Travel Opportunities

As a student, you will notice that people in high places are going to be willing to do all sorts of favors for you to help you get ahead in any way they can. They will see you as a young person in a formidable stage of life, which is good, because you are, and you should take advantage. This is where fundraising, sponsorship, recommendations, referrals, mentorships, and other requests come as benefits to you. Something else that is wonderful to have in your pocket is the opportunity to travel. Take a look around. Swimming meets away from home, physics conferences in other cities, spring break trips in different countries, volunteer traveling in other states. Do it all!

I want to focus on how important it is for you to take advantage of the travel opportunities available to you in college. It is easy to find excuses to not attend these trips, so I will address the concerns you might have. Money, for example, might be on the top of your list for why you should ignore an invitation from your club members to go to Egypt. The $800 fee seems over the top, and you really should be saving, because you are on a scholarship or financial aid and more important expenses will come up. I agree with you. Yes, that may all be true. But now go on the Internet and look up the price for a round way ticket from wherever you are to Egypt. Now, take into account how much it will cost to eat, party, pay for rent, wash your clothes, buy souvenirs, or pay for Internet and electric bills, transportation and possibly someone to translate the entire time you are there. Oh, you don’t have to pay for any of that stuff and will be in a group that speaks English? Perfect, because $800 is an amazing deal, and that is what you should keep in mind. You will never be offered this trip for a low price again, because as an adult everyone will want you to pay for everything for yourself, but once you tack on the word ‘student’, all these magical routes become available to you.

Maybe the money isn’t the issue. I know girls that did not want to leave their boyfriends behind, so they declined offers to take a semester to study in Ireland or Ecuador. Don’t be one of those girls. You are too young to let a college love stop you from literally seeing the world. If it’s meant to be, he will be around when you get back. If not, I bet you can find someone else. Additionally, if you don’t think you want to travel, then maybe filling a spot on your resume might convince you to do so. Someone that has completed an internship in Germany with a company is going to be competitive to employers that see that, and aren’t you trying to be competitive once you graduate? The truth is that once you graduate, your degree is not going to be what sets you apart, it’s going to be what you did while you were earning your degree, and traveling can be a huge highlight and discussion point during an interview.

College is not the real world, and once you enter the real world you may never get these traveling opportunities again. How many adults with kids and a full-time career do you know that take trips to exotic countries every year or multiple times a year just to explore or volunteer? It’s possible, but rare. Embrace being a student, and go. It’s unbelievable what you can gain just from visiting another city. Even if it’s just a road trip, go. You won’t regret it.

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