It seems there are only two choices available to recent high school graduates. They can either go directly into higher education, or they can take a gap year. If they are lucky, have savings, or are just the sort who are confident enough to buy a bus ticket and figure it out on the way, that gap year will mean travel.
You don’t have to choose, however. You can do both and learn more than you ever would doing one at a time or choosing one over the other. Travel is the world teaching you. A degree is professionals educating you. Don’t choose, you can use these options to enjoy both great teachers at the same time:
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1. Choose a Degree that Includes Travel
Many universities and colleges have student exchange programs, but these can be hard to get on and even more difficult to pay for. That is why you need a degree where the travel is built into the cost. This way, your loan will cover it, and you can enjoy learning while you travel.
https://www.nec.edu/, for example, allows you to study a variety of subjects in some of the hottest destinations around your winter or spring break. Marine biology students can learn in Belize, art students can spend a month in Italy, and so on. You’ll learn more about your area of interest, about the world, and, most importantly, more about yourself.
2. Learn Online
If you want to travel and study but want the freedom to travel where you want and when you want, then you will need to do both at the same time. This can be done by choosing an entirely online degree and then traveling while you are at it. This can get very stressful, so when you travel, aim to do it as slowly as possible. Instead of packing up and living out of your backpack, find a place to live for a month or more, and explore the place slowly. You can even get a job with this method so you can support yourself on the go.
3. Complete Summer Courses
Another great way to study and travel is to look for short courses that are either in something you are interested in or will work towards your dream job. You often won’t need a visa either for short courses, so you can travel around the world and learn during your college breaks.
4. Take a Language Course
Being multilingual in an international community is a powerful asset, and the best place to learn a new language is in a country where it is spoken widely. Being so fully immersed in the language will help you pick it up faster and actually give you ample opportunity to speak and converse with the locals.
5. Be Taken on by an International Organization
Look for internships or other working opportunities that send you to new locations around the world. You will be learning under experts in their field and get the opportunity to see new places you never would have otherwise. It is ideal particularly for those in the sciences or in policy degrees, especially if you can take an internship year off like this and put it towards your degree.