So the coolest place you have ever traveled to is Florida, and even that broke the bank. The idea of traveling anywhere outside of the U.S seems as likely as winning the lottery and so you have given up on it. Perhaps it is time to revisit that idea, as long as you are willing to approach it with an open mind.
The first option only works if you are currently enrolled in a college or university. If traveling is truly a passion of yours that would greatly like to be fulfilled, set up a meeting with your academic adviser as soon as possible and see what study abroad options your school has to offer. More often than not, studying at a foreign university is cheaper than staying in the U.S. Essentially you could be backpacking across Europe on your weekends off from classes instead of attending another tired college party back on campus. The classes that are offered abroad are unlike anything that your school can offer, simply because they are two different curriculums based off of two different cultures.
You can also obtain credit for a class by taking part in an experiential learning opportunity abroad, which could save yourself from taking a dreadful general education course back on campus. The people and the places that will be experienced abroad are unparalleled to any college experience one could have back home, not to mention how incredible it would look on a resume. However, start the process as soon as possible as it takes roughly half a year to complete all the necessary paperwork.
Studying abroad is a marvelous option, however many people are not currently enrolled in college. Not to fret, there are plenty more options. If charity work does not seem too out of the question, then this next option is for you. This is where the helping hand comes in handy, as thousands of people around the world need help in their day to day lives. A big part of this is organic farmers, and although that seems a bit outlandish, these farmers will house you, feed you, and accommodate you in any way necessary in exchange for help around the farm.
This also applies to anyone in general who needs a little bit of help, they will accommodate you in exchange for some community service. Typically a day consists of anywhere between four to six hours of work for one week to six months. All you have to do is get yourself there and back. This idea might seem far-fetched, but it is larger than you may think. The name of this marvelous organization is WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and takes place in any country you could think of, Peru, Italy, Nepal and Greece to name a few.For more information, click here.
If neither of these options seem as though they are right for you, how does immersing yourself entirely in another culture sound? Scary, yes, but also quite intriguing. Sure you could afford a hotel in the heart of another country for perhaps, two nights, but aside from tourist groups and a magazine full of sightseeing options, there is not much to gain out of this experience. This option does not compare to choosing the option of a homestay.
What is a homestay you may ask? A homestay is an option where an ordinary family that lives somewhere in the country you would like to visit allows you to stay with them for an allotted period of time. They provide you with your own room, daily meals and privacy and treat you as a part of the family. This option allows those who select it to become fully immersed in the culture; the chance to witness exactly how their day to day lives work, how the language is properly used, and what trends are normal in the country. The best part, this arrangement can be as cheap as two hundred dollars a week, in comparison to the charges a hotel would give for a week abroad. For more information on booking a homestay, click here.
Hopefully one of the above options appears as feasible to you, and gives you the chance to have the experience of a lifetime. Whether it be studying abroad, volunteering, or swapping families for a week or so, may your travels be everything you hoped them to be!