“It’s too hard to go abroad as a science major,” is something I heard a lot as an undergraduate. With our rigid schedules and tough classes, it can be hard to find the time and opportunities to be abroad while completing everything we need for our majors. But have no fear! There are actually many opportunities for you to travel the world and broaden your interests in science!
If you are interested in medicine or marine biology, you are in luck. Whether you want to help provide healthcare to an impoverished mountain region or study an endangered species on a tropical island, you will find tons of summer volunteer and intern opportunities abroad. GoOverseas is a great resource to use to find programs. Other companies that sponsor these kinds of opportunities include: United Planet, CIS Abroad, and Cross-Cultural Solutions.
The downside to these internships is that they tend to be unpaid—in fact, you’re probably going to end up paying for the opportunity. So what if you’re biochemistry or molecular biology majors with other career goals? There are programs that provide stipends to science majors who are interested in experiencing a new country while building their STEM careers. For example, if you are interested in visiting Germany, you should know about RISE and CBYX. These two programs provide funds for you to study and do research with a major company in Germany while providing a full German culture immersion experience. For a paid experience to other countries, IAESTE will match you with an institute in one of over 80 countries that is willing to train you in a technical field over the summer.
Last but certainly not least, there is always studying abroad. For the best opportunities to study in a new country, talk to your advisor as soon as you can. They can help you plan your classes to accommodate a study abroad program and may know about programs that would be a perfect fit for you. Many schools also have an office specifically dedicated to helping students study abroad. They will be able to provide information on all the latest programs that science majors can take advantage of.
Don’t think that traveling opportunities will end as soon as you graduate! Between international research conferences or collaborations and programs like the Fulbright, Global Health Corps, and Doctors Without Borders, there will always be the chance for us to combine learning and travel. So go forth, and make some scientific discoveries while experiencing new ways of life.