A degree is important to get a job and that is what every single individual I know has told me. Especially, being a Vietnamese, education is a must in the cultural perspective (as so many people have interpreted the Asian culture in general). Because of that, I have committed myself in a 4 year Bachelor study in The Netherlands. The desire for travelling itches me everyday and knowing that I could not leave the responsibility for my study. However, it is not the end of the world because in every tough circumstance, you always find the way out. Throughout my study, I have been from place to place and for some people, they have seen me travelling quite a lot. I cannot define ‘a lot’ because it would never be enough for me. So for those who wonder, who seek for the answer how I could manage to travel and study at the same time, the answer is simple – good planning and take any opportunity.
Studying in a foreign country has given me the chance to step in another land and give me the ability to explore better another culture. And Europe? Everyone wishes to be in Europe because the European lifestyle is somewhat so popular and desirable. So that is the first opportunity I took – STUDYING ABROAD IN EUROPE.
That’s nothing new any more, isn’t it? We all know to take the opportunity to study abroad and it might probably be the easiest way to get a visa. With the Schengen Visa, you can travel to at least 26 countries and there is no where else like Europe – everywhere is accessible by public transports and easy to get around.
The amount of holiday days a student has is obviously much more than an employee – no wonder why people keep telling you “you’re lucky that you’re still studying”. Take that, grasp your bag, go! Taking use of the holidays I got during college and they have afforded me to several countries – that doesn’t only count Europe. And here comes the definition for good planning.
My University has several options for exchange programmes and I believe most Universities offer the same or similar things. I regretted that I had not taken the choice be elsewhere but Europe but the schools I had chosen always gave me the gap time so that I could manage to have a longer trip. What I mean with gap time is the gap between my home University and the exchange University. In addition, I could have saved that money which I was supposed to spend on a new visa and flight tickets to travel some places that are close by.
How could I afford my travels?
Being a student sucks sometimes because you are always poor. Maybe some of you lucky enough, you have more luxury than me or other students, but the majority, we are called poor. I had quite a tough time to save money and that took a lot of sacrificing.
Say NO to new clothing trends
For the last few years, I have managed to skill myself on window-shopping. Wearing the same stuff might be not so cool but that’s the sacrifice you would take in order to save money. Or consider to hunt for sale products (which I did not do either)
Applying for school grant
Every year I tried my best to get the good results in University to get the acquired credits for grant. This grant could be small but it helps you along the way for both living and travelling in the future.
It could get difficult to work because of your minimised available time or language’s problems or having not enough skills. However, you can always find a certain thing that you are good at. During my study, I have managed to work as a babysitter, a waitress, a bartender and a tutor. Sometimes I worked two jobs in rows just to get extra bucks. Along the way, I also have developed a freelance work as a photographer so the only job I need to do is to promote myself and show my talents. As you might consider, I do not earn money with my blog because I want it to be non-monetised platform. But if you have a blog and able to make it as a side job, it is definitely the most potential in the market.
This could be the cheapest way to travel. However, it is not that easy as it sounds. If you are a public figure (let’s say you’re a blogger or a YouTuber), you need to have a certain amount of work on the platform so that it can meet the requirements or be recognised. For instant, I have had this site for more than four years and to maintain a blog is not easy, especially when you are busy with school and work.
Travelling does not always require so much money
If you don’t have a lot of money, that doesn’t mean you cannot travel. You can always travel to places nearby or even to different cities in the country you live in. Bus is a cheap option even though it might take a bit longer than any other transportations. Or like me, I hitchhiked and car-pooled. Car pooling might cost you a little but it is efficient in time and you can always get to know new people. Hitchhiking could be seen as a dangerous way of travelling but let me tell you, I could prove you wrong. You could always learn from other people’s experience or just need to wake up your sixth sense if you do hitchhike. Hitchwiki is a site for you to know a bit more about hitchhiking and help you locate good spots to hitch.
For accommodation, camping is a way, or as I tried to make my travel expense as least as possible, I used Couchsurfing – a great platform to meet people and to have a night stay for free. However, some weird things could happen on Couchsurfing or while using this site so don’t forget to read my Couchsurf Guide to be prepared.