Many students come to college in hopes of finding a niche where they can excel in a certain field of interest. Students are taught that if they spend enough time learning a subject, they’ll be able to graduate with a degree and find a job that they’ll love. Or at least that’s what we’re told to believe. Fortunately enough for me, an English writer and aspiring journalist, I’ve not only found a practical field to enter after I graduate but I’ve also found that I have a passion that allows me to do exactly what I want when I graduate. I can travel the world.
I grew up in Los Angeles thinking that my little bubble of reality was all there was. But then, I guess as a part of growing up, I realized that there was more to my life than Southern California. So I decided to travel. I traveled to Philadelphia for school and came here, to Cabrini College. I went as far as I possibly could from what I knew and threw myself into a whole new world. I haven’t looked back since.
In the summer of 2009, I was blessed with having the opportunity to backpack through Europe with close friends of mine from home. We hitched our way through Western Europe staying with friends, riding the rails and immersing ourselves in cultures that once seemed worlds away. As it might be for anyone, culturally, idealistically and personally I was a changed man. Not only was I exposed to new types of people but new traditions and foods, landscapes and lifestyles. Becoming a world traveler was now my No. 1 goal.
In the here and now, I’m just a little over a semester from graduating college. Fresh off of a cross-country road trip, a chapter in my life is closing and the next one is about to begin. Most college students try and find a job immediately after they graduate. That’s fine and all, more power to them. But I’d like to do things a little differently. Sure I’d like to have a job but I still need to fulfill that goal of mine that requires me to see places like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South America, Africa and so forth.
That’s why I’ve decided to pursue programs such as the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), which allow individuals to receive room and board in return for volunteering on farms around the world and the TEFL Institute where individuals teach English to ESL (English as a Second Language) students in a variety of countries.
Programs like these are a great way for raw, young adults to understand new cultures and diverse people while at the same time helping to make the world a better place. As an English major, teaching English to non-English speakers is a great way to perfect my skills as well as teach the language and see new and exciting places.
Now of course I’m not saying to totally blow off your plans for after college but wouldn’t it be exciting to hop on a plane as a young and vibrant adult and spend a year in say, New Zealand? I know for me, this is something I want to do and something I am going to do.
Now of course programs like WWOOF don’t pay a salary, they only provide room and board. The TEFL Institute does pay a small salary along with room and board, however. But even so, I would say the experiences and lifetime memories one can gain doing something like this pales in comparison to a salary spent on brand name clothes, my BlackBerry, car payments or an Xbox Live subscription.
I want to meet new people, I want to see new places and I want to feel new emotions. Traveling is how I can do that. Please keep in mind these programs I have mentioned and the many more out there like them. Don’t get caught up in a rigid structure of how you should spend the next 50 years of your life. Remember that it’s your life. Do with it what you want. With that said, I think I’ll do a bit of traveling.