HI Blog | What if you could travel and earn university degrees in your favorite subjects at the same time?

It was the worst day of my life, or so I thought. For most of my childhood I assumed I’d grow up to be a firefighter, but a routine vision test as a high school senior showed I was color blind, effectively crushing those dreams. Desperate to find a new passion, I cancelled my plans to enroll in college and booked a plane ticket to Kenya. I spent my time there just hanging out, meeting people and exploring new ways of life. Not only did I find new interests and passions on the trip, but my prior dreams of being a firefighter began to seem misguided.

It wasn’t until I returned that I was met with the classic millennial dilemma – to keep exploring or study? To my delight, I soon learned both are possible, and affordable! By studying abroad, I went on to earn four university degrees (including master’s and law degrees) in six academic years – shaving three years off the total for the same qualifications from North American institutions. In other words, I got a free law degree by travelling the world.

It’s within your grasp too, it just takes a bit of research. Many countries offer three year undergraduate degrees, single year masters degrees as well as other condensed professional programs. Remember, it’s not lazy to sign up for these programs, it’s efficient. Not only can you enter the professional workforce early, but you also pay less tuition. In my case, three years less.

Isn’t studying overseas expensive you ask? Let’s do the math! Tuition at American universities can exceed $60 000 per year, my postgraduate tuition at the University of New South Whales in Sydney, Australia were less than $20 000. My tuition for law school at City University London was under $15 000 per year. Some countries such as Switzerland even host programs that offer free or minimal tuition for international students. Even with the additional cost of flights overseas educations are often cheaper.

Better yet, many countries allow international students the ability to work part-time while living abroad. My salary as a swim instructor in Sydney was enough to live comfortably (by student standards of course). Other international students often find work in bars or restaurants around campus. Once again the key is research and planning, if you have a few interviews lined-up for when you step off the plane you’ll be fine. Nothing is more stressful than trying to find work once you’re already in the country.

If this sounds too good to be true I encourage you to check for yourself, but we haven’t even touched on the best part. Studying abroad opens your eyes to a whole new world of experiences and perspectives. You’ll inevitably return with a more well-rounded vision of your field. Weekends and breaks make for good times too, instead of busing home to visit relatives you’ll be just a stones-throw from somewhere new and exciting. Further, you’ll be exposed to new opportunities that simply didn’t exist in your hometown. For me, these opportunities led me to backpack through the DR Congo, intern with the UN in Bangkok and give entrepreneurial workshops in Pyongyang and Pyongsong North Korea. Where will your dreams lead you?

– HICG Managing Partner Scott Howe

*In just one of many examples of where your adventures can lead you, in this pic I’m playing ice hockey on Australia’s Bondi Beach while on a break from my studies at UNSW.