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Have an Experience this Summer – Work and Volunteer Abroad!

Many people can’t think of anything more exciting than travelling. It is becoming more and more popular to join companies that provide jobs and experiences around the world. However, too many see it as something that can only be planned for 6 months or more on an eye wateringly expensive gap year. This is not necessarily the case. There are thousands of opportunities where you can work, volunteer and even study in another country that won’t mean interrupting your studies or cost an arm and a leg.

When I say travel, I don’t mean being a rep for a club on the Napa strip or working as a shot girl fending off unwanted attention in Zante, but proper travel where you can experience amazing sights, have an adventure and learn new skills. This article should hopefully give you some tips about where to start planning an incredible summer.

The first things to consider are location and dates. Always have in mind roughly how long you want to go for and where about in the world you want to go. Most places advertise placements in Australia and the USA, Cambodia and Vietnam, but there is an entire planet to choose from.

Then decide if you want to work, volunteer or study: the most common for summer is to work or volunteer. If money is an issue, there are many great jobs in Europe that mean the cost of travel will be reduced. Au Pair jobs are often advertised where accommodation, food, some travel expenses and tips are included – perfect for explorers who want to put themselves out there. Having accommodation included takes a huge weight off travel expenses and usually provides a safe and private summer. Also advertised are waiter and bar staff jobs that usually place you in a resort (this would get the vote of anyone looking for a beach holiday). A good website to go to for this would be Smaller Earth – they have many placements that make it possible to work off any travel costs and make it possible to earn money too. Another site is Verge magazine, dedicated to showing off travel and provide many opportunities. Be wary though, as some of these are internships and may not be paid, though the website clearly states this for every placement, like your very own workabroad-supermarket.com.

For further afield, Camp America is by far the most famous site to go to, with excellent reviews on student satisfaction. It provides jobs for many young people over summer to work on children’s summer camps. They are efficient, safe and take place in some pretty incredible places, such as New Jersey, Florida and California. Working with children looks great on your CV and the work can be mainly outdoors, often not seeming like work at all. It is a hefty 9-week course though, which can cause problems for those who can’t sacrifice a full summer. This opportunity is a personal favourite of mine and something that is definitely on my bucket list. Flights are included in Camp America, though this usually means being paid a little less, and though you may break even, it’s probable that money for any extra travelling will be from the bank of mum and dad.

For volunteering, there are thousands of places to choose from and websites to visit. Pacific discovery offers many volunteering opportunities, as do many charity organisations. These usually last a few weeks or months depending on choice, but can cost large amounts. If you do find your dream placement, for example a three-week trekking and photography course, it is advisable to see what is included for your money- make sure it has things like insurance, flights and food so you can work out how much money you need to take. As a rough idea, you are looking at around £1000 per week, which is roughly what a two-week inter-railing trip can cost. Don’t be discouraged by this, have a look anyway and see if there is anything that takes your eye, because, after all, you can save up and have the summer of a lifetime in a year or two.

If you want to explore in your own time and not be restricted by a routine, then working may be advisable. The money you earn will give you free reign at the weekends and you can explore many sites with the people you meet when working.

For a summer you’ll never regret, my advice is to just take the plunge and go for it. With the fear of sounding like cheesy promo guy, the worst mentality to have is, ‘I couldn’t do something like that’. It can be a daunting prospect, but there is no better way to escape any English summer blues and make the best of the time you have off, because you may not get it again.

Edited by: Tia Ralhan





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