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Travel every country in the world and graduate with Global Degree


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University life is a vicious cycle. Start a new year, go to your lectures, take notes, write essays, stress out, cram during exam time, finish off exams, forget most of what you learned - and start all over again. The questions: "Why are we doing this? What am I learning? Is this really necessary?" come up again and again. 

Travel tip: have a smile on your face and some common sense in your mind, and make the world your fun ball

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This is where Global Degree comes in - to tell us that a formal university degree is not the only option. Instead, you can get an education through travelling to every single country in the world - sounds appealing, doesn’t it?

Global Degree is an initiative created three years ago for young people and students, by young people and students, after the idea that you can receive a real-world education from connections and experiences through travel.

In order to graduate with a Global Degree, you must visit each of the 193 UN member states in the world. But how did such an adventurous initiative get started in the first place?

The degree was founded by Michael Graziano. Speaking to Mike about the programme, he takes us back to the start of Global Degree, the moment when “all his friends bailed down on him last minute” on what ended up to be a solo trip to Thailand, which turned out to be an amazing experience.

As Mike puts it: “I said 'wait a second, how many misconceptions are there in the world or in my head? This world is one amazing place and all these things that I believe are not true'”.

And just like that, Global Degree was born - in Mike’s words, “I had this huge revelation on the last day and I just decided, on that day, that I was going to go to every country in the world, and I promised to do it in five years time.”

“It just felt right for me, it felt like I had found a life purpose, so I just stacked with it. Some people were tuned in, saying how inspiring all that was, and gave me the courage to follow my dreams”.

One of these people was Alexander Hennessy, the current videographer and editor of Global Degree. “Within four months of being home I (Mike) had gotten three sponsors to help me fund the trip, and I had convinced a guy I barely knew, we had just met one time, to quit his job, rent out his apartment, and go travel two continents with a guy he just met.”

A Global Degree does not require a lengthy admission process, certain subject combinations or disproportionate tuition fees; however, it does require having a certain attitude, a great deal of openness and the capacity to see every experience as an opportunity to learn.

Mike says: “As weird as it sounds, if you are surrounded by good people and have the right attitude, nothing can fail you”.

Travel tip: design your own reality. @Alexanderhennessy

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Moreover, a positive attitude can help one overcome the misconceptions that exist about travelling. Mike claims that the main three he encountered were “that it’s lonely to travel alone, number two, that you need to be rich to travel, and the other one is that the world is bad, that people are there to get something out of you and that you just have to protect yourself - that’s really not the case, the world is a great place, it just comes to you having common sense, having a smile on your face and positive attitude”.

Moreover, Global Degree can have an impact not only on the individual but also on the places being visited. For example, Mike told us about Nepal, where they travelled three weeks after the earthquake and managed to raise $2,000 to build 20 brand new homes in a village severely hit by the earthquake. As Mike added, “the more people that travel and try to get their Global Degree, the more they discover these little things and situations and we have to use social media to mobilise finances to do good and to help”, in order to make travelling more meaningful for the traveller and the locals.

However, Global Degree requires openness not only from the travellers themselves but also from bureaucratic structures. Reflecting on this issue, Mike explains how, “if you are born in the United Kingdom you can walk into a 177 UN nations without visas, but, if you are born in certain countries, you can only walk into 25 nations without a visa. So, regardless of who you are, your outlook on the world, your beliefs, none of that matters, it’s just what soil you are born on, and I fundamentally don’t think that is right - you should have the right to travel anywhere in the world, especially if you are a young, curious student who just wants to learn about the world around him, so that you can come forward and bring all the concepts back home to make your community a better place.”

Just as a glimpse of the incredible lessons one can learn from travelling as opposed to sitting in a lecture hall - Mike talks about their trip to a village in Bangladesh, where they went fishing with the locals: “They took us out on this very small boat and they opened a cage, where there were two otters, and they dumped them into the water with a leash.

"After rowing up the stream, they took out a net, which caught hundreds of fish all at once. So what they did is, the fish could smell and hear the otter in the water so, they drove the fish upstream, and at the end, they caught them all at once. It kind of gave me a life lesson, that the idea of trying to go and catch what you want in life, because there are ways to create something that will bring everything you want to you naturally. It’s a little kind of lesson, something that you learn in isolated places, which is something that I love."

To get started with your Global Degree you just need a positive attitude and most importantly the ability to take a leap of faith.

What's more, you will never be alone; Global Degree is a community of people with a shared passion - people who can share experiences, tips and resources on how to best approach travelling. 

Hopefully, as more people join the universal community of Global Degree, one day there will be no misconceptions, no negative judgements and no obstacles about any country. Maybe one day we will be able to travel freely to any country in the world.

Are you ready to take this leap of faith? If you are interested in following their past travels and joining the community, check out their Facebook and Instagram pages for more information!

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