Meghan at Temple University asked:
“I like to travel. What majors can I pursue that will allow me to help people and travel?”
Good question, Meghan, and a very common way of thinking about career future – “I like X, Y and Z. What path can I follow to have those things in my job?” – It might seem like a simple issue of matching interests and degrees, but it’s actually a loaded, multilayered question with many options and outcomes.
Help me, help you, help others.
The first step in unpacking your question is to define what you mean by “help.” Under the umbrella term of Helping Professions, there are many different kinds of employment in vastly different fields. What kind of helping do you envision? Altruistic or humanitarian aid? Community outreach, charity work or civil service? Health services, like counseling or medicine? Service industry, or hospitality? Just to name a few…
By crystallizing what “helping” means for you, it will be much easier to decide what training, certifications or degrees you’ll need in order to practice. If you’re not sure, or have some doubts, you can try on various helping roles by volunteering. You might find something you love. You might also find something you thought you’d love, but it isn’t what you expected. The professionals at your campus career center can give you more direction and resources for finding volunteer and internship opportunities.
Finding your destination…
Travel is another loaded word. What kind of travel do you enjoy? Plane, car, boat, train, or all of the above? National? International? Do you see yourself constantly on the move, or working in one place for an extended time? If you’re thinking of a particular location, it’s important to research regional differences in degrees, certifications, visas and other requirements you will need to work there.
Study abroad programs can be an important first step to test the waters of travel, and find out your tolerance for distance and time spent away from home. Visit your work/study abroad office to explore more options, and get more information on what working internationally will entail.
… and getting yourself there!
What kinds of degrees will open these doors for you? Yours may be a career without a nice, neat graduation plan, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find your own way! After confirming whatever traveling and helping means to you, you can begin making your way towards your goal.
Take classes that appeal to you. Seek out volunteer and internship opportunities. Make connections with others who are doing the types of jobs you want to do. All the while, add relevant skills and experience to your “traveling and helping” tool box. Make yourself a vital asset to whatever career you’ve made for yourself.
Make it happen, and best of luck!