April 18, 2019 | 60° F

Rutgers student guide to winter break travel


Students outlined resources that made traveling over break more accessible and affordable for them. These included volunteer programs, budgeting methods and studying abroad through the Rutgers Center for Global Education.

Traveling during winter recess can pose a financial burden to college students, so some students utilized Rutgers-sponsored programs and other cost reducing methods to travel abroad.

Rutgers Global Brigades is a branch of a student-led organization with memberships spanning through North American and European universities, according to its website.

Through this organization, students research, design and construct solutions to problems in the developing world, according to the website.  

School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior Francesca Girone was a part of the Medical Brigade in the beginning of January. During this time, she helped deliver medical supplies and treatments to patients in San Carlos, Panama.

“Because it was a service trip, we did a lot of fundraising,” Girone said.

During the one-week Medical Brigade programs, volunteers help in a number of capacities by documenting vitals and patient history in triage, shadowing licensed doctors in medical consultations and assisting in a pharmacy under the direction of licensed pharmacists, according to the Medical Brigades website.

Girone said she started planning for her trip in September and October of 2016.

“The trip cost $1,620, which included travel, room and board, food and pretty much everything,” Girone said.

Funds for the trip were raised through Medical Brigades, which keeps track of each participant's fundraising goals and progress.

"Time management was definitely required to be able to plan deadlines and get everything together for the trip, such as planning ahead to get the vaccines that were recommended and to get other necessities such as bug spray and bed nets,” Girone said.

Payal Patel, a Rutgers Business School junior, said she also planned her 20-day trip to India months before.

“You have to book the trip well in advance and set a budget so you don’t overspend,” Patel said.

During her 20-day trip to Mumbai and Goa, she said she visited family friends.

"The main costs were the plane ticket and hotel costs,” she said. “We used different travel sites, like Expedia.com, to find the cheapest plane tickets and hotel rates.”

Rixie Cipollina, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said her family stayed in an all-inclusive resort while traveling to Puerto Morelos, Mexico to minimize costs.

"Winter break is a great time to travel, especially if you’re going to a warm place where you can escape from the cold," Cipollina said. "Chances are, you can travel with your whole family because they will most likely have time off for the holidays."

Patel said traveling provides an opportunity to experience diverse cultures without worrying about missing schoolwork. 

“It was a long enough break where I could go to a different country, come back and still have time to relax before going back to school," he said.

For students interested in earning credits while traveling, the Rutgers Center for Global Education provides study-abroad opportunities during the semester and breaks, which students can apply for, according to its website.

“I think any time of the year is the time to travel and explore because there is so much out there, so much to see, so much to learn and so much to experience,” Girone said.

Thomas Lohan is a School of Arts and Sciences senior. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

Thomas Lohan

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