For the adventurous among us, being able to travel and explore the globe through work is a distant and idealistic dream. However, with the right qualifications, it’s a dream that can indeed become a reality.
In an increasingly digital age, there are more opportunities than ever to earn a living abroad. While there are professions that require international travel in a more traditional fashion, such as Translation or Diplomacy, there are also a growing number of ‘Digital Nomads’ — individuals that carry out their work online and can do so from any location on the globe.
If traveling the world is a particular aim of yours, then there are certain degree options that will help make that possible for you.
Here is a guide to the top 13 majors for traveling the world.
A degree in Education is one of the best options for those desiring a life of travel, as qualified teachers can work all over the world in international schools.
There are a huge number of English language schools in foreign countries, from the British School of Jakarta, Indonesia to the United World College, Mahindra, India. In boarding schools, you may have the option of accommodation and catering as part of your employment. You would also be part of the school community and meet fellow teachers and students from all kinds of interesting cultural backgrounds.
While high school educators are more in demand, there are also international education institutions looking for elementary and middle school teachers if that’s the career path you prefer.
While studying, you have the option of choosing a major in a particular subject along with Education, such as History and Teaching, for example. This allows you to still pursue your academic passion as well as learning practical methods for the classroom.
Additionally, there are a huge number of opportunities to teach English abroad. For this, you do not necessarily need a degree but just certification. This is usually cheap and fairly easy to obtain. TEFL, for example, provides certification for English teaching abroad.
Journalism is another profession that will open doors to international travel, especially if you specialise in global affairs.
High-profile journalists come into contact with influential, powerful individuals and compile stories on leaders and figures of interest all over the world. They also flock to report on key global events. This includes visiting war zones and protests. If this life of adventure appeals to you, then a degree in journalism is certainly something to look into.
There are many different types of journalists, from news network correspondents to film critics. As the former, you might get allocated a country to base yourself in and report on. As the latter, you might be invited to film festivals in Berlin or Toronto.
As a Journalism major, you will do the bulk of your learning in the classroom and complete some practical “field” work too. You’ll learn how to interview successfully, how to gather research and how to write compelling content. You can also look into internship opportunities in your area and can potentially score some freelance work while you study.
If you’re curious about the world around you and have a passion for travel, then journalism may well be the best major for you. It helps if you’re personable and a keen orator and communicator too!
3. Linguistics/Modern Languages
Linguistics refers to the study of languages — obviously something that will help if you intend to travel.
Evidently, a good understanding of how languages work will help you pick up the local language of a foreign country. In fact, you may already have a good foundation in the language, having taken courses in various different languages.
Additionally, a degree in Linguistics will help you land jobs as a cultural researcher, translator or interpreter. If you’re especially talented you might get the opportunity to translate important speeches, or work as an interpreter for world leaders at international conferences.
An education in Modern Languages will be an asset in pursuing any career, as it reflects academic brilliance and an ability to connect through language. This is useful when it comes to teamwork, relationships with colleagues and public speaking — to name but a few.
As a Linguistics student, you’ll take courses in phonetics, morphology, syntax, semantics and possibly become fluent in several languages.
As a translator or interpreter, you have the added bonus of being highly in demand and won’t find it difficult to find a job. If you want to guarantee yourself fulfilling and exciting work, consider learning languages which are less commonly spoken, like Farsi or African languages instead of French and Spanish (for which there are already a huge number or proficient translators.)
4. Graphic Design
If you’re creatively inclined and looking for a career which can take you overseas, then graphic design might well be an excellent degree choice for you.
As a growing industry and profession, graphic designers are more in demand than ever — and the salaries on offer definitely reflect this. We’re talking $52k+ with just a bachelor’s degree.
Working as a graphic designer can be very creatively fulfilling, and you’ll get the opportunity to work with a diverse range of people, from publishers to advertisers to government officials. Literally everybody wants great digital content — and they rely on graphic designers to get it.
If you love sketching, painting and designing, graphic design is a way to pursue a career in the arts while being sure to make a living from it. This is a luxury sculptors, for example, don’t always have.
However, while you’ll get plenty of opportunity to demonstrate your creative ability, it’s important that you’re able to confidently present your work too. Having an impressive portfolio and being able to communicate well with clients is a must.
Seeing as a huge amount of companies seek out talented graphic designers, you’ll have a lot of opportunity to travel and work with clients all over the world.
5. Creative Writing
Creative Writing is a degree which is often overlooked in favour of more traditionally academic pursuits. However, while it can help foster the talents of young poets and playwrights, it can also help you to land work in the copywriting and freelance writing sectors. Provided this work is carried out remotely (which it often is) then you can work from anywhere in the world.
A degree in Creative Writing will help you to create compelling written content, engaging characters and a strong, enticing narrative. These skills will serve you very well when it comes to writing content for websites, or commercials. In fact, companies need creative writers to come up with their script for commercials! Often this work can be completed independently and so from anywhere on the globe — or alternatively you can apply for posts in different countries.
Companies everywhere are always looking for talented writers to help them sell their product or service, and being a native English speaker will give you a big advantage when it comes to creating content for an international audience.
If the corporate route is not for you, you can also pursue your own writing, be it novels, novellas or poems, by applying for residencies in different cities. Literary institutions will offer a stipend and accommodation for writers who can produce works based around their location. You can find a list of writers’ residencies for 2021 here.
6. Diplomacy and International Relations
A degree in Diplomacy and International Relations will provide you with numerous opportunities to explore different cultures.
You will gain insight into global communication and will be obliged to handle international discourse. You will have the opportunity to work in foreign embassies, consulates or as your country’s representative in international negotiations.
