*An original version of this was posted to the higher education platform Just Tryna Grad*
Travel in grad school seems far-fetched, but I promise you it’s not! As a self-proclaimed nerd, grad school was in the plan for me, however it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your wanderlust to do so. Whether working in a study abroad office, pursuing international business courses, or even classes international relations and global communications, there are ways to incorporate travel in your higher education plans.
With most graduate programs requiring a year or more commitment in one place, it can be challenging to make it a priority during your graduate studies. You have to be intentional about it on your search, which starts when you apply. Asking questions early is always best. As someone who has gone through this process, I hope these tips can help and motivate you to travel in grad school.
Be upfront about pursuing domestic or international opportunities
Closed mouths don’t get fed! As you’re writing your personal statement, visiting for that first tour, calling admissions offices, etc. be sure to question them on any and all travel experiences students have done. Make it clear that travel in grad school is something you want and need to do. Ask how feasible it is within the time frame of your degree program. You can also ask if they have students who are willing to talk to interested students (i.e. you) via email. They’re not going to know your interests if you don’t ask. Advocating for yourself is a huge part of a successful grad school experience.
Apply to universities abroad
If you want to explore another continent or country to pursue travel in grad school, an easier way is to attend grad school abroad. From Canada to Asia, there are tons of universities that accept international students and even have full-ride scholarships available. Some of these include the John Loiello Scholarship, Schwarzman Scholars, and Mitchell Scholars. Look for your area and country of interest to see what’s out there. Don’t sell yourself short.
I’ve done a post on Masters, Fellowships and other opportunities abroad. Check it out here!
Seek out graduate study abroad programs with funding
Once you find a grad program with study abroad opportunities, be sure to check for school-sponsored scholarships. The competition pool at school may be smaller than external scholarship money, meaning a higher chance of financial support for your experience. Apply for any and everything! In undergrad I made the mistake of not applying for enough scholarships to cover study abroad expenses. I didn’t do that this time.
Check both course and practicum/internships abroad or out-of-state
Depending on your program interest, the time commitment of an international opportunity may vary. When applying, look to see what types of study abroad opportunities are offered. Can you go on a short-term trip over winter break or spring break to take a class? Are there practicum or internship requirements you can do out-of-state or outside the country? Inquire on the process for these experiences too. You may have to start the application during your first semester and you want to be prepared.
Research the faculty…then see if they do research elsewhere
For those who are in an internationally-focused program, check out where professors are doing their research and apply to a Research Assistant! This can be work you do during the school year, that carries over winter, spring, or summer break. Applying to be a Graduate Assistant can also lead you down this path too to travel in grad school. You never know, they may have grant money to pay for part of your trip as well.
While these are a few ways to incorporate travel into grad school, you can still travel without going abroad for a class, research, or internship. Upon applying (and being admitted, I’m calling it for you), you will have breaks to book a trip in the name of self-care. However, if you want to be sure it’s included, asking questions to meet the right people can make it easier.
A year after applying, and currently in my second semester, the travel opportunities within my grad program are on the rise. I’ve even secured a class and an internship abroad for this summer! The research, questions, and planning are coming together, making 2019 look bright and full of meaningful travel experiences. Hopefully, your search and application process with be just as fruitful. Good luck.