Travel Preferences of MIT Students
As the saying goes, “the more you travel, the wiser you become.” Nowadays, youth independent travellers and students regard travelling as one of the best ways of getting life-long experiences. It has been estimated that more than 25 per cent of travellers are young people aged sixteen to twenty-five. These numbers are predicted to increase in the near future as the effects of globalization, and the ease of mobilization increases year by year. Students and young scholars constitute a main part of the youth travel market. Statistics show that students travel more often and for a longer period of time in comparison with older travellers who usually opt for tour packages and group holidays. When it comes to financing their travel experiences, students’ income mostly tends to be lower, i.e., 6,000 USD or less. That’s is why students and young scholars finance their trips with the help of travel grants, parents’ support, or working visas. Many students travel on working visas to North America (i.e., the USA and Canada), Australia, and the European Union countries in order to able to work and fund their trips during their holidays. In this article, I am going to write about travel preferences, such as preferred destinations, travel settings, etc., of the students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Favored Regions of MIT Students’ Trips
First, let’s look at what are the preferred destinations of MIT students. It is close to the pattern of international tourism. They tend to travel to Northern Europe, North America (Canada and travelling internally in the US), Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, Southeastern Asia, and Australia. The duration of their trip is usually two months on average. Their travel to European countries is mostly associated with educational, leisure-related, recreational, and relaxation purposes. These students’ trips in North America are usually for visiting friends and close relatives. Asian and African countries are more linked to the motives of challenging oneself, gaining more knowledge, contributing, learning more about local people, customs, laws, and culture. In general, exploring other cultures is the main motive behind MIT students travelling decisions. Expanding their knowledge, getting mental relaxation, looking for excitement, and other socially motivated reasons, such as making new friends and interacting with local people, are also important drivers of their visits.
A significant motivation behind most MIT students’ travelling decisions lies in education. Students travel to Canada, Europe, Australasia, and East Asia for months or even a year on academic exchange programs. Other than these academic programs, the students travel on cultural exchange programs. They go for academic training programs, conferences, internships, week-long cultural, and educational training. For example, some MIT students undertake visits to Geneva, Switzerland, to participate in internship programs of the UN. Some universities in Europe, such as the University of Cambridge, offer scholarship programs specifically for US citizens, which are highly taken by MIT students.
Backpacking is probably the most preferred way of travelling by MIT students. This is, first of all, one way of challenging oneself. Students opt for this type of travelling experience in order to force themselves out of their comfort zones and to test themselves in real-life situations. It is an opportunity to put what they have theoretically learned into practice and test their social skills, physicality, and contemplative abilities. Lone travellers usually like wandering in the streets, visiting historical and cultural sites, trekking, and hiking. It is also an opportunity to see the lifestyles of local inhabitants outside the city centers and touristic attractions. This is also one of the best ways for young MIT students and scholars to track down possible social problems, welfare issues, actual poverty, and unemployment rates in a country. So, backpacking can be one way of both travelling and gathering data through, say, surveys or interviews with local people.
Mostly, as a backpacker or lone traveller, getting a tourist visa for some developing countries can be difficult with a high possibility of rejection. This can be due to security concerns of some countries. Statistics show that about more than 70% of MIT students planning to visit some developing countries in Asia or Africa applied for visa assistance from online platforms or travel agencies. Want similar visa assistance? Well, if you are a student interested in immersing yourself in backpacking and exploring other countries, their customs, histories, and cultures, you should definitely check Pickvisa.com, an online platform endowed with experienced visa experts. The team will help you to be relieved from time-consuming, complex, and stressful visa processes by providing detailed and unique visa assistance.
Either alone or in a group, MIT students highly appreciate visiting cultural and historical sites. Students usually prefer travelling UNESCO world heritage sites. These visits are meant to increase students’ outlook, cultural understanding, and knowledge. Also, students mostly get discounts while visiting museums, monuments, galleries, ancient buildings, cultural and historical tourist attractions. These types of tours may also be government sponsored by the host countries to promote their language and culture; for example, NAWA Polish Language Program.
Photography and Camping
Most MIT students have various hobbies. They include photography and camping. There are student clubs in the university gathering together students with the interests of photography. They especially travel to beautiful vintage sites to take unforgettable shots of the moment. These students go for hiking, exploring, and camping outside in beautiful nature. While enjoying nature together, taking good shots of what you see is what driving these students to travel. There is even a wine club, through which students, who are fond of wine, interact with each other and arrange wine trips to amazing vineyards.
A Significant number of MIT students prefer travelling alone. Let it be backpacking, business- or education-related travelling, the students kind of like jumping into new experience alone. As mentioned, this probably has something to do with challenging oneself in a new environment with various tasks. There have been researches conducted by scientists on why intelligent people like travelling alone. As we can consider undergraduates and graduates of MIT highly intelligent people, the same question applies: Why do MIT students prefer travelling alone? Some psychologists link this phenomenon with the fact that young scholars are undertaking some nobler work, such as trying to find a cure to cancer or reducing the poverty rate in a country through fair distribution of resources. That is why they need some time alone to relax their minds by freeing them of all personal and academic thoughts. Or they may need this time alone for contemplating and mulling things over. Of course, this remains just as thought by scientists. We never know whether being intelligent has a correlation with or causation to solo travels by MIT students.
Travelling on Budget
In general, MIT students do not go for luxury, all-inclusive tours. They are mostly travelling on a tight budget. That is why they mostly stay in hostels or less-luxurious two- or three-starred hotels. An increasing number of students go for CouchSurfing nowadays. They prefer walking or cycling in a country they visit rather than hiring a car.
International Students of MIT
The international students of MIT themselves are considered travellers. Their main preference is exploring historical and cultural sites, the environment, cafes, and restaurants of Cambridge and Boston, as well as surrounding cities and towns like Salem. Then, they are more likely to explore other tourist attractions in big cities of the US. They do so either with other international students or domestic students, with whom they befriended. The main rationale behind these trips is to understand national people and culture better. The international students of MIT also like visiting neighboring Canada to enjoy its beautiful nature.
MIT-Sponsored Domestic and International Travel
MIT also allocated the travel fund grant for graduate students. This travel grant is designed to assist students in meeting their travel expenses. To be eligible graduate students must be visiting for conference-related reasons either internationally or domestically. Their travel purposes must be participating in an academic or industry-related conference to present an academic paper, presentation, or research findings. Or the grantee will participate or is invited to an academic or industry-related conference as a panelist. Every graduate student is eligible for one travel fund grant per year with a ceiling of a thousand USD. Apart from individual graduate students, recognized student organizations at MIT can get their travel expenses funded by the university. Student organizations should report their upcoming domestic or international trips to the university in order to able to get funds or reimbursement for their group travel.
As the effects of globalization and technological development kicks in more, the share of student and scholar travellers keep increasing. In this article, I have tried to inform you about the travel preferences of MIT students. The favored destinations for these students change in accordance with their travelling motives. Backpacking and cultural trips are among the most famous ones for MIT students. They also go on tours in a group organized by student clubs, such as the photography club. The survey shows that most students of MIT prefer travelling alone, which may be related to their desire to be alone in a relaxing mood to think and contemplate. The international students of MIT mostly travel within the US to get to know the country better. There is also the MIT travel fund grant to support graduate students and student organizations in their travelling choices.