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The Best Way to Juggle International Travel While Studying Full Time

Traveling the world while studying full-time probably doesn’t sound the least bit realistic, but for those wanting to complete their studies while dabbling in a bit of international travel, the good news is that achieving this is absolutely possible.

With so many colleges and universities now offering flexible online degrees, combining higher education with a desire to travel the world is becoming more and more doable, and an increasing number of students are finding it easy to study and be location-independent while completing their courses.

Completing my legal thesis

Completing my legal thesis from a tent in Outback Australia!

Yes, achieving the balance required to study while traveling the world will take a lot of hard work and smart planning, however use the following tips for time management and motivation, and you’ll be well on your way to great grades while you jump between amazing, exotic destinations.

Choose a Course Which Is Right for You

Don’t jump into a degree just for the sake of it. Choose to study because you truly want to, and make sure you choose a degree which fits with your career goals and personal interests.

If you’re not studying something you’re passionate about, it will be difficult to stay motivated, and will turn into a chore to complete assessments as you travel.

Costa

Poison Dart Frog Research in Costa Rica.

Choose a course which is right for you and traveling could actually motivate you to do well.

For instance if you’re studying for an online llm degree on environmental law, traveling whilst studying offers a unique opportunity to spend time in the actual field and visit destinations which are relevant to your school work. Or if you’re studying an online business degree in Texas, traveling may mean the opportunity to visit other business hubs around the world and gain unique insight.

Plan Your Itinerary Around Course Requirements

Planning your itinerary around your course requirements is essential to succeeding at school. Don’t plan an action packed week, for instance, when you know you have a major assessment to complete. This is why many people think it is not possible.

Instead, plan to visit low-key and relaxing destinations during weeks where key assessment pieces are due, where you know you won’t be distracted or completely exhausted from a full day traveling.

Enjoying

Enjoying a relaxing Florida summer day while completing assessment!

Obviously, access to the internet is essential in completing your online degree, so make sure you’re visiting destinations and booking accommodations with a good internet connection.

Remember that traveling means you are likely to be jumping through multiple time zones, so keeping on top of this is crucial. Your smartphone is a great tool which can help with this.

Essential Technology for the Trip

Location-independent study means you will need specific tools and technology to stay connected.

As mentioned above, a smartphone is a fantastic tool to travel with, which allows you to keep track of differing time zones, and it acts as an internet backup should your laptop go down.There are a fantastic range of smartphone apps for travelers you should download as well which include tools for translation, maps, currency exchange and city guides.

A laptop with the capability for a wireless connection is crucial for completing and submitting assignments, and you should travel with international adapters for all of your technology.

A laptop

A laptop with the capability of wireless is crucial.

Applying all of the above tips and advice to your online degree is the best way to juggle international travel while studying full-time.

From personal experience, it can be done, and it’s a myth that students can’t travel the world and succeed at their studies at the same time.

Meg Jerrard is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure!  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Follow their journey on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

    33 Comments

    • Yes! Exchange programs are absolutely fantastic and a great way to travel. I never managed to make a 6-12 month exchange program happen, though I did do a few 4 week intensive overseas courses which counted back towards my degree and let me travel throughout Europe. Loved it.

      Great tip, thanks Anna!

  1. Great tips Megan!
    If I could go back and do it all over again, this is how I’d like to do it.

    • Thanks Natasha! So glad you enjoyed the tips!

  2. Excellent advice – and YES – it will expand your learning so much more! Brava!

    • Definitely the best way I know how to expand your learning – travel can be truly beneficial to a degree!

  3. Oh come on! You’re just posing by the pool for the photo, right? How can it be possible to study in a bikini beside a pool? That’s logically impossible! 😀

    • Never ruin a good photo with the facts! Lol.

      I was studying at the tables a little further back from the water, though thought it would be such a great photo op to get literally poolside with my laptop. One of my fav photos!

  4. It’s definitely possible! I did my MBA degree, an intense 12 month program while exploring the world. Not only did I get to travel around Europe on the weekends, while studying in London, but my course also made it possible for me to live in Shanghai for 4 out of the 12 months. Studying abroad didn’t just give me an opportunity to see the world but also helped me meet people from all over the world! I highly recommend it!

    • Congrats on your MBA! Huge achievement! And Im so glad to hear others are taking up the opportunity to travel while completing their studies – studying remotely really has the potential for amazing opportunities, and I’m so glad you got to experience that first hand!

