With travelling abroad becoming easier and more cost-effective, many of us, particularly those who have just finished high school or college, are faced with the choice of whether to jump straight into further studies or take time out for another educational and fun endeavour – visiting different countries and experiencing cultures and lifestyles completely unlike our own.
I took a year out a couple of years into my career – and it was the best thing I ever did. If you’re thinking about it – my advice is do it. Other things can wait, but travel is something that once you settle into “grown-up life” (mortgages, kids, jobs…) it does become much harder to travel for long periods of time.
If you really can’t decide… maybe look into doing both? Study and travel – you can totally do it, and here’s how.
Pick the Right Program
These days, traveling to and staying in many countries cheaply is more possible than ever in the past. However, if you want to study at the same time, the first step would be picking a suitable course. One way to do this is to visit the websites of traditional universities, browse their online courses and choose one that you find suitable.
A second option is to visit a mediator platform, such as for instance edX. These companies allow you to study remotely and will provide you with either full, traditional university degrees or specific course certificates upon completion.
Thirdly, you can register for specific online Universities, such as for example NC IUL in the UK, which are designed in a way that would facilitate online studies as much as possible for those prioritizing flexibility.
When choosing your course though, don’t forget that you also need to ensure enough time to go sightseeing and exploring the city!
Sort Out the Basics
Are you eligible for any financial aid during your studies? If so, then make sure you have applied for it. Next, make your accommodation and travel arrangements. While staying in hostels is a highly cost-effective and comfortable method, through which you can also gain free Internet access (necessary for an online degree), many households also take travelling students and it might be an option worth exploring. Once those things have been sorted, you’re ready to purchase your plane ticket!
Keep in Touch
High speed Wi-Fi Internet is essential when studying online. You will need a functioning laptop and/or tablet to attend distance classes and to download resource materials and submit assignments. Check ahead of time that your accommodation has this covered, and think of back-up alternatives should you find yourself in a country where, for example, the Internet stops working if there is heavy rain. Purchasing SIM cards with data, suited to a particular country, is also a possibility. Finally, remember to make sure that you have adaptor plugs that safely allow you to use your devices abroad.
Consider time zone differences. If your assignment has a 9AM deadline, that’s 9AM in your instructor’s country, not in the one you are in at the particular moment. The same goes for class times. The best option is to create a schedule so that you know in advance when to attend classes, when to complete and submit your work, and when to go sightseeing.
Once these things are in place, you will be ready to participate in online studies that will allow you to gain your degree while seeing the world.