Column: Why students should travel

Fall semester has officially ended and, if you aren’t taking winter classes, your schedule allows some adventure. Traveling is never a bad idea when you have a consecutive few weeks to kill.

If you like the hot weather, you can escape our cold winter and travel to Australia or South America, where it will be summer weather. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, a study conducted by Brigham Young University revealed that sunshine does help put you in a better mood. The sun exposure relates to more stable emotions according to the study, so go out and take in some Vitamin D on your travels.

If it’s not cold enough and you want to get some snow, there’s an excuse to go to Europe or even stay in the country and go to New York or Chicago. Going to a place with snow could be a great way to boost your holiday spirit in a winter wonderland. You can build a snowman, throw some snowballs around, things Los Angeles can’t offer you.

Make the most out of this opportunity to travel. After a semester of papers and tests, you’ve earned a trip for yourself. You have surely been stressed and taking some time out of your city, state or even country will do you some good.

When you get out of your regular environment, you get out of your daily routine and duties. Taking some time to have no obligations and just do what you want, whether it’s wild or simple, will relieve stress. Doing things you enjoy will naturally help you relax and, since you will not be near any responsibilities at home, you get to go enjoy yourself however you please.  

Traveling can be a way for college students to gain independence. Becoming an adult is scary for some and traveling might be good practice to help you gain confidence in yourself. You are out somewhere without parents to bail you out, so this is a perfect opportunity to see what you’re made of. Can you truly survive on your own? If you can, it will make you feel more certain of your abilities to take care of yourself.

Traveling is also an unconventional method of education. It’s learning first-hand, through experience. Some stuff just cannot learned in the classroom. You will be exposed to new cultures and learn about other foods, music and languages. Also, be sure to step out of the tourist areas once in awhile and explore more authentic parts of whatever place you land in.

Traveling broadens your perspectives because the world thinks about the same things differently. We are in the western part of the world and our way of life and our thoughts are different here then it would be anywhere else. Being open minded while traveling can allow for some eye opening experiences. Witnessing new ideologies and perspectives can be refreshing.

Going outside, breathing the air, meeting the people, trying the foods, listening to the music and joining in on the activities they do for fun in that area, that is what it’s all about. I have traveled officially to Peru, Mexico, Paris and Netherlands. In The States, I’ve visited Arizona, Nevada and Texas. All these places, whether in America or international, have exposed me to different cultures and been a huge learning experience for me.

Not only is it about learning, but also about just enjoying yourself and having amazing experiences. I have sand boarded in Las Dunas in Peru, climbed Machu Picchu, drank champagne atop the Eiffel Tower, visited the famous Louvre Museum in France, explored the Red Light District scene in Amsterdam and enjoyed some authentic mariachi entertainment in Mexico.  

Wherever I end up after college, like a job that requires traveling for example, I will not be intimidated. I will be ready to take on the experience because I have already exposed myself to places outside my own comfort zone. Traveling prepares students for the world in so many ways. You are getting a prominent education while travelling. If you are in college, you are at the time of your life to be learning and taking it all in.

Most of the students in college aren’t married or have children yet, therefore it’s a good time to take these opportunities to travel while you have no commitments that would make planning tougher. If you have already began a life with marriage and/or kids, don’t let that be an excuse to not explore. It will do you more good to take time for yourself and refresh, even if the planning does take a little extra time.

If you plan to spend your money on something, put it toward yourself. Invest in your education and travel. Save the money by withholding an unnecessary expense for some time. For example, the coffee drinkers can put some money they would’ve spent on coffee into a savings account instead. You will be happy you made the sacrifice when you’re drinking coffee in Cuba.

College students are, by definition, formally engaged in learning. Learning does not stop in school and the world itself can be a great teacher. There is so much to explore and discover to keep your mind positively influenced during vacation time.