I have had a lot of questions regarding my ability to see the world while being stuck in college finishing up my bachelor’s degree in business administration – many people assumed I just had the money and free time to be able to live that kind of lifestyle but let me tell you a little secret: I travel because of my college degree.
If you are looking for a way to combine your love for travel with your college degree, here are my 10 secrets to travel the world while being a full-time student:
1. Choose the right studies for you
Some of you may already know what they would like to study, some of you are completely clueless and some of you are already studying. If you are passionate about traveling, getting to know new cultures and people, you might want to consider studying in an international fieldor even make the decision to study completely abroad. Before I chose my studies, I knew I wanted to study something in English, in the field of business. Living two years in America, while being originally German, I knew I had to find a study in which I could continue improving and developing my English skills. In addition, I was absolutely passionate about marketing and its practices and I wanted to obtain the possibility to work all around the globe. I wanted my options to be open and decided to study international Marketing. Some of you may wonder: how should I find my right studies, if I do not know what I want?
Here are my tips:
- Visit a Study fair – get a glimpse of what the universities have to offer.
- Write down the things that you see yourself doing in the future
- Make a list of jobs that have always caught your attention, and jobs that you definitely don’t see yourself doing
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What do you like to learn more about? Remember, when choosing your studies, you commit yourself to 3-5 years of continuous learning. Don’t choose a topic that you have absolutely zero interest in.
- Schedule a meeting with a University counselor to see your possibilities.
2. Find a side job that suits you
After returning home from America, I moved directly to the Netherlands, to begin my studies in December. As a student life is knowing for, I was completely broke. I was fed up with the fact that I had no ability to travel, or the resources to live the life I was used to and decided to apply for a job right across the border, in which I worked as a marketing assistant for over a year. I got a glimpse into my future work, had flexible working hours and the ability to travel within my job. The payment was low, but I have learned a lot about marketing. So why am I telling you this?
Money doesn’t grow on trees. If you are very passionate about traveling the world while being a student, you need to be willing to work for it. Some of you may not be able to work next to a full-time study, some of you may have sufficient funding from the government or your parents that support you, but for the students which have neither of it, this is for you.
If you are willing to put the work in, inform yourself about the student job opportunities around your area. Even the jobs you do not want to do! In my last year, I jobbed as a waitress in a local restaurant. I applied without having the ability to speak proper Dutch, nor a proper application, I just tried my luck and was determined to work.
Here are my tips on finding a job around your area:
- Be pro-active and aware – Job offers are all around you! Notice the job vacancies in your surroundings. You will be surprised about how many stores are looking for help
- Use LinkedIn– If you do not have a LinkedIn profile yet, make it NOW. LinkedIn is a powerful network tool that can only work in your favor – show you expertise, your involvement, network with professionals in your field and find vacancies in your area.
- Online job portals –
Indeed andRandstadare great sources for you to find job opportunities next to your studies.
- Speak to friends and acquaintances – you probably know people that already have a job. Ask them for information, or recommendations to find a job, Word of mouth is a powerful tool.
- Ask your university – some universities give you the possibilities to work for them – Open Days, Events, representing the University or even working in the library or canteen – there are surely possibilities for you.
3. Inform yourself about funding options
Do not make do the same mistake as me – do your research! There are so many opportunities for you as a student to receive funds, loans, grants
Once I applied for the German funding program (BaFög) and I received a rejection – I didn’t think of asking anywhere else. But, there were so many ways for me to receive funding without my knowledge!
For example, if you are an international student working 56 hours a month in the Netherlands, you are able to receive the student loan and grants as any other Dutch citizen. I only found out after four years of living here.
So here are the things you need to keep in mind:
- Do your research, inform yourself prior your study about the funding options for the country of your choice
- Apply months ahead – the time that it takes to administrate your funds are long – so make sure to apply months ahead to receive the funding in time.
- Check student discount options – Amazon offers free Amazon Prime for college students, while Spotify offers a 50% discount on Spotify premium – and there are so many more possibilities as a student to receive discounted offers! ASOS, Adidas and other brands all offer discounts on products for students.
