What are the benefits of travel for students?
Are you wondering about the benefits of travel for students? Is traveling in high school or college worth it? Should you do it?
Traveling as a student can be an incredibly enriching experience. The benefits of traveling as a student go far beyond just seeing cool places. I highly recommend it!
If you’re trying to understand the benefits of traveling abroad for students, I can help you out! I was an exchange student in high school. My family hosted three exchange students when I was growing up. And I’m the mom of three kids who either have or will study and travel abroad.
When student travel, they benefit in five important ways:
- Learning life skills
- Gaining a global perspective
- Building relationships
- Getting a hands-on education
- Having fun
First, traveling helps students develop important life skills that will be useful well beyond the student years. By navigating new places, communicating across cultural barriers, and adapting to the unexpected, you’ll build resilience, resourcefulness and confidence.
Second, traveling offers students a unique opportunity to broaden their horizons and gain new perspectives. By visiting different cities, countries, and cultures, students will be eposed to new ideas, customs, and ways of life. They’ll be encouraged to become more open-minded and empathetic. They’ll also gain a deeper appreciation for the world’s diversity and the richness of humanity.
Next, by traveling, you will build relationships with other people. Whether you are bonding with your fellow travelers, your host family, other students, or people you just happen to meet along the way, you’ll make meaningful connections. As you engage with others, you’ll learn more about their culture and community and building lasting connections.
Of course, travel is incredibly educational. Traveling lets students learn outside the classroom. You can explore a new city, experience hands-on activities, visit historical sites, see artistic masterpieces in museums, and practice a different language by chatting with locals. These new experiences will give you greater insight into the world. The educational value of travel is huge!
Finally, travel can be an amazing fun experience. Having a cultural experience in a foreign country can be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. But it might also be the most amazing fun thing you ever do! You’ll get to try new things, laugh at yourself, make lifelong friends, and create incredible memories.
Overall, traveling as a high school student or traveling as a college student can be one of the most enriching experiences of your life. Participating in an international experience during your high school or college years will change your life.
Challenges and benefits of traveling as a student
Of course, traveling as a student will not always be easy. As anyone who has traveled to foreign countries knows, travel can be boring, exhausting, and challenging in unexpected ways.
Traveling will push you outside your comfort zone and give you a new perspective on pretty much everything. If you travel alone, you’ll leave behind your family, friends, school, and routines.
Even if you travel with your own family, you’ll still be saying goodbye to your friends, teams, and regular activities.
One hard truth about travel is that more more foreign, uncomfortable, and strange a situation seems, the more opportunity you’ll have for learning and growth.
Being somewhere new with people who have different routines, values, and perspectives, will stretch your mind in unexpected ways.
Living in a new place, dealing with new situations, and speaking a new language can be very difficult. If this is your first trip outside of the United States, it will be even harder.
However, as you connect with the people around you, navigate your new environment, and adapt to unexpected situations, you’ll become more confident and competent. You will grow as a person.
Traveling as a student goes way beyond taking a vacation to relax or taking a whirlwind sight-seeing tour of European capitals.
Traveling when you are a student will give you the opportunity to learn about everyday life in different cultures and get to know people from different backgrounds.
This kind of travel will give you practical lessons, social skills, and new perspectives. Simply put, traveling as a student will change your life.
Whether you are
- a high school student going abroad for a year as a foreign exchange student
- a college student studying abroad for a semester
- a student traveling with a summer program
you will have difficult days when you’re homesick and lonely, or when you feel completely overwhelmed.
But in the end, you will experience all the benefits of travel. You’ll be so glad that you were brave enough to travel abroad as a student.
Truly, travel is the best education!
What are the benefits of travel for students?
Students who travel or study abroad will:
- learn life skills
- gain a global perspective
- build relationships
- get a hands-on education
- and have fun!
Traveling as a student will mean that you have to take personal responsibility for many things you didn’t think about at home. Traveling will give you many, many opportunities to practice new life skills.
If you are traveling as a high school student, you’ll probably have a host family who will provide explanations and support.
If you’re traveling as a college student, you might have a host family or you might be living independently. Either way, as a young adult, you’ll be more self sufficient than a younger student.
2. communication skills
If you have to talk with someone who doesn’t speak English, you’ll have to overcome language barriers to make yourself understood.
You’ll need to express your needs, understand others’ perspectives, and communicate clearly. When meeting people from other parts of the world, you’ll also learn to articulate your opinions and preferences.
