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10 Best Degrees for World Travel
What to study if you want to travel the world

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Traveling is a favorite pastime for many. For others, it becomes a life mission to travel the globe, seeing new scenes, engaging with fresh faces and learning about both new cultures and ancient histories found around the world. If you like to travel, you do not have to wait for your two or three weeks of vacation time to come rolling around in the coming year. Instead, you can consider taking undergraduate classes that will help you achieve this goal.

When looking for the right major and the right job, you should consider your overall job and travel goals. For example, you may want your major to focus on skills and knowledge that will help you acclimate to new cultures, understand an array of languages and better understand the people around you. On the other hand, you may prefer to focus on a major that will help you land a job likely to allow you to travel extensively for work. Whichever option you choose, you will want to consider the overall pay rate, the possibility of job advancement, overall work/life balance, the expected rate of job growth in the field over the years and any other perks that could make this your dream job.

Once you have landed on just the right job title for you, you can get to work on the best degree for your field. Of course, remember that a degree does not bind you to any one field for the rest of your life. As you change and your interests flow down new avenues, you can always build on your original undergraduate degree.

Today, millions of people travel for work every month. In fact, corporate travel is a huge industry with over a million Americans traveling for business every day in the United States. Others have decided that they do not have to be bound by the perceived rules of corporate jobs and have decided to become full time travelers. Whether you want a major that will give you an educational background in the culture where you will be traveling or a major that helps you land a job where frequent traveling is a necessity, these 10 smart options will give you a place to start and will help open your eyes to new adventures every day.

1. Education

Education is one of the best degree options for a world traveler wanna-be. This degree will let you teach abroad. You might consider teaching English-speaking children on a military base or getting a job at a private school in a foreign country. Individuals who can teach English as a second language are also in huge demand in many places around the world, especially in Eastern Asia. In some cases, you may even be able to score free accommodations from the school while pulling in a similar salary to what you could find close to home. Some education majors have even been able to find jobs in the Peace Corps and the CIEE Teach Abroad Program following graduation.

For your undergraduate degree, you will need to name a focus for your studies. For example, you may choose early childhood education although elementary education and secondary education degrees are typically in higher demand around the world. Most of your time in college will be spent in the classroom although you will spend some months toward the end of your time participating in student teaching. This will give you the real-world experience you will need to succeed. In the classroom, you will take a variety of education-based classes, including child psychology and development, curriculum development and teaching English as a second language, along with plenty of foundational prerequisites.

While a degree in education has not ever been known as a fast way to make money, it is incredibly rewarding and still remains a powerful way to get a job in a constantly growing field. Elementary school teachers make just over $58,000 annually on average while high school teachers pull in slightly more at approximately $60,000 annually. Keep in mind that while your annual salary could be a bit less when traveling abroad, you might be able to make back the difference with free perks, including benefits and housing.

2. Journalism

Many international journalists are also able to travel the world as they track down stories for their news organizations. They may meet a wide variety of high-powered people and may be on the front lines when it comes to breaking stories. However, if you have a journalism degree, you could also choose to focus on freelance work, choosing the stories that most appeal to you and traveling wherever and whenever you wish. Most articles can be written from your laptop with photographs taken with a smartphone. As long as you can access a secure Internet connection regularly, you can easily use your journalism degree wherever you travel. Thanks to the Internet, you will be able to do nearly all of your background research remotely as well.

As a journalism major, you will also be expected to complete much of your learning in the classroom while following up with hands-on journalistic work later in your college courses. In the classroom, you will study reporting, interviewing techniques, creative writing, editing, multimedia usage and much more. You may also delve deeper into the history of journalism, opinion writing and publication design. Depending on your college, you may need to choose your track based on whether you prefer broadcast or written journalism.

Journalism might be the right major for you if you have a natural curiosity to know more about the world around you. You must also feel comfortable talking to a wide variety of people and getting people to open up during interviews. In addition, you must be able to communicate clearly via broadcast or print journalism.

