How Students Can Travel on a Budget

Nov 15, 2019 · 4 min read

Photo credits: Unsplash

Even though it may not be obvious, students are actually the most well positioned to travel. We check off practically every criteria including having the time, having the motivation, and having the people to travel with. The one exception that we lack is from a financial standpoint. There’s a general consensus that even though we have all the right reasons to travel, we’re missing the one key ingredient: money. Ironically, when we finally graduate and move to paid jobs in the working world, we lack the time to explore the world.

So how do we overcome this barrier to fulfilling our travel bug dreams? There are an incredible number of tactful ways students can use to get the experience of travelling abroad without emptying the wallet. Some opportunities for travelling are actually exclusive to students! These opportunities can enhance the experience through meaningful engagement with a broader community. While vacations typically last between a few days to a week, these extended stays can be an immersive way of travelling, learning, and having fun all-in-one.

1. Paid internships

Various opportunities exist through organizations like AIESEC, which stands for “Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales”. Despite its French-based name, the actual organization is worldwide and exists on nearly every university campus in Canada including University of Alberta. The organization is a student-run group that connects students with global internships and inter-cultural exchanges. The internships can range anywhere from a few weeks to half a year, depending on the agreed-upon contract. Summer months are the prime opportunity to engage in these activities given the extended length of time. Not only are many internships paid, but they also provide an extended period of time to connect with local communities and make friendships while abroad!

[Editor’s Note: Check out “7 Reasons to Do an International Internship.”]

2. Conferences

Conferences can be a unique way for students to travel. Oftentimes these conferences are held in cities across Canada, which can make for an expanded regional experience of our country. However, many international conferences are located in cities across the world from United States to Australia. For example, one conference I attended in New York City hosted by the United Nations Youth Assembly brought me to the East Coast. One useful tip for students is to arrive at the destination early to scout out the area and leave a few days later to truly enjoy the culture, cuisine, and sights of the city. Funding for academic-related travel is often available through faculties, departments, and other university services like the FGSR Graduate Travel Awards, GSA Academic Travel Grants, and Medical Students’ Association.

3. Volunteer abroad

Another fantastic way to travel as a student is by volunteering for a non-profit organization in another part of the world. Various destinations including Costa Rica, Peru, and Tanzania have volunteer organizations that send students to create an impact on local communities. While the priority is working with locals, there are often opportunities to get an even more in-depth understanding of the land. My personal favorite reason to volunteer abroad is travelling while making a difference. That’s two birds with one stone!

4. Study Abroad


Student life: You live it. We share it.


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Student life: You live it. We share it.

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