4 Things to Conquer Before Going Abroad
There is a small but growing population of students who engage in some kind of educational or work experience abroad each year. But there is an even bigger faction who don’t. What’s the biggest difference between the ones who make it on the plane and the ones who remain home? Here are a just a few road blocks that might be getting in the way:
#1 Mindset About Money
Since any type of travel abroad indisputably takes some amount of cash to happen, our choices about going abroad are impacted by our choices about money. There are a myriad of money mindsets that prevent saving for a larger travel experience; the I-can’t-give-up-my-daily-latte mindset, the I’m-not-a-budgeter mindset, the I’ll-wait-for-a-windfall-of-cash mindset. Unless you can transform these thoughts and behaviors, you might get stuck and never make it on that plane. There are three concrete things you can do to stop these habits from stopping you! First, draw up a PLAN with a trusted mentor or friend that includes the what, why and where of a travel experience. Next, ASK your advising institution (like World Endeavors) to steer you toward ways to finance your experience. Would financial aid work for your program? Are there grants or discounts you can use? Is there a more affordable option you could consider? Also, don’t forget to ASK family and friends to contribute money toward your goal at holidays and birthdays. Many love the chance to help fund something that will grant lifelong memories. And finally SAVE. Save in small ways (cut out small luxuries) and save in big ways (work an extra job, devoting all funds to the big goal). Saving is easier when you prioritize.
#2 Fear of the Unknown
Another big barrier, fear of the unknown, is a huge de-motivator. Questions about big things like safety and loneliness or little things like WiFi connection or food options seem to put the brakes on plans for some individuals. Finding a reliable organization that has a history of organizing successful programs for inexperienced travelers is the way to remedy these fears. To be sure, you will need to stretch beyond your comfort zone when you travel abroad. But guidance toward a program that is a good fit makes these growth experiences fun and exciting rather than completely disorienting. WE guides many new travelers toward safe, enriching programs that are just right for first experiences. And our pre-departure preparation is invaluable in making the transition to a new culture.
The perpetual state of busyness seems to be the new normal for our culture and it can definitely get in the way of taking time out for travel. Students are consumed with school, work and extra activities and the obligations seem to multiply once it’s time to find a job. If you tend to be a busy person who has your next 5 years planned out in detail, you may need to make a sacrifice to travel abroad. We tend to think of sacrifices as bad, but be bold and challenge this stereotype. Oftentimes, the things we make sacrifices for tend to be even sweeter and more meaningful to us in the long run. Try getting out your calendar and carving out the time with a highlighter. Just imagine how good the future you will feel when you look back and remember the time you took to see a new part of the world.
#4 Imagined Immortality
It’s incredibly difficult to imaging running out of time or opportunities when a you are in your twenties. You will simply have to try to believe people when they tell you that you won’t live forever and that NOW is a really good time to do things that are important to you. Traveling changes the way you think about the world and having a significant, positive paradigm shift (made possible by travel) is really useful to encounter in one’s youth. Meaningful experiences abroad help to develop empathy, wisdom, and perseverance. The type of international travel that World Endeavors offers is also valuable for your resume. There are so many great benefits that lie on the other side of these hurdles. Making travel a priority and finding ways to push through these challenges will pay off in the end.
Posted by World Endeavors on January 7, 2017
World Endeavors believes that international travel has the power to change lives, broaden horizons, and deepen intercultural understanding. The world is undergoing rapid changes, with societies becoming more interconnected and environmentally aware; at the same time a more challenging global economy inspires in many a need to reach out and make a positive difference while seeking personal growth opportunities. There has never been a better time than now to travel abroad.