Your annual earnings will depend directly on the journalism track you choose. Radio and television broadcasters who provide live news updates tend to make more than print journalists at $71,000 per year versus $48,000 per year on average. On the other hand, freelance writers can make up to $63,000 per year on average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

3. Linguistics

Linguistics is the study of language and is an obvious choice if you plan to travel the world. Of course, this degree would help you better understand the language of the country you are visiting, but it would also help you understand the history and underlying nature of languages in general. You would be better able to understand how people of varying cultures communicate with each other, how languages vary in different regions of the same country and how components of language, including phrasing and tone, interact.

Besides the obvious benefit of knowing more about languages for yourself as you travel, you can also find a variety of jobs that require a linguistics degree. You might consider teaching, working in artificial intelligence, researching other cultures, becoming a translator or interpreter, using your knowledge for journalism or doing fieldwork as a language surveyor or literary program head. Much like those with education degrees, you could also teach English as a second language in nearly any country around the world.

Other than general study classes, you will also take many specific linguistics courses in college, including classes on phonetics, morphology, syntax, semantics and the history of linguistics. You can consider following a degree program for the linguistics of one specific language or might prefer branching out into psycholinguistics or applied linguistics.

If you decide to use your linguistics degree to become an interpreter or translator, you can count on finding plenty of work over the following years as this field is expected to grow 19% by 2028, adding over 14,000 jobs in that time. The average annual pay in this field is $51,000 although those who work for the government can expect to make a bit more than this.

4. Aviation

As you can imagine, pilots get to see much of the world around them. While many pilots working for large airlines end up taking the same routes repeatedly, you could work as a private pilot or use your education to fly yourself around the world. Besides a degree in aviation science, you might also consider a bachelor’s degree in aircraft operations or aeronautical engineering instead. Once again, you will need plenty of classroom time along with over 1,500 hours of flight experience before getting your pilot’s license.

For an aviation science degree, you will take many courses teaching you about basic aeronautics, aircraft composition, environmental concerns, crew management, aviation safety and fuel systems. You will also need an excellent grasp of mathematical facts. Once you are ready to complete your flight hours, you will need to be able to work well in a team and think quickly while staying calm in potentially harrowing circumstances.

Airline and commercial pilots pull in a very comfortable salary each year with the average pilot making over $121,000 annually. This field is expected to continue growing over the next 8 to 10 years with approximately 7,000 jobs added by 2028. However, private pilots may not make as much because they typically work on their own time. You can still expect to make nearly $85,000 per year as a private pilot.

5. Human Resources

Sometimes, a degree that you may expect to use in only one field can become your ticket to traveling the world. Human resources is one such option. While many people with this degree work in stuffy offices in corporate America, some have used the unique interpersonal skills that they have learned from their college studies to work around the world. One option would be to become a member of a cruise ship crew. However, you could also choose to work in a different sector of the hospitality industry and become a franchise director for a worldwide hotel brand. In this job, you would get to travel across the globe while spending several weeks or months in each location. Many large companies actively look for new people to travel for them each year.

As part of your bachelor’s degree program, you will take plenty of business, marketing and interpersonal relationship classes. You will also learn about business cultures around the world, global business management, business finance skills, basic accounting, staffing and strategic thinking. You may also need to decide on a degree track, choosing whether you would rather work in health care, business, marketing or information technology. Any of these options builds the opportunity for you to travel with plenty of future job opportunities.

Human resources specialists make nearly $62,000 per year on average. However, some in government, scientific and technical work can make more than $70,000 per year, and the top 10% make over $100,000. Although this career is only expected to expand by 5% over the coming years, many companies are sure to need talented HR representatives who are willing to travel as they outsource increasing amounts of work.

6. Graphic Design

If you are looking for a creative career that you can take on the road or even to an international location, look no further than graphic design, an exciting career that can bring in over $52,000 per year on average with only a bachelor’s degree. Working in graphic design will let you work with talented publishers or advertisers and can even let you get into public relations. When working for some specific industries, such as the federal government or the aerospace industry, you could even make well over $80,000, however.

Graphic design is often considered to be one of the top jobs when it comes to creative and media jobs because it lets you use visual artistry to communicate. While creating new and interesting work is certainly a huge part of your job, you will also have to be confident in presenting your work and selling yourself to advertisers, publicists and others.

