Combining Professional Development with Travel: 3 Unique Paths, 1 Great Outcome

When I first started traveling a decade ago, most travelers I met had were young and had their heart set on traveling the world for as long as possible; living their lives like one big vacation. Because I valued my career, productivity and creation so much, I knew I could (sadly) never be a long-term vacationer. But I still wanted to see the world and experience it all. After a lot of research and, from my personal experiences, I want to share the three best ways to see the world while staying focused on your career.

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INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION

Study Abroad – The most common and well-known way to see the world and learn is to take classes abroad. Some students study abroad for a summer, semester or year; while others (like me) earn their degree abroad.

If you’re an undergraduate student, talk to your academic advisor about opportunities to study abroad and then go visit your school’s study abroad office. They will be able to tell you what your options are and how it will affect your academic plan of study.

NOTE: I worked with my undergraduate academic advisors from day one on campus and ended up studying abroad twice, earning a major/minor and graduating in 3.5 years! Start planning early to maximize your international, undergraduate experiences!

Earn Your Master’s Degree Abroad – If you’ve graduated with your bachelor’s degree, consider earning a master’s degree overseas. I was able to study in Denmark and Spain, earn my master’s degree, work in both countries and even work on a project sponsored by the European Commission!

If you’re interested in earning your master’s in Europe, click here to get notified when my “Grad School in Europe: Choosing, Applying to & Financing a Master’s Degree in Europe”.

SHORT COURSES – Another option for professionals who don’t want to go back to school, but want to learn is to go on educational trips. This could be in the form of a cruise or a themed tour.

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SKILLS DEVELOPMENT WHILE ABROAD

If you’re backpacking or just planning some extended time abroad, consider volunteer at a local NGO, getting a job/internship, taking free online courses or learning a language. Skills development, in general, will enhance your resume. Additionally, acquiring these skills while abroad makes for great conversation during an interview or when networking.

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NETWORKING WHILE ABROAD

Another great way to maximize professional development opportunities during travel is to attend conference, workshops and seminars held overseas. Either find country-specific organization or or global chapters of international, professional societies/associations.


Whatever you do, whether it’s pure vacation, pure professional development or a combination of both, remember that you can have it all! Start planning today with this free #ProfDevAbroad workbook.

Now it’s your turn. How do you combine professional development with travel?

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