Student gives alternative to studying abroad

By on October 24, 2002

Many students choose to spend a semester or more studying abroad in a foreign country. Although the experience is sure to be a great one, some students do not have the money or the time to get up and leave on such an adventure.
Some majors in the school, such as Physical Therapy and Criminal Justice, have such a rigorous schedule, that they are unable to leave Quinnipiac for a semester.
There are many options available to those who want an alternative to studying abroad. One of the most popular ones is taking a road trip across the country.
Quinnipiac student, David Ibbitson, who likes to be referred to as “Ibby,” spent his summer doing just that.
“It was an amazing experience for me,” said Ibby.
Ibby and his friend spent six weeks on a journey across the United States and parts of Canada.
They visited some of the nation’s most well known National Parks, like Yosemite, Yellowstone and Mt. Rainier. They also saw some of the classic tourist attractions, such as Niagara Falls and Las Vegas.
“It was so beautiful seeing the country like that. It makes you so much more appreciative of what we have,” said Ibby. “The people of other parts of the country live their life differently than we do here in New England. It’s a slower way of life out there.”
Ibby said he and his friend also found that people in other areas still have the help-your-neighbor mentality that is sometimes forgotten in this part of the country.
“My car broke down one day, and a driver passing by helped me, free of charge,” said Ibby.
While on the road, the adventurers spent most of the nights sleeping in their van at rest stops or camping out in tents in the national parks.
“Living like that makes you feel free and gives you the opportunity to experience nature,” said Ibby.
They stayed in a hotel only a few times during their trip, primarily due to the weather or safety concerns.
“It is nice to stay in a hotel every now and again to make yourself more comfortable, but you miss out if you do it too often,” said Ibby.
Taking a road trip across the country can be a cheaper alternative than studying abroad, for example, but requires some planning ahead of time.
“You need to plan to live inexpensively,” said Ibby, who brought a small grill with him to help save money.
The whole trip cost Ibby about $1500, most of which was spent on gas.
“You have to realize that if you are going to drive cross country, you are going to spend a lot of money on gas,” said Ibby.
For those interested in road tripping across the country, Ibby has some imperative advice.
“Make sure you know the person that you are going to go with real well, because you are going to be with that person for a long time in a small space, and you need to make sure you can live with them,” said Ibby.
Checking the weather before you go is also a must, as Ibby found out when he encountered snow in some parts of the west during the month of June.
Ibby said getting a good map is also a good idea. The Automobile Association of America provides free maps to members. Ibby found this to be one of the essential items he brought on the trip.
“One of the most important parts of the trip is to enjoy yourself,” said Ibby. “The greatest thing is to have no time-frame and no commitments.”
The ability to just be out in nature can be an enjoyable experience, and left Ibby and his friend with a sense of closeness and good times.
“The trip left me with so many great memories,” said Ibby.
One road trip and six weeks later, Ibby and his friend were much wiser and well-traveled individuals.
Road tripping across the country is journey that can easily rival any semester abroad.


About Erica Morrison - Staff Writer