Obviously, traveling as a student is a great time to practice your language skills. But it’s also a chance to practice all the social skills that are part of communicating as well.
Everyone who participates in global travel will make mistakes and do embarrassing things along the way! But at the end of the day, you will gain the competence to handle all sorts of challenging situations!
As students navigate foreign languages, different places, and new learning experiences, they’ll develop confidence in their ability to handle all sorts of challenges.
When you see how much you are capable of doing by yourself in a foreign country, your confidence will soar!
This newfound confidence will stay with you for your whole life and help you deal with other challenges that arise.
5. Personal growth
One of the biggest benefits of student travel is the personal growth that comes from the experience. By challenging themselves with living abroad, students mature in remarkable ways.
This comes in the form of a greater sense of self, increased patience, and heightened responsibility. Your increased maturity will be the one of the greatest benefits of traveling abroad.
6. Compassion and Empathy
Being exposed to the good and bad parts of other people’s lives will give students a new point of view on other cultures. Emotional growth is often an unexpected benefit of student travel.
Students might begin to think differently about their lives and their choices, while also reframing how they understand the lives and choices of others. Students will also feel more compassion and empathy for the people around them.
Stepping outside of your comfort zone and being quite uncomfortable is actually an incredibly valuable experience. Being physically, socially, emotionally, or otherwise uncomfortable lets you react to and overcome that discomfort.
Learning how to overcome setbacks and challenges is really tough for young people anywhere–and especially hard in a foreign country!
Students who travel abroad get to practice overcoming discomfort and obstacles on a daily basis. They develop “grit,” the ability to stick with a difficult situation and finish what they started.
Being away from the expectations and norms of your school, family, or home culture allows young adults to consider their own values, purpose, and priorities.
Living abroad is a great chance to figure out who you really are–and who you want to be!
A huge benefit of traveling as a student is getting to know who you are, what you believe in, and what you want from life.
Because you’ll have to rely on yourself in so many new ways when you travel, you’ll know yourself much better by the time you return home!
Traveling absolutely helps students become more independent! Living abroad is a whole new experience for most students.
After meeting new people, learning new skills, speaking a new language, trying new foods, and surviving the experience, students will return home much more independent than when they left.
Students who travel gain a new worldview. You’ll see how different people in the world go about their daily lives and find out how different cultures approach common human issues.
Being in an unfamiliar culture will cause you to question your preconceived ideas and expand your perspective on many different aspects of the world.
11. Cultural sensitivity
When you live in a place and get to know the people of the region, you will learn about the cultural norms and values.
By better understanding a culture different from your own, you will start to see how people from that culture might approach business negotiations, governmental policies, or educational systems.
Being able to see where someone else is coming from and how their background has shaped their perspective will be a very valuable trait.
Being sensitive to other cultures will help you communicate with people from all backgrounds (not just from the area where you traveled).
When away from friends and family at home, students will be exposed to different ideas and customs. Their old assumptions might be challenged and changed. Students will think differently about pretty much everything.
When living abroad, try to stop judging and simply be open to learning about the different values, perspectives, and traditions of the country you’re in.
Being a stranger in a strange land will definitely humble you! Experiencing the challenges of living abroad and learning more about people from different backgrounds should help you practice humility.
One sometimes surprising benefit of traveling for students is that students gain a new appreciation for their “real life” back home. Students often come to deeply appreciate their family, their friends, their home, and their community in new ways.
Students traveling abroad will also learn to be appreciative of their travel experience. They will appreciate their host family’s generosity, the opportunity to live abroad, and all the knowledge they’ve gained.
Living, going to school, and interacting with people who are different from you will increase your tolerance for differences. It’s a great big world, so being a more tolerant person is one of the best interpersonal skills you can develop!
16. Bond with fellow travelers
Students traveling with a group will bond with their fellow travelers. You can nurture and sustain these connections for the rest of your life.
You’ll also meet people outside of your group when you’re traveling. Staying in hostels is a great way to do this! And you never know where these friendships might lead!
Spending time with fellow students as you experience life in a different culture will allow you to bond with people going through the same challenges and growth as you’re experiencing!
17. Make friends with locals
Becoming friends with people where you’re traveling can be one of the most enriching and educational part of traveling. Your new friends will be able to answer your questions: How do you say….? What does this mean? Why do you do this?
Moreover, making friends with people in your host culture can help break down stereotypes. Friendships will open your mind to another culture in the best way!
