As an undergraduate student, I often dream of traveling the world and experiencing various cultures; I dream to have a better perspective and contribution politically, socially and economically towards the world. However, personal financial stresses interfere with these plans and traveling takes a lot of time that I may not have.
Here are some tips to combat the feeling of being separated from the international community simply because you can’t afford to travel:
Join an international club.
There are different international clubs, especially at many universities, that allow you to make connections with people from around the world.
For example, AIESEC is the world’s largest student-run organization that offers opportunities for students to go on international internships. AIESEC also offers local students the chance to help facilitate these internships abroad—being involved in helping someone else’s travels permits you to be a part of their international experience, as you are aiding movement for global interaction and learning from others experiences.
Be engaged with world news and participate in discussions about current events.
Paying attention to international news broadens your sense of current events outside your borders, which can lead to reflection about your local environment. Demonstrating understanding of current events and a strong voice is a way to be involved—even if you cannot physically be where events originate.
Make an international pen pal.
Who doesn’t want more friends? Having a pen pal is all about creating relationships with others that can allow you learn about and embrace cultural differences. There are several websites that offer the service of connecting international friendships.
If you don’t want to write letters the old-fashioned way, connect on social media websites. Strong friendships can have lasting effects and if you end up travelling in the future, there’s the chance that you can meet your international friend—and maybe even snag a couch to crash on.
Take an international development or language class.
Education is the best way to gain new perspectives. Taking an international development course can foster insight about nation relations and development. These courses require our brains to remember and form ideas, which allows for positive debate and understanding about the world around us.
Language classes can also make you feel like you are a part of another culture. Learning about different aspects of a country’s language, political, social and economic backgrounds allows for greater understanding of our global world.
Layla Clarkson is a second-year communications and international studies student at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her keen interest in journalism and travel is what led her to join AIESEC as a Public Relations Coordinator.Add this article to your reading list