There are approximately 21 million college students in the U.S. The vast majority of these future leaders went straight from high school to college. A lot of them will go on to immediately apply to graduate school, or go into full-time employment, once they graduate. While British youth are very familiar with the “gap year travel” concept and work months to save up the funds to travel around the world between high school and college or college and full-time employment, many Americans fear having any gaps in their resume. Coupled with that is the fact that an alarming 62% of Americans do not even hold a passport, according to the U.S. Department of State.
Are you a college Senior? Ever thought about ticking some more places off of your bucket list before you start your first full-time job? Maybe you haven’t traveled internationally before, or regret not taking the opportunity to study abroad. It’s not too late to take some time to travel before you jump into full-time employment. In fact, many of the lessons students learn while traveling is something they could have never learned inside a classroom, and they better position themselves to potential employers after having international experiences.
Here are the twelve reasons to travel after college, before jumping into your first full-time job:
1. You likely don’t have the same financial burdens (like a mortgage) that you may have down the road, and if you have student loans, you are still in the 6-7 month grace period before monthly payments kick in. Take this period of financial freedom to invest in travel.
2. The world is a big place, why not learn about different cultures and broaden your knowledge.
3. You can work while you travel. With work abroad programs in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland you can live in a new country while making money, adding international work experience to your resume and taking the chance to travel in a new corner of the world.
4. Taking the time to travel before you start working can also help shape what you might want to do, and add valuable skills and experiences to your resume (especially if you’ve done paid work abroad or learned a new language), making you more attractive to potential employers.
5. After the stress of finishing up your degree and transitioning to the post-college phase of life, your probably ready for a break!
6. While you’re traveling, you will have plenty of time to reflect on what you want to do when you return home.
7. When you’re between 18-25, you get some of the best travel discounts. So travel while you can do so at a significant discount.
8. Just because your housemate has secured a job doesn’t mean you have to right now.
9. Travel is only going to get more difficult with age. Not just because of piling on responsibilities, but because of your health as well. You may have more money when your older, but you may not be in the physical condition or have the same will to see the world that you once did. You probably won’t have nearly the same experiences either – nightclubs, backpacking, staying in hostels, these are all experiences for a specific point in time in your travel career.
10. Traveling will force you out of your comfort zone. You’ll find yourself being independent by figuring how to get around, budgeting and scheduling, all very important qualities.
11. You’ll have the most amazing stories and experiences which you can pass on to other travelers.
12. You’ll have a personal accomplishment. You’ll be proving to yourself that you can stand on your own two feet and take anything that life throws at you.
There’s a world of opportunity out there just waiting to be explored, so make sure you don’t miss out! Remember, the only thing that’s limiting you is your imagination.
**Cover photo courtesy of Ellin H.