today as the world faces climate change. Expect a busy but rewarding career while designing and implementing innovative measures to remediate threats to the environment. You will spend a lot of time outside your office and be out in the field instead. Those pursuing a degree in Environmental Engineering course may find themselves landing a job that requires a lot of planning and traveling – and keeping the environment clean and green!
If you’ve been curious about anything about Earth science, then landing a job as a geologist might be an appealing career path. Geoscientists predominantly spend their time outdoors or looking into mineral sources. Unearthing extracts from these land sources are then brought back for testing specifically for commercial or scientific purposes. You need to be good at collecting and analyzing data from these extracts. Geoscientists often have a lot of travels analyzing and learning at the same time.
First, you need to earn an undergraduate degree in Bachelor of Science in Geoscience. Geoscience is one of the many degree programs under the STEM academic strand. As a B.S. in Geoscience major, you will acquire critical thinking, technical communication, problem-solving, and data analysis techniques. To further strengthen your academic competencies, you can choose to minor in Geophysics, Geology, or Hydrology. With an interdisciplinary curriculum, you will be prepared for a variety of careers in Geoscience. As a Geoscience major, you will gain a well-rounded study of earth science, making you an asset in the industry. An advanced degree in Geology or Petroleum Engineering may be required for high-level positions, especially in research facilities.
An advanced degree in Geology or Petroleum Engineering may be highly necessary for you to land a good job in this industry.
A degree in Biology will open a multitude of opportunities for you. You can land a career in Medicine, Agriculture, Genetic Engineering, and Zoology. In general, Biology focuses on examining living organisms and how they interact with the environment. While it is a complex subject, it remains an exciting field where you can incorporate other critical sciences. You acquire foundational knowledge in Anatomy, Ecology, Chemistry, Botany, Genetics, and Pathology. With the advancing technologies in scientific research and medicine, Biology majors have an advantage in tackling the issues that impact human lives and other living organisms.
If you have a passion for protecting wildlife, pursuing a study in Biology will give you a broad spectrum of opportunities in this field. Your work entails a lot of time outdoors, collecting and analyzing data, and developing actionable strategies to preserve wildlife habitats and inhabitants. Pursuing a career as a Fish and Game Warden could land you a job in various places in the world. Because there is a law component to this job title, a degree in Law is a plus.
Preparing for Your Travel-filled College Life
Before finally deciding on your University of choice, here are few tips to make college life easier:
- Check the bus routes. Unless you own a vehicle, you might be spending time using the bus for transportation. Ask locals for the bus routes and look for the quickest ways to move around town. Look into bus prices and alternative routes to get you to your locations faster. This may seem like a boring task, but it’s going to be worth it later–especially if you’re not a morning person.
- Save as much as you can. You will likely be provided with accommodation and allowances for moving during college. While you could use help from mom and dad, you should learn how to budget. Avoid eating out all the time and get a job to earn money while attending college.
- Wash your clothes. This is a simple skill that most college students ignore. Just like budgeting, washing your clothes can save you money.
- Learn to love your own company. It can (and it will!) get lonely. Being away from those you love and far from where you grew up can make you homesick. Though you can essentially find new friends in college, you will still miss the comfort of home. Make peace with being on your own. Keeping hobbies that you enjoy either with others or on your own during your “alone” time will keep loneliness at bay.
- Stick to a routine that works for you. This will provide a pattern for keeping your life organized. It provides the framework for keeping your social and school life in balance. Will some Netflix binge help you avoid the dreaded burnout? After a nerve-racking exam, calm your mind by heading out to the beach with your friends. Keep yourself motivated while staying on track with your goals.
Are Travel Jobs Right For You?
Before you go for a college degree that allows you to travel, it’s best to know first if travel jobs are right for you in the first place. Several factors will help you determine if these types of careers are suitable for you. Before you determine what degree and where you will attend higher education, evaluate first what is involved in careers that involve traveling before you finally make a decision.
Pros and Cons of Travel Jobs
- You can visit a new location. Careers that involve traveling take you to new locations anywhere. Although you are primarily traveling for work, make sure you have extra personal time to explore a new area. Check out the landmarks, try out new food. This is the number one factor why so many students love the idea of enrolling in degrees that allow them to travel.
- You meet and build a network with different people. As you travel, you have the opportunity to work and meet new people. You build connections with your new clients, vendors, and other professionals in your industry. If you have a bigger network, you’re likely to expand your career growth easily.
- You will experience working on different schedules. Most travel jobs do not follow a specific routine. There may be days that you will spend a whole week working, then have a four-day break. Or maybe you will work on varying working shifts. With this type of shifting, you can avoid the working fatigue that some career professionals experience when they strictly follow a routine.
- You build stronger and better professional relationships. Careers in tourism or sales usually involve traveling with coworkers. Traveling with the same workers allows you more time to bond with them, resulting in stronger and better relationships. And when a team has a solid professional bond, this helps everybody stay productive and motivated.
- You are prone to a lot of stress. For some people, long-distance traveling can be stressful. And when you travel to a specific location to do certain duties (like making calls), you need to meet deadlines in a very short period. This can be extremely stressful.
- It’s hard to stay healthy. Because you are constantly on the rod, regular exercise and proper diet may be none of your concerns. You will spend a lot of time sitting, plus your dining options are limited. This makes it challenging to maintain a proper exercise routine and a steady diet.
- You will have a hard time connecting with local workers. A job that entails traveling also means you will work from another office most of the time. This makes it challenging to connect with your coworkers. Because you spend less time with them in your local office, it will be hard for you to build relationships with them.
- Not enough time than what you expected. Most people choose to have a job that allows them to travel because they want to see and explore new destinations. However, this doesn’t apply to all situations! Possibly, you do not have the personal time you expected. Travel jobs will sometimes require you to meet quotas and deadlines. This leaves you less (or even) no time to experience and explore the destination.