By Taylor Gilmore
Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity if you want it to be, but there are plenty of ways to make it just the beginning of your time spent abroad. Although your responsibilities may be different than your semester studying and traveling abroad with your friends, it’s worth considering working, studying, or volunteering abroad after your undergraduate degree program ends.
Continuing your education past your undergraduate degree may sound like a daunting task, but if you will eventually head back to school for a higher degree, why not head back to Europe, too? Depending on what you want to study, you can typically find a degree program in Europe that would suit your needs and give you the global experience of moving abroad again. If you think a full degree program is too long to move away, look into programs in the US that give you the opportunity to study abroad for a semester or a summer term — they exist!
Although volunteering may not be the most feasible option financially, it is still a rewarding experience and there are opportunities in many locations for English-speaking volunteers. Some may even offer housing, meals or other benefits in exchange for your work.
Working abroad can be difficult because of work visa requirements, but if you can find a company that will value your skills and take the time to fill out the proper paperwork, it can be so worth it! Teaching English, especially if you are proficient in another language, is a great gig that can help build professional skills for whatever your future career may be. Working at a hostel can be affordable, as you often get free accommodation (and meet people traveling from all over the world — future couches to crash on!). Becoming a tour guide can offer great travel opportunities and extensive knowledge of specific cities and trips.
If you already have a career path planned in the US, find a company with a global presence! As the world becomes more cosmopolitan, companies value travel and cultural competency and often help employees travel and move to work in their other offices around the world.
If this all sounds like too much responsibility for you — save up, pack your bags and hop on a plane! You’re only young once — plan a trip and start checking cities off your bucket list.