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Today, the world is getting smaller and more people are on the road for large portions of the year. It may be for one’s own or a spouse’s work, that travel is cheaper and easier than ever before, obligations to children and other family members, or simply the desire to be mobile and explore as much of the world as possible. Regardless of the reason, many people believe that to maintain their lifestyle, they must sacrifice educational and career advancement pursuits to be on the road. This could not be further from the truth! Worldwide travel while studying can be done.
I recommend that you read how Leela of Life Overgrown manage to integrate learning and playing while traveling around the world with her kids.
Keep reading to learn about the reasons in which it is possible to be a student traveler and how to make the process easier.
1. There are plenty of online programs.
Fully online programs are growing, not just through local curriculums like their state-run ones, but internationally as well. Even some well-known traditional institutions are launching fully online programs. US News offers a list of the current best online colleges to consider. Individual courses from these universities are also available through sites like Coursera and Masterclass.
All you need to complete your degree online is a reliable computer and internet connection when working on assignments. Most programs have weekly deadlines for assignments that can be completed and submitted anytime. Any video conferences or required face to face meetings can usually either be waived or planned far in advance and not all programs even have such requirements.
2. Staggered courses allow you more flexibility.
All institutions of higher education are aware of the growing population of busy students. More people are going back to school later in life to pursue second careers and advanced opportunities. More students are older, currently working, and have greater family obligations. Even first time and younger students are facing financial pressure to work while going to school and academic pressure to maintain larger amounts of extracurricular activities in addition to academic pursuits. For this reason, colleges are becoming more flexible about degree completion timelines. It is possible to take courses in between time spent traveling and to take lighter course-loads within a year depending on the situation.
3. You can get credits from your experience abroad.
Many education programs offer travel as part of the academic journey. Courses can be completed at satellite campuses or affiliated institutions both within the United States and abroad. Traditional institutions offer opportunities to complete parts of courses remotely, even if they are not officially online institutions or programs. Sometimes paid and volunteer work completed from anywhere may be applied towards credits in place of traditional coursework if it is related to the subject. Some professors and institutions encourage this experiential learning.
Getting the Right Gear
You won’t get far with any of the above options if you aren’t connected. Be sure no matter what course you choose, you have a good device to get you there. Online schooling will require you to be online at least some of the time. Some courses might require special programs or software. Be sure you have a few devices available should something happen during your journey, and that they can hold a charge for a while. You can find a portable charger for long airport stays and cafe-hopping. You would also need a Wi-Fi solution that easily detects and connects to an available local network wherever you are.
One of the hardest parts of traveling, let alone traditional schooling, is developing good time management skills. It takes a lot of practice and effort to be able to self-manage your time and work. Combining your education with travel can be difficult, but when you stick to a schedule and work out a list that needs to be completed each day, you’ll be on the right track. Try to do at least one class, one assignment, or one section each day. When you complete small goals you’ll feel more accomplished and still feel like you have time to soak up the sights. Be mindful of time-zones and changes in where you are, versus the online classroom. Maybe you’ll need to turn in assignments in the morning, or later at night.
These three methods for traveling while studying offer a great deal of flexibility. Instead of trying to fit your life to your education, fit your education to your life! Get learning and start exploring your options today.
Have you studied abroad while traveling? Share your experience in the comments.