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Study Abroad Now or Independent Travel Later


Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: February 13th, 2007

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  • Added on: February 17th, 2007
I have several different opportunities to study abroad through my university all over the world. I pay my home school tuition and I just have to pay living fees to the university I choose. The professors keep saying it "will look good on your resume," but I think that any amount of long term travel would look good, even if it wasn't in college. I was wondering if it would be best to wait and travel independently after I graduate college?


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Lost in Place
Posts: 61
Joined: February 19th, 2006

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  • Added on: February 20th, 2007
Go! Traveling on your own is great, but unless you are doing something and not just bumming around it won't do much for a resume. BUT if you go to school there, with possibly an internship that will really turn heads after college.

I wish I would have done that, but it was cheaper for me to bum around europe for a couple of months. You can always travel for fun, but how often can you go to school in a different country and pay your school's tuition? Not often.

What are you going to school for?


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Extra Pages in Passport
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Joined: August 20th, 2003
Location: Edmonton, Canada

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  • Added on: February 21st, 2007
Do both. Sure, this may mean waiting longer before the independant travel can happen, but it will be worth it.

Living in a different country is completely different from just visiting, and there's not that many situations where it's easy actually get that living experience. Studying abroad is one of those situations, so it's well worth it to take the opportunity while you have it.


Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
Posts: 367
Joined: March 17th, 2005

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  • Added on: February 27th, 2007
Last summer I travelled independently for about 6 weeks, split in half by a summer school session in Turkey. It was all fantastic, but studying in Turkey was much more meaningful experience, as I got to make some local friends, get to know the culture and the city better, etc, etc. It's a lot harder to do that hopping around place to place. And independent travel probably won't look good on your resume, as others have said.


Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: February 13th, 2007

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  • Added on: March 17th, 2007
Thanks for the feedback


Lost in Place
Posts: 55
Joined: March 26th, 2007

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  • Added on: May 20th, 2007
I would take the opportunity to travel during schooling. You can always travel independently later on if you enjoy the experience.


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World Citizen
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Joined: March 25th, 2005
Location: Republic of Cascadia

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  • Added on: May 29th, 2007
I chose to delay and travel after graduation. I'm glad I did because 1) I loved my school, 2) I got the chance to double major, and 3) I didn't have to leave my friends.

I took off for a one-year RTW trip after college graduation. Obviously I was lucky - most people can't afford to do that. So I would say do as much travel as you can afford. If you can do both, then do it. If travel during college is your only opportunity, then take advantage of it.

And definitely take advantage of the opportunity to live with a host family when you study abroad. It's very difficult to do this during solo/independent travel.


Guidebook Dependent
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Joined: June 6th, 2008

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  • Added on: June 7th, 2008
Do both! I am. I studied abroad for my entire Junior year, and now that I've graduated I'm going out again!-- This time more confident with experience. And many others I know who have studied abroad were also motivated to travel again after graduation, this time with a better idea of how they ought to do it. There is no either/or. Travel as much as possible.


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Guidebook Dependent
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Joined: March 13th, 2009

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  • Added on: March 25th, 2009
Study abroad now, I did it for a year and loved it!!! Usually what happens is that you get the travel bug and then spend, every second of the day dreaming about traveling but reading travel forums and blogs!!!


Lost in Place
Posts: 50
Joined: January 5th, 2009
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

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  • Added on: March 27th, 2009
I would do both. I do wish I could go back in time to do the study abroad program. I did few of them while I was in university and really miss it. Like Conti said, you can always do the solo trip whenever you want when you are done with school. There are many benefit of being student while travel; lower price for student i.e. air ticket, museums, and so on. Plus study abroad provides you a different view on each destination with different way to meet friends, so you can take advantage of that point and keep it as a resource for your future independent travel :)
Let's have a chat in Thailand Forum ^v^ lanla lanla~


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Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 248
Joined: January 26th, 2005

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  • Added on: March 31st, 2009
General answer: both!

