Most college students can only dream of a trip around the world, with tight budgets, harsh timetables, and grueling semesters standing in the gap. Take it from those who have been there before: you can travel the world as a full-time student, and on a limited budget without beating yourself to a pulp.
The benefits of being nomadic as a young, enthusiastic scholar are limitless. You’ll have a front-row seat to new cultural immersions, which widens your perspective before your opinions are fully set. At the same time, you’ll no longer be ignorant (and arrogant in some cases) as you can interact with folks who are of higher or lower privilege.
Travelling can also give you great material to work on for your essays and is a great opportunity to understand your future career through the lens of those who are already practicing. You can learn a foreign language, cross something off your bucket list, therefore, gaining a level of fulfillment, learn to be independent and social, or even meet a future spouse or best friend… the list is endless.
With that said, as a traveling student on a stringent budget and limited time, it is important to plan your itinerary out beforehand to make the most out of every travel experience. Whether you are making a trip to the Taj Mahal, or have a safari in the Kenyan Mara planned out, here are 8 suggestions for things to do on your travels.
- Learn a bit of the local language
Traveling, whether just across the border or halfway across the world, presents a great opportunity to learn the local language. You don’t have to be an expert at this on the first attempt. However, carrying along a copy of the local dictionary will enable you to put one and two together quickly. If you have the funds to spare, you can hire a local tour guide to interpret for you. A website like FluentU is a great avenue for new language immersion.
Learning the local language will gain you the respect of the locals, and it will be a fun and more cheerful experience. With just a sample of the language, you can start making your way around without having to pay for a guide.
- Go to a local art or music festival
One of the best ways to interact with hip-and-happening locals and other travelers, and to learn much about local culture and couture is to attend art festivals. It is not only a great way to unwind but is also one of the best ways to purchase cheap artifacts and clothing items, and have an authentic gastronomic experience.
- Visit as many cultural and historical monuments as you can
Students usually lack interesting topics to write their essays on or to motivate their research. A professional essay writer may do the trick for you, but this won’t be anything compared to the authenticity of work produced from a life-changing visit to a sanctuary of local history. Almost every country has a place of cultural and historical significance. To boost tourism, authorities always give great discounts, especially to visiting students. Therefore, take full advantage of these.
- Visit one of the local colleges or universities
It can be an eye-opening experience, especially if you can sit in a course similar to yours. The local school department would probably be happy to have an international student sit in a class or two and share insights. Not only is it some free tuition, but you also get the opportunity to mingle with students on the same career path as you in a completely different environment, and make some new friends.
- Travel using local transportation means
Transportation around some countries can be horrible. Traffic in Jakarta, New Delhi, Bangkok, and Nairobi can be a mess during peak hours. It’s no traveler’s idea of comfort to be cruising at Mach speeds down a busy highway on the back of a rickety motorcycle or a ‘Tuk-tuk’ in an ambiance of smog and dust. However, it is one of the best ways to feel like a local, and to have truly authentic travel experience, besides saving you lots of cash in taxi fees.
- Eat local food from a local food market
You don’t always have to eat fancy or at a joint that you are used to, say a Starbucks or KFC. Local food tastes different from what you are used to, and 9 out of 10 times is always more delicious than you anticipated. It’s better to follow recommendations and reviews on trusted travel sites like TripAdvisor, just so that you don’t end up with a case of a stomach bug.
- If you can, work a part-time job in your desired field
If you absolutely can and have the time, this is one of the best ways to develop professionally. Prior arrangements would have to be made, but employers everywhere are always happy to have a set of foreign eyes on their teams. It will look great on your resume, and you could make a little extra spending cash on the side.
- Have at least one outdoor camping experience
Every country has a different feel of its atmosphere, its earth, its water, and everything in-between. Take advantage of the great outdoors to feel true immersion, through hiking, camping, backpacking, open traveling, and anything else available. Take lots of photos and make the best memories of your life. Hey, you might even end up starting a travel blog!