By Marlo Wyant
All students should take advantage of travel opportunities while they are still in college. There are myriads of travel opportunities for college students that will never be encountered quite the same way again once they graduate. Unless you are like George Clooney in Up in the Air, once work begins and you are limited to just two to three weeks’ vacation time, your travel prospects become minimized. Traveling can broaden one’s cultural perspective, help learn a new language and discover interests not previously known. Whether traveling abroad or staying within the United States, there are many modes of participating in enriching experiences, many of which have scholarship and funding opportunities.
1.) Study Abroad
One of the best and more practical ways to gain extensive foreign travel experience is to participate in the study abroad program at the University of Miami or other partnering institutions of higher learning.
The University of Miami has an excellent study abroad program for students of all majors and varying language proficiencies. The U has partnerships with over 80 universities in 32 countries around the world, including Spain, the Galapagos Islands, and China. You have the option of studying abroad for a semester or up to one full year, all while gaining college credits towards your UM degree. With the world at your feet, why would you not take advantage of this opportunity? Check out the University of Miami Study Abroad Program at http://www.miami.edu/index.php/study_abroad.
Another program to consider is the Semester at Sea program by the University of Virginia. Semester at Sea is one very unique opportunity that allows college students of any major take university courses while living aboard a ship and traveling around the world. The trips can last as long as 111 days during the semester or as short as 20 days in the summer. Most recently, the Fall 2011 semester trip lasted 111 days and traveled to 14 different countries including Canada, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, Panama, Vietnam and more. Check out the Semester at Sea program at http://www.semesteratsea.org.
2.) Participate in a University of Miami Intersession Trip
The University of Miami is fortunate enough to offer international travel opportunities for students during its winter and spring breaks, while providing academic credit. Accessed through the UM Study Abroad office, intersession travels have several programs open to a variety of majors. This coming semester, there are sessions held in countries like Argentina, Italy, Panama, Peru, Spain, and England. Typically these sessions only last one to two weeks but expose students to the cultural diversity of the world and also provide them with three academic credits. Check it out at http://www.miami.edu/index.php/study_abroad/programs/faculty-led/
3.) Travel with a Club or Competition
With nearly 180 clubs and organization at the University of Miami, there are ample opportunities to travel for competitions, community service projects, conferences, and sometimes for free. UM Alternative Breaks participates in community service trips each fall and spring semester to places like New Orleans, Detroit, and Los Angeles. Engineers Without Borders has had several major service project trips to Peru that were fully funded. The UM fencing club recently traveled to Philadelphia to compete in a national competition. Members of the Society of Women Engineers traveled to Chicago, Illinois for the national conference at nearly no cost and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers traveled to Anaheim, California at nearly no cost to the students.
With these eye-opening cultural experiences available, there is no reason why students should not be able to take at least one trip away from their home and the University of Miami during their student careers.