When your job is to send students abroad day after day, it's virtually impossible to avoid periodic fits of wanderlust. I'll admit sometimes I spend a lunch hour on ITA Software pointlessly planning trips I can't afford to take. (I know I can't be alone here.)
Here are 3 ways study abroad advisors can deal with a dusty passport:
Ask for professional development
You never know if you don't ask. Approach your boss about a site visit, international conference, or opportunity to serve as a program assistant on a faculty-led program. Be reasonable (and patient). You might have to wait until the next fiscal year. And you should be prepared to communicate how the experience is an investment in your training as an advisor.
While a conference is nice, try to visit a program. There is something to be said for periodic travel abroad with students -- it is an important reminder of not only why we engage in our work, but how scary it can be for them that first time. Working in an office we quickly forget what parts can be confusing. This spring break I got the chance to travel as a program assistant for a new leadership program in Ireland. It completely rejuvenated me in ways I didn't think were possible.
Apply for a Fulbright Grant
If you are familiar with the Fulbright program this one might confuse you-- how can you get a year off of work? Don't worry. Fulbright has a special grant program for international education administrators. You can read all about it here.
The Fulbright IEA program is like a study abroad experience for study abroad pros. You get to spend 2-3 weeks learning about the education system and hot topics in a targeted country abroad. I was fortunate enough to participate in a Fulbright IEA program to the United Kingdom in 2013.
It was, hands down, the best professional development experience of my career. In addition to great learning abroad, I made important contacts with other higher education administrators in the US. I still remain in contact with my cohort. You can read more about my Fulbright experiences here.
Find local opportunity for cultural engagement. No matter where you live, chances are, there are small ways you can step outside of your comfort zone. Find a conversation partner and learn a new language, volunteer to help organize a cultural festival, get involved in international student orientation on campus, see if any organizations have opportunities for home hospitality dinners, etc. You can even do touristy things in your hometown to see it with new eyes. Better yet -- take your international friends with you.
Just know that wanderlust happens to the best of us. It's one of the occupational hazards. If none of the above satisfy your craving, save up those vacation days and keep on Googling.