One of the most common regrets of the elderly is not having traveled more, especially in their youth when they had the time and energy.
Some may read this and scoff—time, what time? Depending on your field of study, you may or may not have less time during your younger years. For example, even during college when volunteering or studying abroad is increasingly common, students working in demanding fields such as medicine, engineering, and other sciences often worry that taking the time away from school and lab would be too detrimental for their education and academic plan.
Yet, to be cliché and quote the famous Mark Twain: “Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.” Yes, this may seem easier said that done, especially as the previously mentioned fields demand so much schooling. However, the common idea that going abroad is for partying, only those studying liberal arts, or not important enough to spend a summer doing, are—to put lightly—wrong.
Though the opportunity certainly presents itself for students to spend all their time in pubs, traveling with the intention of experience through meaningful studies, volunteer positions, or internships is also ALWAYS an option. By traveling and working with medical outreach, not only do the local communities benefit from the energy of participants, but the volunteers are also given experiences for growth, insight, cultural awareness, and unique qualifications in future job searches. Those studying environmental science-related fields are able to witness some of the at-risk places they’ve only ever read about, all while making a lasting impact for the very locations they are fighting for. For engineers and architects, there are some concepts that can only be truly understood when visited. While color photographs and drawings might be accurate, the complex beauty behind a cathedral’s design or the enormity and energy emanated by a skyscraper are sometimes only be felt when entered.Yes, laboratories are stationary, drafting tables aren’t easy to transport, and time away from school is well, time away from school. Despite this, when you make the world your laboratory you receive first-hand experience that for many serves as a beautiful reminder as to why they are studying their chosen subjects in the first place.
One of the lead interns at EducatorLabs and future med-student, Megan, compiled the list below with these opportunities for students aching to travel, but previously without a justification for doing so. As a current graduate student in science education, I needless to say, am a little jealous I didn’t have access to these during my undergraduate science degree. However, as we like to remember here at Life After Study Abroad, a life of travel’s not over yet and maybe I’ll see a few of you out in the field or behind a bunsen burner!
- Catchafire – Skills-Based Volunteer Matching
- Direct Relief: Humanitarian Medical Aid
- Guide for Prospective Medical Volunteers
- GoEco – Volunteer Abroad for Ecological & Humanitarian Projects
- Veterinarians Without Borders
- Architecture for Humanity