Generally speaking, people enjoy sharing their local culture with visitors. Most often, people want to talk about their traditions, culture, and country.
Connecting with people on a personal, individual level will lead to your most memorable and significant experiences.
Make friends with as many people as possible when you travel. For you, that might include host siblings, school mates, or fellow travelers at a hostel. Don’t be shy–introduce yourself and ask them about themselves.
18. Gain a new family
If you are lucky enough to live with a host family, you have the opportunity to gain a new family! Be a good and helpful family member by participating in family activities, asking your family about their days, being considerate, and helping out around the house.
It might seem strange to think about networking when you’re studying abroad or taking an educational tour. However, it’s quite possible to develop relationships that you’ll turn to throughout your career.
For example, college students preparing for professional careers might seek references or career advice from professors. Many employers want to hire people who have foreign language skills and international experience.
20. Hands-on learning
One incredible educational benefit of travel as a student is that you will learn through hands-on activities. You can learn to cook local foods or play on a local sports team. You can take art lessons to learn a traditional technique or learn about native plants.
No matter what topics you explore, you can go beyond formal study in a classroom and look for engaging hands-on learning opportunities.
21. Cultural understanding
As you explore new parts of the world, you’ll learn about the traditions and values of the people who live there.
One of the major benefits of traveling is developing a different perspective on new cultures. By participating in the daily routine of everyday life in a different country, students will gain a new understanding of the complexities of the modern world. Don’t underestimate the benefits of educational travel for cultural understanding!
22. Subject matter expertise
You’ll also learn about the history of where you are living. If you are curious, you can learn about important events in the country or region’s past, and what is happening there today. Actually experiencing a place makes current events there feel much more relatable.
You’ll also learn about the art, architecture, music, religions, and foods of a region or country.
Of course, your understanding of these topics will be much deeper because you experienced it all in person, instead of reading or hearing a lecture.
23. Better Understand geopolitics
When traveling, college students will learn about cultural differences and historical events in other countries. This knowledge will complement in-depth college courses on international relations or world history.
Students with personal experience in other parts of the world will better understand news reports, global issues, and international affairs.
24. Master a Language
When you travel abroad, you can improve upon any language skills you already developed in high school. Being immersed in a language is a great way to learn a language.
Even after a brief period of time, you’ll become more proficient in the language.
Given enough time in another country, you might even become fluent!
Being able to speak another language will give you a new perspective on a culture, help you communicate with so many people, and expand your mind.
Even if you haven’t formally studied a language before traveling to that region, you can get started with DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone. Learning a new language is much easier when you able to communicate with native speakers everyday.
Tips for learning a new language when traveling
- Speak only in the language you’re trying to learn. This is hard, but it will get easier.
- Don’t speak your native language! This might mean limiting your contact with friends and family back home to once-a-week conversations.
- Look up unknown words or ask native speakers to explain them to you. Expanding your vocabulary will be worth it.
- Practice your pronunciation. Fortunately, your friends and host family will be happy to correct your pronunciation!
- Work on mastering grammar. This might seem boring, but using good grammar will help you sound like a native speaker.
- Do your homework and write essays in the new language. It will be hard and seem to take forever, but your communication skills will improve dramatically!
25. Improved academics
After living and traveling in a different part of the world, of course students are going to have a better understanding of that culture and language. Another perk of traveling is that students often return from traveling highly motivated to set goals and focus on academic success.
A 2013 survey “Travel Improves Educational Attainment & Future Success” conducted by the Wagner group determined that educational travel by youth is linked to academic success. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/educational-travel-in-youth-linked-to-academic-career-success-226936841.html Students who participate in an educational trip are exposed to a whole new world of possibilities for their future. After educational travel abroad, students often are inspired to improve their academic performance and work towards goals for their future.
26. Prepare for Globalization
We certainly live in a global society. One of the educational benefits of traveling as a student is that you’ll be comfortable with traveling solo to a conference or business meeting in another country.
Another is that you’re more likely to have the perspective and cultural sensitivity to engage appropriately with people from other cultures.
It’s a bonus is your travels helped you improve your language skills and fluency.
Moreover, you’re certain to be more confident which is an asset in any situation.
27. Having a lot of fun
Last but certainly not least, one of the main benefits of travel for students is that travel is fun!
Lots of high school and college students experience high levels of pressure and stress. Traveling abroad is a little bit of a break from the pressure cooker of high school or university life.
