*This distance learning post is a collaboration
Learning is a lifelong passion of mine – so it always makes me laugh when people celebrate finishing school as though their education is over. Honestly? That's when my true education started and I've learned far more valuable skills since finishing university than I ever learned during my three years. This is the real opportunity for you to develop a passion for learning without pressure, studying purely for the joy. You might be motivated to grow your personal skills, your hobbies or to level up in your career – but you're making that choice for yourself, not for some standardised test.
Like me, many of you guys are travellers who either already have, or plan to take time out to travel. It might be a few months, or a full year – but it's an opportunity to take time away from work and education. My question is – have you considered studying while travelling? Distance learning courses are more accessible than ever and there has never been a broader range to choose from. We are so lucky to be able to access education materials, and to have the opportunity to grow our skill set from anywhere in the world. Why not use that privilege to transform your future by investing in yourself now?
Why should you consider studying while travelling?
If you're taking time out to travel, it could be the perfect opportunity to study or learn a new skill. So many of us just don't have the time when we're working full time, we're exhausted by the end of the day and don't feel motivated to take a course. But when you remove that extra pressure, learning can become fun again. Suddenly taking a few hours to study per day in the morning or evening doesn't seem that much. If anything, it can really help to add structure to an unstructured lifestyle! You might be moving from place to place, but you can still create your own routine around your studies.
Particularly for longer-term travellers, or budget travellers, you will find that travel involves a lot of waiting around. There's a lot of long bus, plane and train journeys, a lot of delays and layovers. How you choose to fill this time could be the difference between taking a holiday and building your future. Sitting there in an airport waiting for your flight is a perfect time to crack out those reading materials and to brush up on another chapter. This is actually how I built this blog and business – I spent hours and hours reading, researching, learning, writing and creating while on overnight buses. If I can achieve that on a bus travelling at lightning speeds down dark, winding roads – you can definitely complete that course!
Five types of distance learning courses to study while you travel
Improve your GCSE or A level qualifications
Many first-time travellers will take time out before university – particularly if they're not sure what they want to study. If you didn't get the grades you wanted, or perhaps you've suddenly found your passion but you didn't get the right exam results to actually get in. Don't fear – your life is NOT over! Teachers, parents and society love to make us feel like it's now or never, we only get one shot to get it right, but the truth is there are a lot of pathways to where we want to end up. Sometimes not choosing the traditional method can be the best thing that ever happened to us.
Distance learning while taking time out to travel could be a great way to discover a love of studying and a passion for the topic on your own terms. You might need to retake an English or Maths exam to get the right grades, or you might fancy taking another A-level so you can get on that university course. Why not consider opting for an online GCSE course and try studying while travelling?
Learn a language or how to teach one
During lockdown I finally completed my TEFL course, and while I may not have been studying while travelling – I'm so glad I completed the distance learning course. While I was travelling in South America, I was also studying Spanish online, and I've previously been studying German while I was living in Hamburg. It's a really valuable skill, to be able to speak another language, and one that definitely deepens your experience and connection to a place. Whether you take it slow with an app like Duolingo or Babbel, or you want to commit to a full course, there's suitable options for all abilities. Why stop at learning a language when you could learn to teach your own language? Completing a TEFL course is a great way to expand your earning potential by giving you the option to teach online or abroad.
Diversify your skill set to change or advance your career
Often the most popular reason to commit to studying while travelling is because you want to change your life. If you're taking time out to travel, the chances are you're either on a study or career break. The chances are, you were pretty fed up with your life and ready for something new, something different. Distance learning provides you with an opportunity to start building your future. Creating your dream life alongside getting the freedom you so crave. For most of us, it feels impossible to study alongside working full time – it's exhausting! But if you're already taking time off to travel. Well, it gives you the brain space to focus on learning a new skill.
You might want to level up to edge your way into the next pay grade by getting additional qualifications – maybe a diploma? Or you might fancy branching out into a new department perhaps by advancing your health and social care or IT skills? If you're self-employed, or fancy setting up your own business, it could be a great time to take a course that will give you the skills you need to be successful. Why not take a course on accounting, social media or marketing? They're all super important things that you will need to know.
Take a personal development course
We're all a work in progress and if you ask me, that's one of the greatest joys in life. There's always so much more for us to learn, so many ways to grow. It might be that you want to focus on changing and improving something about yourself. Which in turn, could have a huge impact on your career, your relationships and your happiness. Maybe you want to focus on improving your finances and money management skills. Or it's your communication skills that need work. Some people might feel the need to focus on their self-confidence and public speaking. While others might focus on their business skills. Take care to research courses and ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck. There are so many out there, it can be daunting to know where to start.
Follow your passions and do it for fun!
Don't forget, distance learning doesn't always have to be about taking the next step in your career. Perhaps there's something – a skill – you've always wanted to learn. Maybe it's more about choosing something outside of the norm and challenging yourself in new ways. For example, I'm passionate about wellbeing and mental health. During the summer, I spotted that Yale University were offering free access to a wellbeing course, so I signed up! It wasn't about getting a certificate or "qualifying". It was about studying something I truly loved and was interested in purely to learn from an expert. It's the same reason I choose a lot of the non-fiction books I read. So whether it's candle-making or cross stitch, writing, art or even gardening. Why not study simply to get creative and try something new?
Two blog posts you should read before choosing a course:
Whether you're travelling or still stuck in lockdown, we are so lucky to have such a wealth of opportunity at our fingertips. Education is such a privilege and those of us living in the western world have unlimited access. We shouldn't hesitate to take full advantage of the amazing online courses available to us. This post includes the full range of amazing online courses, plus access to discounts and free courses.
If you've always dreamt of working online while you travel, but just don't understand how to make it a reality, this post is for you. It shares nearly 40 ideas for digital nomad jobs. Including loads that you won't have even realised you could choose as a career. The digital world is always changing and there is more opportunity than ever before. Do your research and it could help you choose the distance learning course to help you create your own online business.
Have you taken a distance learning course? Would you like to? What would you like to study?