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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Advice with the Arts Editor: Get your travel on

Dong Woo Im
A student packs their suitcase for a trip. Photo by Dong Woo Im / Mass Media Staff.

Travel seems like a luxury only afforded to those of the upper class. If you had asked me about it a few years ago, I would have said the same. That was until my uncle started a travel fund for me and suddenly travel became accessible. 

I understand how much privilege I have in this situation. I am lucky that when I expressed an interest in travel someone in my life was able to provide access to that luxury. But travel is not as inaccessible as you may think as a college student. 

Anyone can find travel budget plans online for free. If you add $20 per month to a high-yield savings account, that can add up quicker than you might think. Expert Vagabond describes his experience budgeting on a low income in his article “How I Saved Money For Travel (You Don’t Need To Be Rich).”

There are also many study abroad programs available at UMass Boston. For most programs, you pay the same amount as you would studying on campus. UMass Boston student, Blake Moody, is spending this semester studying in Japan. 

“Interacting with other international students has also greatly expanded my perspective of the rest of the world,” he says. “I think a lot of Americans see themselves as the center of the world. It amazes me how many people here can speak three or four languages other than Japanese. It motivates me to want to learn a second language.” Traveling brings a want for learning more about cultures around the world and communicating with people of all different backgrounds.

UMass Boston student Ana Fuenzalida studied abroad last year. “If there’s one thing I’ll say about going abroad, it would be that I think everyone should do it!” she said. “I had the most amazing time, being thrown completely out of my comfort zone, especially being in a country where I could barely speak the language. I saw the most beautiful things, met friends for life, and learned some incredibly important life lessons.”

Learning life lessons is a huge highlight of traveling. Recently I visited Florence, Italy, to see a friend who is studying there for the semester. On my way home, my flight was delayed four hours causing me to miss my connecting flight home. I was trapped in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol until my flight the next morning to Paris, where I would then board a flight home to Boston. 

This was my first international trip and I was traveling solo, which added a significant stress to my trip. I expected to spend the next 15 hours in the airport because it was 5 p.m. and my connecting flight didn’t leave until 8 a.m. the next morning. 

I went to the service desk where they told me that I had to book the hotel myself, and they would reimburse me. Because I don’t speak the native language and I had never been to this country before, I had no idea how to do this. 

I decided to pay for the lounge instead and just sit in there while I figured things out. When I got to the lounge, I was informed that they were closing and I promptly burst into tears. The attendant at the desk felt bad for me, and she was able to book me a hotel room in the Hilton, free of charge. Relieved that everything had worked out, I crashed in the room until I had to get up for my flight.

Traveling prepares you for the unexpected because nothing really goes as planned. Even though it was a little stressful, the trip was well worth it. I was able to see a new country and experience a new culture. I tried delicious food and saw amazing sights. 

Molly Britton, a student from UMass Amherst, said, “I know this sounds cliché, but I think studying abroad has taught me how to push myself out of my comfort zone. I was so scared to come here but I did it, and I’m learning how rewarding it is to push through the challenges. I’ve gained so many memories and built up my independence.”

Visiting new places and trying out new experiences helps you grow as a person. Save up for your next trip so you can spend it somewhere that you want to see. There are fantastic places around the globe just waiting for you to explore.

About the Contributors
Rena Weafer, Arts Editor
Dong Woo Im, Photographer