In order to be a good fit for a career in diplomacy, you need to have an open mind, a gift for communication, a talent for learning foreign languages and be confident in public address.
This degree is for hard workers that are passionate about making the world a better place through pursuing official channels. It won’t lead to a life of free travel like freelance writing, but will provide plenty of travel opportunities on official business.
Marketing is one of the few degrees that makes you extremely employable. Whether you specialize in consultancy or strategy, having expert knowledge on how to sell is invaluable to companies.
Other than understanding advertising better than anyone, marketeers are also especially employable as they have a diverse range of skills, including teamwork, public speaking, excellent communication and tech expertise.
If you’re also keen to travel and experience living abroad, then you’ll be pleased to hear that there are a number of global opportunities for Marketing graduates. When a foreign company wants to penetrate the US market, for example, they will look to employ American nationals to assist them in doing that successfully. Just look at Netflix’s Emily in Paris (although I’m sure you can assimilate much better than her!)
Marketing is also a creatively fulfilling job as you get to explore web design, copywriting, social media posts and even logo design. This allows you to express your creativity in a diverse range of ways.
The other great thing about working in Marketing is that once you’ve established a name for yourself, you can go freelance. This way you can travel and complete your work online, from whatever location you’re occupying at that moment in time.
Anthropology involves the study of communities of people in various regions of the world, from tribes in Brazil to villages in Estonia. As an anthropologist, you will have the opportunity to travel to meet remote groups of people and carry out research on their culture and behaviors.
You can specialize in sociocultural or linguistic anthropology and will usually have a particular geographical specialty, like East Africa or Northwestern Asia. You’ll get the opportunity to truly delve into the different ways that humans live and thrive. Additionally, you’ll learn about gender relations in different cultures and encounter a range of diverse values, rituals and practices.
Your research and findings will be published and used to educate people on the fascinating lives of various different communities.
If you’re interested in human behavior and have a thirst for traveling to remote, undiscovered places, then Anthropology is likely the major for you.
9. Environmental Geoscience
Environmental Geoscience refers to the study of global climate change, pollution and the degradation of the ecosystem. It also teaches you about all the effects these components have on the atmosphere, the ocean and the earth itself. You will learn about all the ways the globe is being affected by climate change, and also examine ways that we can help and reverse the trend and preserve the earth’s resources.
Being educated on these important issues will provide you with opportunities for travel through various research projects assessing the impact of global warming. You can expect to go out on expeditions out at sea for months at a time, or find yourself on remote exotic beaches researching sand density. The sky is really the limit when it comes to a Geoscientist’s opportunity for travel.
Like Anthropology, Archeology examines human and cultural development by researching history and artefacts. The classic image of archeology is digging deep in the ground for old bones, but in reality you will probably spend more time in the laboratory examining your findings.
However, you will still have plenty of opportunity for travel by joining research groups heading out to different parts of the globe. Wherever there is buried history to uncover, you will be able to visit.
With just a bachelor’s degree, you will probably be restricted to straightforward field work, however if you choose to pursue further degrees you can take on a more advanced post and even have the opportunity to lead research expeditions.
As an archeologist, you will probably find employment with different research organizations or even governments. As these will be global, they will allow for you to be based in different countries.
11. Computer Scientist
Being a skilled computer scientist puts you a cut above the rest of us in terms of tech know-how. This makes you an extremely valuable asset to employers, and you can expect all manner of job opportunities — from app development to espionage.
While computer scientists were once dismissed as nerdy, we now think of them as silicon valley millionaires and big names. If you have a knack for computers, then you stand a great chance of having a prosperous career through pursuing your natural talent and area of interest.
As a programmer, you can be hired by international companies and relocate if and when you desire. You can also work on a freelance basis, or strictly work remotely, allowing you the freedom to travel whenever and wherever you like.
Also Read: 20 Best STEM Colleges (2023 Updated)
As is to be expected, pilots get to travel very frequently. Commercial pilots often take the same routes and don’t get as much freedom over their location, however, private pilots can fly more freely and spend as much time as they like in a country of their choosing.
When it comes to piloting, you can obtain a degree in either Aviation Science, Aircraft Operations or Aeronautical Engineering. For each of these, you will need an additional 1,500 hours of flight experience before you will be granted a pilot’s licence. This can be expensive and time-consuming, but ultimately worth it if you want to rack up those passport stamps.
Essential to being a good pilot is good leadership, crew management and quick thinking. You’ll also need a strong mathematical brain…and it doesn’t hurt to have a brave disposition too!
You might be surprised to know that Nursing is a profession that can help you travel the world. This is through humanitarian work, working as a military nurse, or through applying to certain nursing companies which send qualified nurses abroad.
A bachelor’s degree in nursing will allow you to become a registered nurse, and you can specialize in a variety of areas including cardiology, pediatrics and oncology.
As well as providing opportunities for travel, nurses are also always in demand so employment is guaranteed upon completing your studies.
While at college, you’ll take a range of classes in diseases, maternity, surgery, and even psychiatry. However, you’ll receive an education on different cultural concerns related to nursing, and learn about the different health risks and issues in different countries. This will provide you with some highly relevant knowledge and skills when it comes to traveling the world in the nursing field.
As you can see from the vast array of majors which allow for international travel, seeing the world is not a luxury afforded just to those on their gap years or in retirement — it can actually be an integral part of your career.
From nomadic travel funded by freelance writing on your computer to working as a foreign ambassador, there are numerous opportunities to explore the globe while embarking on your dream career.