Things I’ve Learnt About Traveling Whilst Studying

These are some of the tips I have figured out along the way, either by myself or with help/advice from others. It may be daunting to embark on a worldwide travel, and simultaneously start on the academic journey of a master’s degree. Well, if this is intimidating you, keep in mind: you’re not the first person to accomplish this mission, there is always help and friendship along the way. If you’ve come across this blog, hopefully this post can provide some useful info about how to balance your travel and studying life.

1. Studying is your friend:
Academics is a really good way to see the world. Once you enter the network of international students, there are always more doorways opening for you. Each university has internship positions, more projects, and more research for you to join – assuming you apply yourself. With education, you get more opportunities for more education, more exploration, and – with that – more places to visit!

2. Forget Paper:
With all the moving around that we do during the Erasmus Mundus mobility programme, it can be tricky to figure out how to store all the papers! Find a way to store your notes/textbooks digitally, I use an iPad with an Apple Pencil (all purchased cheaper secondhand on Apple flipping websites), and the app OneNote allows you to load pdf documents and make notes on them. This way you can also keep record of all the notes you’ve made in the past.

3. If you need help, ask for it:
Whether this help is necessary for finding accommodation, finding a lecture hall, or just finding your calm after an exam period – there is always someone there for you. In an academic institution, this is because the university/school would like to support their students in any manner possible. And the best way for “them” (whoever they might be) to even know how they can help you, is if you communicate it. Don’t be shy to send that email to your coordinator and share your experience with them. There’s no such thing as a silly problem, and chances are, there are others who are having the same stress as you are.

4. I hope you like SIM cards:
Each country has their own laws and regulations regarding the purchase and use of SIM cards for cellular devices. You are going to want to be connected in whatever country you spend a bit of time in, and so that means being able to locate stores that sell these little cards that can keep you online. It’s always best to ask a local person which phone company they are using, and whether there are “pay-as-you-go” options, that means you don’t have to sign up for a long-term contract.

5. Remember your Roots
Once you are out of your comfort zone, in a world unfamiliar, you will come across many manners of being and differences in culture that are completely new to you. In some ways you will be forced to grow and expand your mindset about the world and all the different kinds of people in it. This is extremely fruitful for character development, and I believe traveling (and people seeing other walks of life) has potential to make the world a more tolerant, empathetic place. However, when you’re moving around a lot, you might sometimes feel a little overwhelmed and somewhat confused about where you fit into the bigger scheme of things. If everyone and everything around you is different, it’s easy to feel like a stranger. For this reason, I suggest putting in extra effort to connect with your roots, and appreciate them all the more. Whether that’s the music, the cuisine, the colours, the language, etc. – whatever it is that you really love about home, try to make time for it. In the long run, this will become a warm connection to home.
As they say:

“You don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’re coming from”
-Anon


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