by Work the World

All Destinations, Guides

There’s no getting around it, travelling on your own is a daunting prospect. This is especially true if you’re headed into an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people practicing an unfamiliar culture. And, if you’re travelling to undertake an elective placement, you’ll be working in unfamiliar surroundings too.

You’ll be relieved to know that all of the above are precisely the reasons you should travel solo. Here’s why.

1. Do whatever you want, whenever you want

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All those times you wanted to do something that no one else did, they don’t exist in the world of solo travel. You can do whatever you want whenever you want and there’ll be no one to criticise or stop you.If you’ve ever felt held back by friends or family when travelling, going solo is for you.

When you travel solo you’ve no one to please but yourself. If you don’t want to be around people, you’ve a whole country to escape into.

2. Meet interesting new people

SONY DSC

If, however, you did want to be around people, the range of options available to you would be even broader than if you were travelling with friends.

If you travel solo you won’t get stuck in your comfort zone and you’ll make new friends with both fellow travellers, Work the World students and locals alike. It’s great for your confidence too.

3. Find out what makes you tick

Dinagyang Festival

You’ll have the ability to pause without worrying about other people when something grabs your attention. You’ll be able to go at a pace that suits you meaning you can listen to your heart and go wherever the wind takes you.Because you’ve got the freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want, you’ll have the chance to find out about yourself.

You might choose to avoid travel hotspots all the altogether and have a more immersive cultural experience by living life like a local.

4. Feel empowered

This isn’t something you’ll only get a sense of when you return, but as it happens. You’ll feel empowered as soon as you make the decision to go. It’s a brave thing to do and once you show yourself you’re capable, nothing will be able to hold you back.
Travel helps you to become a stronger, more capable person. Travelling on your own does the same thing, but the effect is amplified.

Remember that the first step is always the most challenging.

5. Go deep

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Solo travellers have a special status overseas. By yourself you’ll appear less intimidating to locals who might be more hesitant to engage with larger groups. When the solo traveller leaves themself receptive to the flow of their surroundings, particularly in unfamiliar environments, they will discover a powerful ally - the kindness of strangers.Travelling offers you the opportunity to immerse yourself deeply in your host culture. This is especially true with a clinical placement, as you’ll be working in a setting that while familiar, will highlight the unique elements of culture you’re in.  

Whether you’re asking for directions, or simply wanting to test out some local phrases, as a solo traveller you’ll find that people will welcome the interaction with open arms and a smile.

6. Develop at break-neck speed

Medical elective in Tanzania

If you travel on your own this problem isn’t a problem, leaving you space to form productive relationships with supervisors and patients without distraction.We can pretend that it’s not true, but for most people focusing on work in the company of good friends is close to impossible. You’ve worked hard for the opportunity to get experience overseas, there’s no reason to throw it all away.

This isn’t to say you won’t have fun - quite the contrary. You’ll be in the same environment as other WtW students from all over the world who want to relax on the beach with a cocktail just as much as you. As soon as placement finishes the common trend is to ditch the scrubs and go exploring.

There is so much more we could say about solo travel, but there’s fun to be had discovering the rest for yourself.

For the record, all of our programmes around the world have 24/7 support from our friendly, local Work the World teams on the ground. You’ll also be living with other students in our now famous houses. So even if you’re travelling solo, you’re never on your own.

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