Why Are Students Travelling Abroad & Leaving Their Studies Behind?


If you are a student travelling abroad and leaving your education behind, you are not the only one. Leaving college leaves you with endless decisions, two of them being continuing studies or travelling. It is legally compulsory for teens to be in education until 18, then once that age has passed the world is your oyster. Continuing your education at 18 typically consists of going to university, which can be a great experience whilst building independence and character. However, travelling has significantly become more and more popular over the years. So why is the current generation ditching the academic approach and choosing to travel instead when turning 18? 

The downsides of further education today 

Let’s begin with what’s putting this year’s generation off university and instead pushing students to travel abroad. Undoubtedly, it has been proven that academic pressures have had a significant impact on the Gen-Z population. Due to COVID-19, many teens have suffered stress and overwhelming expectations for their academic capabilities, ignoring the educational gap they have had to suffer. As a result of this educational gap, it has caused pressure on current students to become quite extreme. Possibly causing many students during these past two years to have had a stressful and unpleasant experience with their studies, and therefore resulting in them refusing to carry on with the suffering of academic pressure. 

The time considerations

Despite the pressure of modern-day studies, another consideration of why current students travel abroad and choose not to continue their studies is, is it all worth it? Whether it’s a university degree or a degree apprenticeship, these types of further studies typically take around 3-4 years. Which is three to four years of your ‘prime’ age, 18-22. These years of your life typically tend to consist of lots of learning about yourself, independence and creating lifelong friends. 

Improved independence 

Luckily, both options of going to university and travelling give you the ability to improve your independence and create new relationships with people all over the world. Studying abroad is even a tangible option for many people to escape the country they have been locked down in for so many years. So, depending on which way you would like to spend your ‘prime’ years, both options feed you different and fulfilling experiences. Yet between these two options, one can follow you with lifelong debt. Don’t get me wrong, both of these options are considerably expensive, especially for young adults. Yet typically, university leaves you with a significantly larger long-lasting debt that can haunt you up until retirement. 

Financial stress

The expense of university also typically leaves students during their studies with less disposable income. Lack of disposable income can result in your university experience not being quite as you expected, going out every night may have been the expectation but not the reality. With the little money you do have, spending it on gym leggings is entirely tempting and one pair won’t be too damaging, but saving your disposable income will be a beggar idea. 

Consequently, the pressure put on this generation’s academics, coupled with the expensive disheartening reality of university, leads many students travelling abroad, leaving any academic stress behind. Travelling after college can bring you endless opportunities which is perhaps another reason for the obvious choice students are currently taking. These opportunities consist of many things, yet a prominent one is freedom. 

Educating yourself on the world

Students travelling abroad is a perfect way of opening your eyes to the world and exploring what the world has to offer whilst also building your character and experiences. Yet, the perks of doing it straight after college make you feel as though any other choice after college would be unfathomable. This stage in your life is likely to be the age you have the least ties and the most freedom. 

It would be incomprehensible to not take advantage of the fact you have no strings attached to anything, no job, no house and probably not a husband and kids. Experiencing different cultures and different forms of reality is also a paramount experience that you can use throughout the rest of your life, particularly with your future such as job interviews. Other opportunities follow with the people you meet. A famous quote is ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ and for all you hard-workers out there, this is unfortunately somewhat true. 

My personal experience 

From personal experience, travelling resulted in my mum and I becoming very good friends with a woman from Florida who I would now even consider an auntie! During the endless times we have visited her we have been able to take trips around the rivers on her boat, experience endless Florida sunsets and live in her River House allowing us to feel what it’s like to live as an American. Now, this is just one of the many opportunities you could be faced with when encountering new people. I mean if you’ve ever seen Mamma Mia you will know that Donna didn’t just meet Sam at home, so get on out there! 

Combined with the opportunities of students travelling abroad, money doesn’t always have to be an issue. Students understand that money is not something they typically have flexibility with, however, another key concept of why Gen-Z are ditching their studies, maybe because they know how to keep travel cheap and affordable. 

Maintaining the expense of travelling

Students travelling abroad can be kept cheap and affordable in many ways, for example even just being a little less acquisitive can surprisingly make a trip a lot cheaper. But a favoured method of keeping the cost low from Gen-Zs is just to go backpacking and camping! Whether that’s backpacking and staying at hostels or creating your humble abode in the middle of the forest, your disposable income would be bigger than ever. 

Working whilst travelling

Another favoured way of travelling young at the moment, possibly more long term, is to rent and work in different places over the years. Perhaps moving to Hawaii in a small apartment, just getting a job as a waitress for 6 months. This method allows you to have a consistent income that will pay for your stay while you get to experience the new reality and lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t as easy as it looks, contracts and accommodation laws may play a huge part in this method however for long-term students travelling abroad it’s worth a shot!

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