- Research insurance and living funds possibilities – The Netherlands offers funds for people with a lower income, taking over parts of the costs for rent and insurances
4. Prioritize your spending
Oh that is probably the toughest one for most people – me included! I am just like anyone else – I like to live according to “treat yo self” while also figuring out a way to save up money for the future and future trips. So how do you find the balance between saving up and those “treat yo self” moments?
- Open up a savings account – add a feasible amount of money each month into the account without touching the funds. I say feasible because it is important that you still have enough money each month to pay your bills. Call it your travel fund.
- Have a clear goal in mind – Make SMART goals when it comes to your spending. Do you really wish to visit Australia this year? Specify it. Make an action plan. How
muchfunds do you need to have to travel to Australia? How long do you want to stay? In which month do you want to go? Is it feasible? How lavish do you want to travel? Budgeting your travels in advance will help you to collect the money that you need.
- Minimize other costs – For example, buying your fruits and vegetables at the local market while spending less eating out. By keeping your goals in mind, you will be able to distinguish between your needs and wants.
5. Join Student associations
Inform yourself about the different student associations at your university! Even the smallest universities offer a wide range of student associations – and if not, open your own student association. I was fortunate enough to become chairperson of our student fraternity in the second year of college – a cultural fraternity set to show international students the Netherlands – and travel with them to different cities. We had trips to Amsterdam, organized Pub Crawls to Groningen and even visited Paris for a total price of 40 Euros!
In addition, Student associations usually receive funding’s from the University itself, which makes it a cheap option for you to travel – inform yourself about your possibilities.
6. Join Ambassador teams
Certainly, some universities offer students the possibilities to work as ambassadors for the university – especially when you are an international student coming from a different country, you are easily asked to join the ambassador program.
You have the opportunity to visit study fairs and universities from all around the world by representing your university. Best thing about it: the travel expenses are covered by the University!
7. Erasmus+ Program
This one is for my fellow European students – “Erasmus+is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Its budget of €14.7 billion will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, and gain experience abroad.”
The Erasmus+ program offer you funding each month for 12 months when you decide to study abroad. Whether it is a minor program abroad or an international internship, you are able to receive a grant each month to finance your stay abroad.
For more information about the Erasmus+ Program, go on theirwebsiteand consult the Erasmus office in your university. They will provide you the information, documents and facts you need.
8. Choose an international internship
At least once, you will have the opportunity to do an internship within your study program – use this chance to find a company abroad. Choosing an internship in a different city, country or even continent will give you the opportunity to travel and the possibility to learn a lot more about your choice of studies and various business cultures.
You can find an internship using websites as for example Graduateland.com or LinkedIn, using your own network to find the suitable placement company and country you would like to explore. I used my international internship joining a booming StartUp, named TravelPerkin Barcelona, Spain. Not only did I have the most amazing time exploring Barcelona, I gained the most valuable working experiences throughout my internship.
Here are the Pro’s of choosing an internship abroad:
- Experience the country as a local, not as a traveler
- Learn how to work and deal with different cultures in your work environment
- Make new friends from all over the world = more traveling in the future!
- Learn how to be independent
- May even learn a new language
9. Join excursions
Being an international student studying an international program requires you to take possibilities in your career. Make use of these possibilities as much as you can!
I visited Manchester for a Heritage Marketing program which lasted for five days and ended up doing a road trip through the England and Scotland. Then I got the chance to visit Helsinki, Finland for a company collaboration project in school. And finally, I visited Budapest, Hungary for the possibility to be part of the Trade mission 2017. All of these trips had one thing in common: they were meant to educate us. I joined these trips for the sake of traveling and the possibility to enhance my future career. Talk to your study coach or counselor to receive information about possible excursions, company visits and student projects.
10. Take budget weekend trips
There are so many possible options to spend a weekend away from home. Flights from Amsterdam to London can be around 15 Euros if you are lucky! Tour operators offer weekend trips to different European capitals, and there are so many deals online offered specifically for student, fitting right into your budget.
These links are highly recommended for your next trip:
If you are looking for more travel information, click here.