There was a time when students had to choose between adventure and education – a time when the thought of combining long-distance travel and study would have been enough to send most people running for the hills. Luckily, those days are over, and more students than ever are choosing to undertake a formal education while making their way around the world. Indeed, you’ll perhaps be pleased to know that it’s perfectly possible to study and travel simultaneously, just as long as you’re prepared to be organized and are serious about your commitments to your studies – and adventures.
Choose the right course
Are you traveling in order to enrich your education, or studying so that you can carve out a career once you return? Understanding your reasons for studying while traveling will ensure that you retain your motivation for the duration of your trip – and help you to remain focused when the lure of an adventure proves too much. It’s also essential to choose your program of study wisely; the course and study material should inspire each day and every new exploit rather than encumbering them. Online courses, such as those offered by Maryville University, provide a wealth of rich, flexible options that can be undertaken while you’re many miles from home. This is a unique opportunity to experience your subject first-hand, and to enrich your study with a myriad of personal experiences – don’t waste a single moment.
Make sure that your equipment is up to the task
You’re going to end up in hot water if you attempt to complete your studies with anything less than a laptop, study sheet, and access to your research, and even this relatively light load is pushing things somewhat. It is essential that wandering students remain connected to the rest of the world, as well as being prepared for any eventuality likely to befall them. For this reason, your bag should include a laptop with wireless capabilities, international adapters for your gadgets, a smartphone or tablet device as a backup, and a camera to document your travels – as well as any learning resources that will assist your studies. You may also wish to look into the kinds of apps that are going to enlighten your journey, such as those offering currency converters, maps, translation, and city guides.
Being a student is difficult at the best of times; with all of those deadlines, course dates, exam dates, and schedules to remember, it’s a wonder that many students manage to appear anywhere on time. Prior to your departure, make a list of term dates, exams, assignment deadlines, and the virtual study sessions that you’ll be expected to attend; set yourself reminders in your smartphone. If you’re able to plan your travel schedule around your study commitments, even better; make sure that you’ll be near, or have access to, a decent wireless connection whenever you have pressing deadlines. Finally, be mindful of local time zones, and research the types of research facilities that you’ll have access to on your travels – that local library may well become a lifesaver.
Condense your reading list
Once you’ve been accepted onto your chosen program of study, you’ll doubtless be sent a list of the reading material that you’ll be expected to purchase in order to complete your course. These texts are likely to be integral to your understanding of the course material, but how can you take that many textbooks across borders with you? Familiarize yourself with the reading list prior to your departure, and download as many texts as you can to your e-reader or smartphone; condensing the list in this way will ensure that you always have your source material with you. Now may also be a good time to bookmark useful online resources, and to document the places that you’d like to visit in order to better grasp your subject.
Make time for your studies
Your journey is going to be filled with compromise at every turn, so prepare yourself by making a list of the activities that you’d really like to do. Similarly, what kinds of hours are you likely to have to dedicate to studying in order to get each assignment or module completed on time? Plan your vacation or travels around your study commitments, leaving plenty of time for the fun endeavors that you’d planned. Draw up a mock schedule, penciling in the hours when you’re hoping to do a little work. Reading and assignments are well suited to long journeys, so be sure to fill train, bus, or boat trips with work so that you can enjoy the view when you get there.
If you’ve made a conscious decision to study while traveling, then we wish you every success on your adventure; seeing the world in such a way is an incredible opportunity, and you might even learn something as you go. Be sure to reward each study goal with a new activity or sight, and always document your travels as you embark upon them. Who says that you can’t have the best of both worlds these days?