So you want to travel and get paid?

I’m sure if you are here on my little blog you’ve already scoured the internet and read blog after blog on how to do this. I know I have, and I’ve done it. I can’t say much about the dream life of traveling wherever you please and blogging about it. I would love to know how people actually manage that (all the blog posts seem to be leaving /something/ out). I can however speak to more concrete options, tried and tested ways to get out in this world and explore all while making money and if you aren’t too spendy, actually saving up money. There are many options, but I will speak to those with which I have personal experience and/or have close friends who have used those options.

  1. Probably the easiest and most structured way to go abroad and be paid is through government sponsored / partnership programs to teach (or assist in teaching) English. These exist is MANY countries, I did TAPIF which is France’s version. I personally know people who have done this in Spain and Austria as well.
    • PROS
      • These are very well structured programs that have existed for decades. There are plenty of online resources to study up on the ins and outs and also personal experiences of past assistants.
      • There is usually a lot of support from the program both on your home country’s side and the country you will be working in. If you run into trouble, just let your host teacher or another teacher know and trust me they will do whatever they can to help, even if it’s housing you in their home.
      • The salary (at least in France) is awesome for the hours you work. TAPIF runs on a 12 hour a week schedule. There are many times where teachers cancel your hours, but your pay is constant. You can’t really bet the pay for the work.
      • You get to work with awesome kids and help them have fun learning English! I love laughing with students and playing educational games. Sometimes there is a specific structure a teacher wants you to use, but there’s always room for creativity in the classroom.
      • Plenty of different locations to choose from. You may not get to pick your exact location, but at least for TAPIF you can choose your regional preferences. Every site is a different experience.
      • You can often renew for a second year. (or if you are lucky to permanently relocate, like get married to a French national, you can continue the program and side step some of the requirements).
    • CONS
      • So just like every move, there are start up costs. It’s recommended to have like $2000 saved up for the start, which is way more than you should need, but things come up. Remember you’ll probably have to pay extra security deposits since you aren’t a resident and will only be there 8 months give or take.
      • Housing can be a pain! I was lucky in that one of my teachers knew where past assistants lived and it was a great set up. I could skype the landlord (in my terrible french) and secure my room before I got there, but this is not always the case. I know assistants who where also in my department (I worked in Reunion Island, I know it still seems fake) who were without a permanent place for a couple months. Luckily they were able to find couches to crash on, but it can be extremely stressful. Make sure to ask your contacts in your location early to start looking out for housing for you.
      • You only work 12 hours a week. I know I put this in the pros as well, but this aspect of the schedule leaves you with A LOT of free time. Trust me, you won’t spend every second of that out on some crazy adventure. Get some hobbies, find cheap wine, and coordinate schedules with friends because otherwise you’ll spend your days marathoning Netflix (which is good sometimes, but don’t waste your fleeting time. Trust me it’s something I regret). Seek out things you can do on the cheap- maybe go to a cafe, go hiking, to parks, to the beach if you are lucky to live close by. Boredom is a huge threat on this schedule.
      • The bureaucracy is a nightmare. If the French paperwork wasn’t already a nightmare, you’ll have extra with opening a bank account (avoid La Banque Postale!!), settling details of a rental agreement, and doing everything for your visa and government requirements and your school paperwork. Don’t expect things to go smoothly. Be ready to ask for help. It’s okay to not understand what’s happening.
      • You must think ahead for this one. Applications are often due in January for a term beginning in September and going through May. It’s sometimes difficult to carve out that chunk of your life and coordinate everything.
  2. Another simple option is working in English Summer/School Camps. There are many different companies for this around the world. My own experience is with American Village in France, but I have friends who’ve done this in Italy, Croatia, Romania, Thailand, America (for those non-Americans), the list goes on. This requires a little research on your part and I’d seek out people with personal experience so you can get an honest idea of what to expect (and find the best options), but once you’re in you’ll get hooked and see how many more opportunities are waiting for you.
    • PROS
      • It’s a pretty quick turn around for applying and getting to work. I think I applied in January and was at camp by early March. Mostly the application process is simple (cv, answer some questions, a skype interview, waiting, and then securing flights/trains/busses). If you know people who have gone through this process, definitely get their advice as you are working through it.
      • Everything is set up for you. You’ll have meals and housing provided which is a great way to save money! Some programs also help out with transportation to an extent.
      • It’s camp! I never got to go to overnight camp as a kid, so this was super exciting for me! Lots of silliness every single day, but it’s still educational.
      • You will meet and work with amazing people who will inspire you to keep traveling. Trust me, it’s dangerous. I got so many ideas on where to go next!
    • CONS
      • The days can be really long. You are with the kids all day and then you have to have team meetings afterward to plan the next day. It get get stressful, but it’s all worth it to make things fun.
      • The pay isn’t great. I think after French salary deductions for healthcare and such I banked about 40 euro a day. Then they had to wire transfer that to my American account which cost like $10 each month. You won’t get rich from this, but it’s plenty to live on since you are working all week and your only expenses are alcohol (if you can get to a store for it) and travel. Everything else is provided.
