I am a language lover and a travel enthusiast, so maybe my opinion is a bit biased, but I firmly believe every young person should experience life abroad at least once. After all, there is no better time but the present – seriously. Right now you are young and hopefully healthy, you’re not married, you don’t have children, you have (relatively) low debt or none at all, and you don’t have any major career commitments. Do you see where I’m going with this? Your twenties are easily the best and cheapest time for you to travel abroad and experience the world. You don’t need to have a ton of money, and you don’t need to speak any other languages. You just have to do some planning and pack some clothes. We’re giving you a head start below.
1. Sign up for a study abroad program.
The possibilities are endless. UF’s International Center website includes a detailed study abroad program search page. Tell it where you want to go, what you want to study and when you want to leave, and it will show you all the programs that meet your needs. Now if only we could search by best food…
UF Study Abroad Program Search: http://www.ufic.ufl.edu/SAS/ProgramSearch.html
2. Intern abroad.
What could be better than spending a summer in London? Getting paid to spend a summer in London. Finding an internship abroad, paid or unpaid, can be time consuming but well worth the effort. You can find international internship opportunities on the UF Career Resource Center by logging in with your Gator1 ID and clicking on the Going Global icon.
UF CRC International: http://www.crc.ufl.edu/students/studentinternationalexperience.html
3. Teach English abroad.
If you are graduating soon and weren’t able to take part in a study abroad program, you should consider teaching English abroad. Most schools abroad expect you to have a bachelor’s degree and a Teaching English as a Second Language (TEFL) Certification. You can become TEFL certified from the comfort of you couch by completing an online course, like TEFLonline.com, or you can choose to do a month-long class abroad at any of a number of TEFL programs.
TEFL Online: http://www.teflonline.com/
TEFL International: http://www.teflinternational.com/
International TEFL Academy: http://www.internationalteflacademy.com/
TEFL Worldwide Prague: http://www.teflworldwideprague.com/
4. Plan a backpacking trip
This is not for the lazy at heart. A backpacking trip can be one of the most amazing adventures in you life, but it takes some planning beforehand if you want things to go smoothly. However, if you cannot do a study abroad program or cannot afford to take months off to teach English abroad, a backpacking trip is may be the cost-effective answer for you. The trick is to find good travel deals, travel very light, be prepared to sleep in hostels or on couches and have an open mind.
Couch surf you way around the world: https://www.couchsurfing.org/
Cheap flights and preplanned trips for students: http://www.studentuniverse.com/
Travel guides: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/