More specific answer: definitely study abroad while you have the chance. I did both in high school (junior year to Sweden) and university (junior year in New Zealand, which turned into my final year since I ended up transferring and settling on graduating a year earlier than planned). Living abroad, as I'm sure you know, is a completely different experience than traveling abroad- each has its own benefits and drawbacks, but it's cool to try both, and during university is one of the absolute easiest times to try out living abroad. There are scholarships, field courses overseas, tons of opportunities like that... and then, of course, there's the pretty standard study abroad. Independent study abroad is a good thing to look into (this way, you usually end up paying tuition directly to your host university rather than your home uni, which can end up being significantly cheaper. To give you an idea, a year in NZ- where I'm studying now- is about $20k US, including tuition, rent, and airfare. Tuition in Canada, where I was studying before, was about $25-27k US. Tuition in the States, where I'm originally from... well, more).

Studying abroad, far from preventing you from traveling in the future, can both save you some money and open up some cool doors in terms of post-grad job opportunities overseas, if that's something you might be interested in pursuing. Foreign employers like to see that you have experience living away from your home country.


Extra Pages in Passport
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Joined: November 19th, 2004

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  • Added on: April 14th, 2009
Study abroad while you can. Be careful to find a program with some discipline and rigour. There are too many programs that take your 20 or 30 grand and provide a sub-par education. Check around.

But by all means, study abroad for a year. It will really open your horizons, you'll make plenty of friends from another country, and you'll get an inside look at the culture you would not get just popping about and looking at the sights.

It's also very good for your resume, and don't scoff at that. If your resume doesn't look good, job hunting can be a very hard thing indeed.


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: June 30th, 2009

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  • Added on: July 3rd, 2009
As many have posted, study abroad now! I studied in Russia, Japan, the Bahamas, and finally China (my school had an awesome program). It's very hard to leave for longer periods of time, such as a few weeks or months, once you're working. Plus, if you do travel with the school, you can get class credit (no boring history class for this kid!) and it's Significantly cheaper! Just make sure that you have a professor with you that speaks the native language, and always be a smart traveler. Look up tips before you go anywhere, and learn some cultural norms that are from this millenium.

I went to Japan, and read that sitting at the table is a huge deal so don't sit until everyone else has sat down. I stayed with a host family, and they were so confused on why I wouldn't sit down at the first dinner. Made for a funny story but I'm sure I came off as this bizarre American.

Wild Jasmyne

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Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 213
Joined: June 3rd, 2004
Location: Bamako, Mali

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  • Added on: June 22nd, 2010
Absolutley study-abroad now. For one it will give you the experience you need to travel independently for longer periods. Also you will have the opportunity to be a part of a local culture for a much longer time. I was supposed to do a semeseter in Ghana until a motorcycle ruined that dream. Now I am applying to do grad school there and am so stoked about it.

There are options for studying in one country then there are things like Semester at Sea (overpriced) that takes you to many different countries. shows many programs you can do but directly enrolling with the university as an international student is almost always cheaper. The semester I wanted to do in Ghana was only going to be $3500 US! All of grad school is going to cost me $11000.

Also if you do a program that stops in the summer, you always have the option of continuing to travel for a couple months before going home.


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: July 5th, 2010
Location: Los Angeles

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  • Added on: July 8th, 2010
DO IT! You must take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad and trust me it's not the same as independent travel. I know that it may cost more sometimes to study abroad whereas you wouldn't be paying that much if you were just traveling but the experience is totally different. And I totally agree with Wild Jasmyne that when you study abroad you're there for a longer amount of time so you really are able to immerse yourself in the culture and experience everything like a local would. When you're touring the area, you're just a tourist and you don't get to fully experience the place like you normally would had you studied there.

Not only that but you'll meet other students as well where you can form life-long friendships with them even after your study abroad program is over. I made many friends when I studied abroad in Paris and I still talk to them even today. It's just an amazing experience. Although I travel a lot now, it's just not the same as when you're in college...Universities offer great programs to study abroad while offering you credit as well for school so it's awesome! Maybe if you don't wanna do a long period of time just do a summer/winter session for 2 months. Although, if you can I'd recommend you do the semester long study abroad.

I know that it may seem like a huge decision to make but sometimes you really just gotta go with it. You're still young so just enjoy it while you can. A lot of people, especially parents, were like, "Oh you're gonna be in so much debt and blah blah blah" but if I could do it again, I wouldn't do it any differently. Trust me, you won't regret this. You'll have so much fun you won't even know what homesick is.


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