The Advantages of International Travel for a Well-Rounded Education

As a high school student you have the option to take a gap year and travel; the question is, should you take it? Many students worry about taking time out to travel due to several reasons; the first is obviously money. They also worry that their peers will complete college ahead of them and get better job opportunities. There are many advantages to travelling a few countries before you head off to college. The first is that it prepares you for the challenges that you will face in college. College is not all about partying and fun – on the contrary, today colleges are highly stressful environments where students not only have to keep up with rigorous academic standards, they also have to make tough decisions. That is where travelling helps – when you are out there by yourself you have to make decisions on a constant basis and you don’t have your parents to help you. You have to decide about flights, accommodation, food and even which strangers to engage with.

It helps your decision making faculties mature almost overnight. There are other benefits to using your gap year for travel:

  • By the time most students are ready for college they are suffering from burn-out. They have hit the books so hard that they are psychologically exhausted. Travelling is one of the best ways to unwind. They only thing you will do for a whole year is moving through different places and absorb new cultures.

  • You will end up being a well rounded student because you will have been exposed to different cultures. It teaches you that there is a different way of thinking and that people who do things differently are also successful. It also teaches you that consumerism, which is rampant in America, is not the only way to live – as you travel you will come across communities that thrive without spending thousands of dollars every month.
  • Travelling can help you have a whole new perspective of what you want to study in college. It is an eye-opening way to see what opportunities are out there. You may even find yourself changing colleges in order to study a new field that you learnt about as you travelled.
  • Travelling will immerse you in brand new languages, and polyglots are known to do much better in life. You will be able to interact with students from other countries when you are in college and better yet, you will be able to apply for jobs in other countries – they pay a lot better than local opportunities.

What about the issue of money?

True, not many students can afford the kind of money that it takes to do conventional travelling, but there are many ways to travel on the cheap these days. There are websites where you can join so that you can get free accommodation in other people’s homes – all you have to do is allow them to stay in yours if they are ever in your neck of the woods. You can also avoid flying and as much as possible travel by road and train. As for food, don’t eat gourmet and your budget will do just fine. Lastly, don’t plan to spend a lot of time in the big cities – they are ultimately more expensive.

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