For those recent high school or university graduates who are feeling the impending pressure to “get a real job” and subsequently venture into their adult lives… there is an alternative to becoming a grown-up: work abroad. Many twenty-somethings are successfully distancing themselves from adulthood through travel. Working abroad not only provides an answer to the doomed “What do you want to do with your life?” question, but it also gives the opportunity to travel, gain life experience, make a bit of money and add something to a CV. For unknowable reasons, working a minimum wage job in Europe seems to warrant more credit amongst parents and friends than working the exact same job at home.
Nowadays, less young adults have the desire to walk into a full time career immediately following graduation. Most want some time to play, but rarely have the funds to do so. This is why working while traveling is such a great alternative. Most cities are very welcoming to young people who want to see the world and make a bit of money while doing so. With a little research, it is easy to find a job overseas that will pay for food and lodging alongside a paycheck.
There are many options to help minimize lodging costs, such as working as an au pair (living with a family and caring for their young children), or working on an organic farm. In both situations food and rent are provided. As an au pair, one gets paid a salary and oftentimes benefits from luxurious family vacations to warm, sunny destinations. Several au pairs have had the benefit of living in their own private quarter of the house, while others have lived in old French castles. Many times, au pairs are given complete use of a car for carting the kids around, as well as for personal use. Organic farms aren’t quite as glamorous as castles but they provide a unique experience that also does the planet some good. Working on an organic farm is less of a job and more of a way life; in exchange for helping care for the farm, one is provided with fresh organic food, a place to sleep, and hands-on education about sustainable farming.
If au pairing and organic farms don’t peak an interest, there are many more options such as teaching English as a second language or becoming a crew member on a sailboat. Whether fresh from high school with little work experience, or an experienced teacher with a degree, one can find an ESL teaching job in countries all over the world. In many places in Asia, apartments and plane tickets are provided for English teachers who sign a one-year contract. Places such as France do not provide apartments or airfare, but they do provide the chance to live in a beautiful city and eat as much cheese as one can manage. If the high seas spark your interest more than teaching, then consider joining a crew and sailing around the world. There are crew positions available for all experience levels (even for those who have never set foot on a sailboat before).
Any job that provides the opportunity to travel, gain work experience, and enjoy life somewhere new is a good way to be productive without entering a full-time job. There are hundreds of websites to help connect employers to potential employees, as well as websites to simply spark an interest in a certain field. The important thing is to start seeking.
Useful websites to get you started:
- www.aupair.com – view profiles of families who are searching for an au pair
- www.wwoof.org – provides information on organic farms as well as links to farms around the world who are searching for volunteers
- http://www.jetprogramme.org – information on teaching English in Japan
- http://www.ciep.fr/en/assistantetr/ – information on teaching English in France
- www.findacrew.net – find a boat anywhere in the world that is looking for a crew
- www.anyworkanywhere.com – search jobs from all over the world; information on working visas
- www.escapeartist.com – get inspired and search for jobs all over the world