How to travel for absolutely free

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Life as an international student is kind of tough, especially if you live in Dublin where the price of accommodation is through the roof. And of course, it becomes tougher if you come from a developing country like mine (the amount of renting a room monthly in Dublin is equivalent to three year rent of a 3-bed house in the community where I used to work back home, lol, do the maths!). It is a near impossibility for an international student to think of taking a holiday; I mean, that would be financial suicide. Surprisingly, I was able to travel last year almost 5 different times; and I have been doing so since 2014.

There are several youth opportunity websites, dedicated to helping students explore opportunities for travel to attend events, workshops, training and even competitions. Despite coming from a country economic problems, I have been able to travel for free – for the most part.

Ivory Coast, 2014

Since 2014, I have been fully sponsored to student events in Rome, Cote D’Ivoire, Switzerland, China and several other countries. Sometimes, I had too many invitations and could not keep up visa applications (due to obvious reasons based on my nationality), and unfortunately I could not attend these events.

Here are my five top picks of websites where students can get opportunities to travel free of charge to events on different topics ranging from culture to sports, entertainment to entrepreneurship. These websites are the top destinations for students who wish to travel, regardless of your financial situation.

Beijing, China; 2015

The list above is not exhaustive, but with these anyone from anywhere should be able to find an opportunity to attend a fully-funded event. Some events may cover flight, subsistence and accommodation costs, and leave you to sort the visa costs, but it wouldn’t be anything that would break the bank.

So where do you want to go in 2017? In my next article, I will discuss why and how you can apply to an event outside of your current study area and still get selected. Watch this space!

P.S: Most of these events will require some sort of work on your part. Of course, nothing in life goes for free. Some events will require a motivational statement, while others may ask for a short essay on the reason why you wish to attend the event. As college students, it’s not much sweat anyway, we’re smart people.

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Oluwasegun Seriki is a 3rd year international PhD student at DIT Bolton street. He writes on lifestyle, travel and youth-led entrepreneurship and of course, he loves travelling! His passion is creative writing and he publishes his musings and meditations on life under the theme “Musings of a Broken Man”. He can be reached via email at seriseg@outlook.com

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