Here’s all the info you’re looking for — from travel deals for students to info about students traveling abroad, plus a few insider tips I wish I knew while I was still in school.
Travel for students is a pretty extensive topic, with a lot to know. When I was in school and looking for travel opportunities, I was torn between wanting to take a longer trip, but not being able to afford something as expensive as a student study abroad program. I’m so glad I found ILP. I didn’t hear about this particular travel program until after I had graduated, which is why I wanted to put all the "travel for students" tips and info in one place so you can go abroad earlier than I did!
Want to see where you can go with ILP?
See all of our volunteer programs here.
As a student, I was focused on finding ways to travel affordably, see as many countries and cultures as possible, and maybe even get school credit. I’m sure there are other student travel programs out there that can give you a few of those things, but for me, ILP hit all of those points and more.
Why I Volunteered With ILP (Twice!)
Okay to start, the price is totally unbeatable. Flights, housing, visa, meals, and more are all included in the ILP Program Fee. It was definitely something I could have afforded when I was in school but didn’t find out about ILP until after I graduated. It’s such a good deal, I went twice — once to Europe, and once to Asia. My second time, I basically got paid to go because I went back as a Head Teacher, so my Program Fee was waived, and I got a stipend. Talk about a good deal! I knew students studying abroad who were paying anywhere from two to five times that amount for the same amount of time, but not nearly as much independence or vacation time while abroad.
Vacation time is another huge perk. I knew I wanted to see a lot while I was volunteering for a semester. ILP gives you every weekend off, you’re only teaching English part-time (or volunteering in an orphanage part-time), and on top of that, vacation days to see even more. When I was in Europe, that meant visiting 8 or 9 countries before coming home. Not sure about you, but that’s way more travel than you can typically do in student travel groups during a short, two-week trip.
Want To Learn A Bit More?
Just so you know, International Language Programs (or ILP) is a non-profit organization that sends volunteers to countries all over the world. Each volunteer goes for a semester (so 3-5 months) where you’ll be helping children learn English or volunteering in an orphanage … and taking vacation time to see all the cool places nearby, of course. We cover your flight, visa (if necessary), meals while you're over there, and housing (plus a few other things).
If you're someone who is looking to be adventurous, are motivated to explore a new country, dive right into a new group of friends, and totally new experiences, it sounds like this is the start of a pretty beautiful friendship. Our organization is set up to help you begin your trip, but then the experiences you have are up to you. (It's also up to you to help make this happen — more on talking to your school's internship offices later.)
Check out this quick list of FAQs about ILP. You’ll find answers like who can volunteer, where you can volunteer, if you need any experience, and how much the programs cost. It’s a great starting point.
ILP + Your University
Get An Internship
One massive perk of doing a longer trip (instead of a quick two week trip) is that the amount of experience you gain may qualify you for an internship. ILP’s been sending college-aged volunteers abroad for 25+ years, and have had lots of alumni get internship credit for their semester of volunteering. ILP isn't associated with any specific college or university, so you'll need to talk to your internship advisor at your school to see if it will work ... but it has worked for past ILP volunteers! We have a bit more info about that below, but in a nutshell, you'll have to talk to your school's internship office.
We're more than happy to provide paperwork or additional information they may need, just give our office a call at (801) 374-8854 or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This blog post about getting internship credit is also crammed full of helpful tips to help it work for you.
Get School Credit
We also have had volunteers in the past get school credit for their volunteer abroad experience. Since ILP isn’t affiliated with any university, there are a lot of variables (because the decision is really up to your school) but it’s worth trying! You never know about school and student travel opportunities outside of your university, but alumni in the past have made it work.
Start with your academic advisor or head of your department. They'll be able to direct you to the right person to speak with. Some volunteers have school requirements where a semester abroad with ILP fits very well and we've also seen some universities work with students to mold ILP into an experience that would fit their requirements. You can get more advice on potentially getting school credit while volunteering with ILP here.
A Few More Resources
ILP’s a Utah-based company, so we tend to attract students from Utah-based universities (as well as others around the area). If that’s you, we have some resources to help you out! (And if you don’t see your university on here, no worries — we have volunteers from all over the US and Canada). You can also check out when we are having info meetings where you can tune in and listen to info about the program from someone who’s volunteered with us before.
Student Travel Tips (For Saving Money)
Discount Travel For Students
International travel for students can be expensive, but not as expensive as when you’re not a student! I can’t tell you how much money I saved with student discounts while I was traveling abroad. ILP set me up with an insurance card that doubled as a student ID which meant half off museum tickets, discounts on food, and even free entry to some attractions.
See all the money I saved while I was in China, and then all the student discounts I racked up while in Russia. And that’s not even including the other countries I visited on vacation. Over a couple of trips, I’m guessing I saved hundreds of dollars by traveling with a student ID. So even if travel for students seems expensive, just know it costs more when you’re out of school!
Get Cheap Passport Photos
Another huge “travel for students” perk? Your university may have the most affordable (or even free) option for passport photos. Check out where to buy affordable passport photos here and look into your own campus to see if you can save.
Get Your Gear For Less
Lots of retail stores do 15% off or other promotions for students. So you may be able to grab the gear you need for a semester abroad at a discount (something that’s a big money saver). Get adventure sandals, luggage, backpacks, and other supplies for less with these tips.
Discounts + Fundraising
Do you have a friend wondering about traveling abroad? Bring them on your ILP semester and you both save! ILP has a few ways to save on your Program Fee. Just contact an ILP rep to get info on how to get the application fee waived and details on our current discounts and promotions.
Plus, we have had so many volunteers raise hundreds (even thousands) of dollars fundraising. It’s as easy as posting on your Instagram Story or putting together a letter to send out. I had major success fundraising with my first ILP trip and would highly recommend it to anyone, especially students traveling abroad on a budget. Here are tons of fundraising ideas to try out.
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