A graphic design degree will include a variety of foundational art, Website design and computer courses and may even branch out into business aspects depending on your career track. Once you graduate, you will have great flexibility when deciding where to work, allowing you to work far from home as long as you have a top-performing laptop and a good Internet connection for turning in your work to clients. By working on your own time, you can schedule your working hours around your travel and sightseeing hours.

7. Web Development

Web development is similar to graphic design in the way that it can be taken on the road with you and can be pursued anywhere you have a solid Internet connection. However, the benefit of this degree is that you can make far more money with only a bachelor’s degree than you could in graphic design. The average Web developer makes over $73,000 per year, and many are self-employed individuals who work from outside the office.

You must also have a creative mind for this career as you will be designing Web pages, working with graphics and determining new Website layouts. However, you must also have a technical mind that can understand coding and monitor Web pages for site traffic. In addition, you should have excellent interpersonal skills for meeting with clients. When you are working from abroad, you will be meeting with clients over the telephone or via email much of the time.

Besides a Website development degree, you could also consider a programming or computer science degree. Whichever you choose, you will need to take classes in HTML programming, JavaScript, multimedia publishing, graphic design and business.

8. Nursing

Although your first thought about working as a nurse might be something as simple as working in a neighborhood clinic, long-term care facility or hospital, you might be surprised to discover all that you can do with this multi-faceted degree. If you want to travel the world, there are numerous travel nursing companies that can set you up with safe jobs both across the United States and around the world. You might also want to consider working with the United States Armed Forces. Military nurses are hired by all major branches of the military and often work in exciting and exotic locales.

With a bachelor’s degree in nursing, you can become licensed as a registered nurse and can work in a variety of specialty fields, including cardiology, critical care, oncology, pediatrics and emergency nursing. This field has been expanding rapidly for years and is expected to grow another 12 percent by 2028, adding over 300,000 jobs within that time. In addition, registered nurses have excellent opportunities for making healthy annual salaries and advancing in their careers. The average RN earns over $73,000 per year, and military nurses often earn a variety of exciting perks to make their jobs even more rewarding.

In college, you will take a number of important nursing classes to cover all aspects of human life and disease, including maternity, pediatric, medical-surgical and psychiatric nursing. You will also learn about cultural concerns in nursing and about human growth and development, giving you some much-needed skills if you plan to travel the world in your field.

9. Anthropology

Anthropology is an exciting field that can help you understand more about the people groups you will be interacting with in your travels. In this field, you study people from both the past and the present, and you may specialize in a particular field, such as sociocultural, biological or linguistic anthropology. You will be able to learn about societal norms, human behavior, gender relations, race inequality, evolutionary biology and commonly held human values. You may also study how language plays a part in human culture. Although some go on to earn master’s degrees in this field, you can certainly start with a bachelor’s degree.

As an anthropologist, you would have plenty of opportunities to travel the world as you seek to learn more about a particular people group or about sociocultural changes as a whole. You will most likely specialize in one particular area of the world, such as West Africa or Southeastern Asia. You may report your findings to an educational facility, write papers on your own or publish research as a freelance journalist. Many who major in anthropology go on to become researchers and evaluators.

Anthropologists make $63,000 per year on average and may make even more as they further their studies. In addition, the field is expected to grow 10% by 2028.

10. Archeology

Archeology is usually seen as a subtype of anthropology as it still looks at human and cultural development while also examining the history of places and things. Although some of your time will be spent in the field digging for artifacts, you will also spend much of your time in a laboratory examining your findings. However, you will have plenty of opportunities to travel the globe as many ancient cultures have existed throughout the lengthy histories of both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres.

Keep in mind that with only a bachelor’s degree, you will be kept to basic field work, and you may eventually want to consider acquiring an advanced degree. Your undergraduate work will consist of both class work in cultural norms, societal values and similar subjects as well as hands-on field and laboratory work. As of 2018, the average archeologist made approximately $62,000 annually, similar to an anthropologist. You will most likely be employed by a research organization or the federal government rather than following a self-employed career track.

As you can see, traveling the world is not a pastime that has to wait until you are retired. Instead, you can use these years to get in touch with your adventuresome side and see as much as you want of the world. Whether you decide to put your degree to work in discovering history around you or prefer a job that lets you easily work wherever you are, these 10 degrees offer a vast array of opportunities both now and in the future.