The Digital Nomad and Education: Tips for Earning an Online Degree While Traveling

Earning an online degree while traveling can enable you to pursue your passions while advancing your skills ... photo by Boundless / CC BY-SA

Looking to further your education, but also like the idea of being able to explore the world? The good news is that you can have the best of both worlds. Thanks to distance learning, even digital nomads can obtain a college degree while traveling abroad.

You can take in all the sites there are to see while still securing a future for yourself. I can’t lie and say it won’t present some challenges, but if you can’t fathom the thought of staying put in one location, online learning is the appropriate solution for you if you have your heart set on earning an online degree while traveling. Now before you enroll in a college and high tail it across country, it’s important to have a plan.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Choosing a College

Not every college that offers online courses is ideal for the digital nomad. Therefore, you’ll need to do a little research to discern which college will provide you with the best options. To do this you will need to consider a few things:

·  Course and Attendance Requirements – When searching for schools you’ll need to look into the course attendance requirements. Some courses may require that you pay a weekly visit to complete tests on site; other courses may require you to do a certainly level of field work that is relevant to the degree you’re trying to obtain.

For example, a Master’s of Science in education or an accelerated online program at Gwynedd University may require you to complete a certain amount of hours volunteering in a school. While this does not dismiss this as a course you can take, you’ll want to make sure that you schedule your travels around these requirements to complete the degree program.

·  Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Distance Learning – It will be important for you to consider the type of deadlines or scheduling required for the degree program as well. Synchronous distance learning means that the teacher and students are all operating at the same time of day.

This may mean that you’re required to attend video conferences on Wednesdays for lectures or participate in group chat sessions on Fridays. Asynchronous distance learning however, means that you can operate at different times of day. This means you can log on whenever you want to complete assignments. If you’re going to select a school that utilizes synchronous distance learning than you’ll need to schedule your day accordingly.

·  Financial Aid Availability – Generally speaking, if you are an American citizen enrolling in an American university, the same financial aid, scholarship programs, and grants apply to you. However, you’ll want to make certain that this is true by consulting with the admissions or financial aid department at the school.

If for some reason you’re still unaware of how to pay for your studies, there are various opportunities that you can look into to earn money online. This can provide income for your studies as well as for your travels.

Making Sure You’re Ready

After selecting the school that offers the most accommodating online degree programs you will need to ensure that you’re ready to participate once the upcoming school year begins. Checking all enrollment requirements and computer capabilities is ideal before you begin your travels. Below are a few considerations to keep in mind:

·  Internet Connections – Most countries have decent internet connections available at your disposal. However, you’ll want to make sure of this before you begin traveling. You’ll need to map out locations that have access to Wi-Fi. If you’ve chosen to use your mobile internet service, ensure that you get 3G or 4G wireless access abroad. There’s nothing worse than finding out the day of class that you’re unable to properly connect.

·  Computer Capabilities – Many online colleges have interfaces or databases in which students must log into to complete assignments and participate in their studies. These databases generally have specific computer requirements.

For example, your school may require that your computer have a certain amount of memory, word processing program, operating system, and so on. You’ll want to make sure that all the devices you intend to use have the various capabilities you need to easily access any student login or resource databases required to complete the course.

·  Educational Supplies – While the classes may be online, it could be mandatory for you to purchase certain books or other forms of educational supplies. Find out as soon as possible what these requirements are so that you can be prepared. Order your books in advance so that you can ensure they arrive before you begin to travel. If this information is not openly displayed, you can generally reach out to your professor to find out what the course requirements are.

As long as you’re as passionate about your studies as you are about your traveling experiences, you should have no problem in completing an online degree no matter where you’re located at the time. Sticking to a schedule, planning well in advance, and staying on top of course requirements and school regulations is the best solution to being a successful online student. Though there may be some peaks and valleys as you learn abroad, it can be accomplished with patience and perseverance.