Travel offers students a chance to learn new things, develop social skills, make new friends, grow as individuals, and just enjoy life! Don’t worry–while you’re having fun, you’ll also be learning so much!
Why should students travel?
Whether in high school or college, students should travel for personal growth and to develop a global perspective.
A huge benefit of travel is gaining independence and confidence. The earlier you travel outside of your comfort zone, the sooner you’ll develop these life skills. You’ll also benefit from gaining a better understanding of the diverse cultures of the world at a younger age.
Many people say their early travel experiences shaped their goals and career path, so why not see what impact travel has on you?
Should Students Travel In High School Or College?
Both! If you have the opportunity to travel in high school, take it!
Sometimes high school students can travel with a community group or on a school trip. If you’re more adventurous, you could travel with a language program or as an exchange student.
In college, you could travel by studying abroad for a month, a summer, a semester, or a year. You could also simply travel independently, either in your home country or somewhere farther away.
I would strongly encourage you to travel as early as you can and as often as you can!
Is it scary to travel as a student?
For sure! Of course it can be scary to travel as a student. Whether you are in high school or college, leaving your home, school, friends, and/or family is a pretty frightening thing to do. There’s no guarantee you’ll like where you go or that you’ll make friends. It takes some time to adapt to a new culture.
However the educational value of traveling is worth all the discomfort. You’ll learn so much about the world at large, the countries and regions you travel to, and about yourself.
Once you push through your initial fears about traveling, you’ll realize that the experience of traveling with essential for your personal growth! The benefits of travel for students are totally worth it!
Where should I travel as a student?
You can go anywhere in the world!
First ask yourself if you want to go to a country that speaks English. If so, you could go to Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand, just to name a few.
Students who have already studied a foreign language might want to travel to a country where they can improve their language skills. Spain, France, Germany, or Italy are common destinations in this case.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you might travel to a foreign nation whose language you don’t speak. You might venture to a country in Scandinavia or the Middle East.
Wherever you go, the experience is sure to have a lasting impact on your life.
Will I have any support when I travel?
Most students who travel have plenty of support! Before you sign up with a program, find out exactly what level of support is provided.
For high school students going on school trips or exchange programs, you can always turn to your trip leader for help with any problems that arise.
Colleges students participating in study abroad programs also can ask their group leaders for support and advice.
Moreover, students can seek help from someone at their school or college or talk to their host family about any difficulties.
While you should expect challenging when living abroad, you should feel like you’re in a safe environment with plenty of help, should you need it. If being in a foreign place feels overwhelming, definitely seek out someone who can help you!
Will traveling as a high school student help me get into college?
Let’s be clear: College admissions is an unpredictable beast. Whether or not you’ve traveled is probably less important than your grades and overall academic performance.
However, traveling does demonstrate your curiosity and open-mindedness, both of which are traits selective colleges value.
And having traveled abroad as a high school student, especially as a year-long exchange student, will give you plenty of material to write about in your college essays!
Will I miss out on high school or college by traveling?
Not gonna lie: your high school or college will continue functioning as normal while you’re traveling. Your friends who stay there will continue to do fun things. They’ll have new experiences that don’t include you. The FOMO will be real.
But, you’ll be doing so many amazing things you couldn’t have done if you stayed home! Pretty soon, you’ll realize that what you’re doing is more fun and more valuable to your personal grown than what you’re missing out on!
Will traveling help me get a job after college?
It might. Employers like to hire people who are confident, humble, and good communicators.
If you are interested in a working in a job with an international company, your travel experience and perspective could be helpful.
No matter what, your experience traveling as a student will probably help you give interesting answers to interview questions!
Final thoughts on the benefits of student travel
If you are a student who dreams of traveling the world, you should do it! Whether you are a high school student or a college student, you will experience great benefits from traveling.
You will learn essential life skills that you’ll use in your relationships, everyday life, and the professional world.
You will gain a global perspective about foreign cities and remote areas in far-flung corners of the world.
You will build meaningful relationships and create lifelong memories with friends from all over the globe.
Also, you’ll get a a hands-on education that would not have been possible in the classroom!
And having fun while traveling is simply a given!
Many students who travel in high school or college might be leaving the US for the first time, and the experience may be difficult and uncomfortable at times. However, I can’t overstate the many benefits of traveling on students’ lives!
If you have the chance to travel as a high school student or a college student, go see the world!