Throughout my three-month long journey of promoting the AU European Graduation Trip around campus, I’m constantly surprised by the number of students who have never traveled outside of the United States. For some, it is their financial situation; others haven’t found the time. Most have not been encouraged to see the benefits of traveling abroad. Chances are when you get a job right out of college, taking 2-3 weeks off to travel Europe with your closest friends will be next to impossible. That’s why I’m here—to motivate you all to travel abroad before you enter the real world.
So, why should you ditch America for a few weeks? Maybe you missed your opportunity to study abroad or are a new graduate unsure of where to go next. No matter what happens, you won’t regret stretching the limits of your comfort zone and taking a plunge into the unknown.
Consider these 7 reasons why now is the time to travel abroad:
1. Culture: Traveling allows you to learn about different cultures first hand. Remember learning about the Roman Coliseum in History 1010; imagine seeing the Roman Ruins with your own eyes. You can always see a photo, but it will never take your breath away. Once you experience foreign cultures first hand, it is easier to understand where people come from.
2. Adventure: Have you noticed yourself craving adventure past the confines of Chewacla Nature Park? You’re young and independent right now; you don’t have many responsibilities. So, why not pack up right after graduation? Your adventuring possibilities are endless. You can cliff-jump off the coast of Greece or climb your way up the Eiffel Tower.
3. Language: Did you study French or Italian for a semester but feel it slipping away? Perhaps you have an open elective and have been thinking about adding a foreign language. This is your time to learn it and use it on the European Grad Trip! There’s no better way to learn about a culture than to immerse yourself in their language. You’ll be there in six months, why not?
4. Experiences: “Studies have shown that people would rather spend their money on experiences than create lasting memories on material things.” Wouldn’t you rather spend $100 on a Vespa to cruise the streets of Rome or even less on an authentic French dinner than on the newest pair of Tory Burch flats? You will undoubtedly remember your unique post-grad trip abroad far longer than your latest 2013 fashion statement.
5. Looks Good On a Resume: Don’t we all want to stand out from the crowd on our resumes? Remember that future employers love this kind of thing. Employers in every field view traveling as a great way to expand your knowledge about world cultures. It also shows that you are a responsible and mature individual. I am the first to attest to how beneficial adding my travel experience has been to landing positions in organizations and an internship. Travel is a great conversation piece in an interview and often helps ease your nerves.
6. Find Yourself: Traveling abroad allows you to make new friends and connections in places you have never visited. If you have never traveled out of the country, your possibilities of discovery are endless. You get to choose your passions and explore what you love to do. Have you always wanted to take up drawing but never found the time? Bring a sketch book to Europe and sketch the people, places and food that you’ve never seen before!
7. Gain Perspective: After traveling abroad for only a few weeks, you’ll have a completely different perspective on your first-world struggles after witnessing life on a different continent. Remember that time AU Wifi timed out for 10 minutes and you thought your life was ending? Many European countries don’t rely on Wifi like Americans do, which will allow you to take a break from your endless Internet quest and enjoy the beauty of other cultures. Witnessing different standards of living outside of our American comfort zone may even have you questioning what’s important in your own life.
If you even have the tiniest urge to travel abroad before your college days are over, I strongly encourage you to look into the Auburn European Grad Trip. You will learn invaluable lessons, become a more mature individual and create priceless memories with your Auburn friends. When you return home, you’ll bring a broadened persepective of the world with you and to your future career. If this has not convinced you, attend the last information session of the semester on Thursday, November 14 from 5-6 p.m. in Student Center Room 2227.