As a kid, you think about winning the lottery. It’s a cool idea, one that often gives a vision of mountains of candy, new bicycles and all of the latest video games. But it’s not a necessity because you have parents, which are essentially a lottery unto themselves. You don’t have to worry about rent or food or transportation.
I’ve been a rather privileged person my whole life. My father was an officer in the Canadian Navy and his job led to a rather sumptuous amount of travel around the world, including time living in France, Egypt and Britain. Unfortunately as a kid I tended to focus more on the annoying hassle of packing up our house or the grueling 24 hour flights.
Since arriving at University and realizing that the opportunity to travel isn’t coming on their ticket anymore, I’ve found myself craving the change, the chance to get out and see the world. I also know that all of my friends love the idea of travel too but it’s not always possible as students trying to take on groceries, tuition, and rent at the same.
Luckily my craving for travel has led me to searching out the opportunities that are accessible to students and can get you travelling with minimal damage to your budget.
1. Check out Explore Canada
I have personally been a benefactor of this program and cannot even begin to express how awesome it is. The Canadian government will PAY for you to go and study French at an institution somewhere in Canada. There are tons of great places all throughout Quebec and Ontario not to mention other Canadian locations!
I chose Nova Scotia and had an amazing time. The scenery was gorgeous, classes were relaxed (I promise you’ll pick up french easily!) and every night was a party! Coming out of the program with some university credits and a new language was a major score!
2. There is also the Disney International Programs
Surprisingly working at Disney as a university student isn’t as difficult to do as you would think! Disney has a range of programs that are available to international students, specifically the Cultural Exchange Program and the Cultural Representative Program. These opportunities can whisk you away to sunny Florida for the summer, giving you an awesome work experience with other international students and the chance to work with a global brand and well recognized employer. Besides, who doesn’t want free park access?
3. The Canadian Alliance for Development Initiatives and Projects is also a great option
The Canadian Alliance for Development Initiatives and Projects, also known as CADIP, states that their mission is to promote peace, cooperation, tolerance and understanding in multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and international surroundings. They do this by offering hundreds of different volunteer opportunities for students. I’ve personally met someone who worked with them in Indonesia and despite a little hard work and labour during the day they had an amazing time. They even had the chance to work with elephants and of course explore breathtaking local sights! If you’re looking to make a difference and get around on a budget CADIP is a great choice!
4. Discover the opportunities at Canada World Youth
Canada World Youth is another reputable volunteer group, though unfortunately a little pricier. If you’re looking to get some bang for your buck their 6-9 month volunteer program (half of which is done in Canada with other globally minded students and the other half abroad) is only around $3,400 and that includes all your living and travel fees! This is a great opportunity for students seeking leadership opportunities and it will undoubtedly look good on a resume!
5. International Exchange through your University
Exchange seems obvious but I have to say I’m shocked by how few students partake in this opportunity. Usually the only incremental cost to study abroad is your plane ticket. Your tuition and living expenses are many times the same as what you pay here though could be potentially higher or lower depending on where you choose to go abroad.
An exchange with a partner university is not only the chance to see new sights, it’s the chance to really understand a culture and live in it. There are a wide variety of English speaking countries to choose from and for the adventurous students there are tons of universities that offer courses in English for those of you looking to go abroad and pick up a new language socially (while studying at the same time). The only thing standing between you and this opportunity is a discussion with your academic advisor!
This is only five options available for Canadian students, there are countless others. All you need to do is find them and take the plunge and apply. Travel is an amazing gift that only you can give yourself.
When will there be a better time in your life to grab your bags and go? Why not look into these once-in-a-lifetime student opportunities and the benefits that go along them – you won’t regret it!