      Congrats again!

    • oksana! I really want to do similar to what you spoke of! Can we talk/can i pick your brain? olivia4acause@gmail.com

  5. Awesome tips! My background is in biology, so I’d totally do some poison dart frog research! I’ve never really thought about continuing my education so I could travel, but it’s a fabulous idea!

    • The poison dart frog research was so great – I did that one through a volunteer organization called International Student Volunteers, and while I was just doing it for the travel/volunteer aspect, the majority of people in my group were actually completing environmental studies. it really is such a great way to broaden your learning and gain a much more well rounded degree!

      Definitely consider extending your education if it’s something you’re interested in – the opportunities to combine it with travel are truly endless!

  6. You brought back amazing memories, I remember writing my Psychology assignments in Surfers Paradise and my MA on the Camino di Santiago! It is achievable to travel and study, indeed!

    • Wow congrats on your MA from the Camino! That’s a huge accomplishment! Very inspired!

  7. Totally agree! I have never travelled as often as I used to, when I was a student. I did my MA in Archaeology in Paris, but I actually spent more time in the UK, Italy, Greece, and Turkey than in France or (at home) in Luxembourg! When you’re in your twenties, you have more energy to keep up the pace. And it’s OK to stay in hostels or at friends’ house, sleeping on the floor, move from one place to another every night, or study all night long, then get up early in the morning to explore around. So yes, to all the students out there: do travel if you can! 🙂

    • Wow your travels sound amazing! And I imagine those destinations would have been so helpful in aiding your passion for studying Archaeology!

      Totally agree with you – I was way more willing to sleep anywhere and pull long hours when I was younger lol now my motivation for the same lacks a little, so definitely encouraging people to get out and do it while they’re young – though it’s obviously never too late to jump into travel!

    • No, it’s definitely never too late. And I shall say that it’s also never too late (for full-time travellers for example) to pick up school again. As you said in your post, there are many online degrees nowadays. And experiences pick up here and there while travelling can certainly be used to jump a few classes! 🙂

  8. I managed to travel while studying full time. I did a semester abroad and also travelled in the 6 months I had off a year.

    I can’t personally vouch for the online courses, but they do sound pretty awesome in their flexibility.

    • Im so glad to hear you got to experience a study abroad program – they’re the best!! I never managed to pull off a full 6-12 month exchange but did a few 4 week intensive courses around the place which counted back as credit towards my degree.

      The one thing I would have loved though is a 6 month exchange to Canada, so really trying to hit home that if people want to do it they totally should because it’s one of the best times to travel!

  9. Thanks for sharing these great tips on completing your online degree while traveling. It never occurred to me that you could do both at the same time.

    • Thanks Mary – definitely can do both at the same time! Technology has become amazing in the opportunities it offers us these days!

  10. If it is possible to work independently overseas, it only makes sense that one can study that way also. Great tips for those interested in combining school and travel.

    • Thanks Ted! So glad you enjoyed the article and tips 🙂

  11. Hi Megan!
    Thank you so much for wriring this post! I start traveling in 2 weeks and having just started my first blog and an online travel journnalism course Ive been really worried about how I’m going to keep up with everything while still finding a way to earn money on the side. Your post has really encouraged me. If you really want something, you’ll find a way. I admire everything you have done!
    Keep enjoying and smiling and living! I enjoy following your whereabouts!

    • Hi Caroline! So glad you’re feeling encouraged and inspired – you really can make it work if you’re motivated and determined enough – the first step is just sitting down and figuring out the different tools and strategies you’ll need to make it all happen.

      Hopefully the above is a helpful start for you 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot pf hard work juggling everything, but it’s so rewarding, and looking back I wouldn’t trade a minute of it!

      Happy travels and best of luck – congrats on your new blog and your journalism course. More power to you!

  12. Planning is a key to achieve a great result, I actually became an exchange student when I was in high school and it is a great experience and I just love it.

    • Absolutely agree – so glad you had the opportunity to experience exchange – it was one of the highlights of my schooling too! 🙂

  13. You could always study in another country full stop – always a good way to combine travelling and learning!

    • Very true too! Probably the best way to really integrate yourself into a new culture and make sure you’re getting an authentic experience by completing your whole course overseas!

    • I highly recommend it! Hope you have the chance to organize a placement soon 🙂

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