Travel if you can’t study abroad

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Therese poses with her host family for the summer. Studying abroad isn’t the only option college students have for seeing the world while they’re young; there are many ways to find work and travel at the same time.

By Therese Pokorney, Features editor

It seems every spring semester, and sometimes fall, I say goodbye to more and more friends as they embark on a journey to a new country to study abroad and embrace the culture, food and life as an exchange student. Each year I live vicariously through their Instagram posts and Snapchat stories in foreign places while I’m stuck in Champaign.

Studying abroad can be expensive, and some students’ schedules don’t allow the time or classes in a foreign university; however, that doesn’t mean traveling during your four years here has to be expensive.

Although I won’t have the option to study abroad during my time in college, I still found a way to spend the summer abroad and get paid for it, and I encourage everyone to find a way to see the world, too. Here are some easy ways I found to make the most of my time exploring the world as a broke college student that wasn’t a pre-paid study abroad experience.

Become an au pair

An au pair is an international nanny that lives with a host family, babysits their children for 20-25 hours a week and gets paid weekly. Childcare can be a tiring job, but when you get free room and board, food and are living in a foreign country, all the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

This summer, I found a host family on AuPair.com and after Skyping them, I booked my flights to live in Spain for three months. It was the most rewarding experience, and I’m so happy I got to experience life abroad on my own. I learned about the history, culture, language and ate all the paella my heart desired — and got paid for it! If you enjoy working with children, I highly suggest being an au pair for the summer.

Volunteer at a work exchange

Like an au pair, there are several programs young people can join if their looking for a low-cost way to travel the world. One organization called WWOOF connects volunteers to organic farms around the world in exchange for free room, board and sometimes food. Volunteers can expect to work on average six hours a day, six days a week and have ample free time to explore the country.

Look for abroad internships

When I think of a college internship, making coffee runs and spending a lot of time in an office under fluorescent lights come to my mind. Gaining internship experience and international experience will shine on a resume, so why not kill two birds with one stone? You’re bound to find an internship in business, healthcare, international relations and much more abroad; you just have to look.

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