A lot of you guys on here are either early in college, or just starting to think about college.. so here's some help--
**the chance to travel and do research**
I realize that I had a pretty awesome College experience, and I just want to use this post as a resource for College students to let them know that the world is your oyster if you just reach out a little bit. If you're in the sciences, there is a program for US students that pays you to travel to a different University (or research site), some even outside of the US, for a summer to do research. Here is the link, and the application process isn't that bad. Here's the link for looking for programs listed by subject area:
Most want post Sophomore or Junior year students, but you can always email and ask anyway because the worst outcome is that you still hear 'no', but the best is that you get a 'oh, yeah I love you now come join us!'. Here is the description for the REU website:
NSF funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of ten or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Undergraduate students supported with NSF funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. An REU Site may be at either a US or foreign location.
By using the web page, Search for an REU Site, you may examine opportunities in the subject areas supported by various NSF units. Also, you may search by keywords to identify sites in particular research areas or with certain features, such as a particular location.
Students must contact the individual sites for information and application materials. NSF does not have application materials and does not select student participants. A contact person and contact information is listed for each site.
Please go make friends with all your professors - don't be afraid, they're just human too. Also, if you're in physics I know that CERN takes in European summer students too
**the chance to get scholarships and grants**
Most students that are undergrads aren't doing research... so If you do go talk to your professors and get into a research group, there are some fine and dandy awards for that. You can probably find some that are based in your department or college, but also there's a national Barry M. Goldwater award that can give you up to $7500/year in college, which goes a long way. Here's a link from unc, but you can follow the links to the scholarship sites and see if there's a representative for it at your school:
and here's the wikipedia article
**traveling in general**
Go work for a research group that has foreign colleagues.. Then you can go see if you can't go to their University and go poking around a week before/after you finish your research. Also, one that uses foreign equipment, for the chance to travel and use it. And just because there isn't a site at that REU page *doesn't* mean that you can't arrange a summer internship on your own at a different site from the University you attend. You might not get your flights/drive there covered, but you'll probably get paid some sort of small stipend.
**help on school work**
In addition to asking your professors, there are a TON of knowledgeable people on these fora that have completely different non-CP lives outside of Terraforums.. they make good resources. If you're afraid of contacting them, just send a bribe along with a question