empresssound asked: Hey Lyss!
I want to be a humanitarian and travel the world... Everyone is telling me to finish college first before I start my traveling. I was also going to use a program called Workaway which allows you to volunteer in different countries and live for free... I wanted to know if you could give me any advice?
Thank you so much for your question and I am so glad you came to me for advice. Here is a post I wrote a little bit ago that will help!
Do not listen to whoever is telling you to wait to travel. Especially if you feel the urge, go for it!!! But money and safety are always an issue. Are you in college now? I started in college and it was the best decision I ever made.
1) you can pay for it through a student loan or milk you parents for money because its “educational”
2) you get college credit
3) you get health insurance through your program (you can’t travel without vaccines or health insurance)
4) it is a great way to begin traveling because you are usually in a group or with a professor. It take time before you are really comfortable being overseas without structure and this is the best way to start.
5) the sooner, the better. the sooner you start the more you will see and learn.
College is the best time to volunteer in your local community and abroad and get credit for it. Even if your college doesn’t directly offer study abroad programs, there are always ways to go through a different school and transfer the credits. Take advantage of the student loans available to you, ask your financial advisor to help you fill out the little forms and you can get thousands of dollars to use towards studying abroad.
I went to Towson University for undergrad and we had an extensive study abroad program. I went to Italy Jan 2006 for 4 weeks. We started in Rome, went down the coast seeing numerous cities and villages, made it to Sicily, and back up. I was with 20 other students, and an art history professor. We learned so much but also had freedom to explore on our own. That summer June 2006 I went to Galicia, Spain for 6 weeks for a Spanish study abroad. We ended up taking side trips to Madrid and Portugal. The next year I went to Costa Rica for study abroad for 5months. I saw the ENTIRE country, met locals, volunteered in a orphanage, and also went to Nicaragua for a few weeks.
All of this was on student loans and I paid them off in increments later on. Once you graduate, you have to find the time, money and people to travel with, which is harder than it may seem. Being with professors or a programs is the perfect way to begin to see the world. Now, I am extremely comfortable, smart, and enthusiastic about traveling.
I went to Jamaica alone for 2 weeks, volunteering in the countryside. I would never have been able to do that as my “first trip”. I also moved to Abu Dhabi for a random experience and would have never felt comfortable or been qualified if I hadn’t already had the international exposure.
When I was in grad school getting my Master’s in Latin American Economic Development I again took advantage of being a student, and took out a loan to travel to Ecuador.
In my opinion, being a student is the prime time to study and volunteer abroad!
Yes, using the internet to find volunteer programs abroad is great. I am not familiar with Workaway but some of the bigger ones, volunteer match, volunteers for peace, etc. are great but expensive. When I was in Jamaica I just linked up with a local volunteer organization and it definitely added something special to my trip. Here is an organization I highlighted in a post. If you know where you want to go, you might be able to find a local, cheap organization to meet up with in that country.
Let me know if you need anything else!!