      • You’ll probably be in the middle of nowhere. It’s summer camp after all. But you do get to run around outside all day. My camps were both about an hour walk from town, which is actually a nice walk on off days. Don’t expect to be in town. But don’t worry, you will still have chances to travel with your team on the off days even if it’s not popping over to another country for a few days (but depending where you are, this is actually quite possible. Geography is weird to my brain).
      • You won’t have much private space. I was in a small room with two roommates and a shower and sink at my first camp and one roommate with our own bathroom at my second (but there, other counselors had 5 to a bathroom). However, remember that your whole team is in the same situation. Hopefully everyone is awesome that you room with (I was really lucky in this sense) and it won’t be a problem at all. It will actually be fun.
      • You can’t take much. Pack a hiking bag and that’s what you get for the summer. I actually enjoyed this aspect. It was refreshing to not have to dig through and/or think about things. You are more free (I’ve written another post about this previously). It makes traveling much easier and less stressful. Weird how that works.
      • Kids can come with a lot of drama, but the good times outweigh the bad. Expect tears on dance nights though. We kept tallies.
  3. TEFL/TESOL/CELTA teaching in classrooms through independent organizations or schools. I don’t have personal experience with this option, but I know a lot of people who are currently teaching English abroad in this manner. There are numerous options and the most difficult part is choosing your program. Dave’s ESL Cafe is a great resource to search teaching job opportunities abroad.
    • PROS
      • Many options come with great pay, great locations, and help paying to get there. It depends on how qualified you are, what type of program you are looking for, and where you want to live.
      • It seems that there is a lot of support for teachers, from what I’ve heard from friends. It also is a great way to get settled into your new place.
      • These programs are usually for an entire school year, though some may be a semester or a few months in the summer. It gives you ample time to really experience your new place.
    • CONS
      • Usually TEFL/TESOL certification is required, for which there are plenty of programs to sift through to get certified, but they can be pricy or not up to par if you don’t do your research. I’m not actually TEFL certified, but I’m currently looking into the seemingly millions of options. I personally know three people who did a month long course in Prague and they rave about it and are well employed with teaching jobs now.
      • It’s overwhelming to set up everything while knowing so little detail. Do you go through a company or straight through a school? Where should you get certified if you need? Where should you live? How is life in the areas of the schools?
  4. Private Tutor – This one’s probably the most stressful at the start and the most risky, but if you are extremely adventurous go ahead and travel somewhere and put up ads that you offer English tutoring. I’ll let you think about the pros and cons of this one yourself.
  5. Find a business that hires Americans (or your nationality) and provides visa sponsorship if you plan to stay long term. There are SO many jobs out there, but it’s often difficult to know where to start looking. If you meet people, often word of mouth can land you unbelievable jobs. I haven’t done this myself, but dang some of the stories I hear are amazing.
  6. Work with an NGO or aid organization. This can be stressful work, but if you are lucky you’ll get to travel to some awesome places while helping people! The pay’s not great, but you do get paid. I’m not too familiar with this, but I have a few friends who’ve done this and they’re still doing it. One friend worked the Ebola epidemic and was sent for weeks at a time to Europe (several times) to destress after so much intense work. Another is with USAID right now traveling and working in Tanzania. You might not get to travel to luxurious castles in France, but you will get to experience awesome culture and have unique adventures.
  7. Volunteer with the Peace Corps. Again, I only know what I’m told from friends, but one of my friends is on her second year in Madagascar. Volunteers get a stipend to live on, so it’s not like other volunteer programs where you must pay to participate. There are so many awesome locations offered. There’s amazing support from a tenured program. Also, they will pay for your schooling afterwards! Awesome benefits! It is a commitment of more than 2 years (2 years of volunteering plus 3+ months of on site orientation, and don’t forget the lengthy application process), which can be a lot to take in. Many places are very rural and poor, as you are there to help people. This doesn’t take away from the traveling experience. If you’re a veteran traveler, you know that the beauty in the world is not only found in Western city streets.
  8. Get an awesome job that allows you to travel. I may be biased here, but I studied Anthropology and I’ve been working as an Archaeology Technician. The saying goes “have trowel, will travel”. This line of work isn’t glamorous nor is it lucrative, but I’ve been lucky to travel America and have solid, full time seasonal work. There are opportunities worldwide, but funding is very limited so there is a lot of competition. Many gigs are only weeks at a time, but the pay for private work can be great hourly plus per diem. Other areas of study have these kind of opportunities I’m sure.
  9. Working Vacation Visa in Australia and New Zealand. This one’s great if you want to stick to an English speaking area and have extra cash on hand.
    • PROS
      • If you work on a farm for 3 months there’s even an option to renew.
      • I know someone who went on this visa and got hired full time with visa sponsorship and has stayed many years since. So really, sky’s the limit here if you have a valuable skillset.
      • There are a few companies who help with finding jobs and/or housing, but mostly it seems you are kind of in control of everything.
    • CONS
      • They require a certain amount of funds because this is technically a tourist type visa, but it allows you to work your way through either Australia or New Zealand for a year.
      • Remember that last pro how you are in control? It can be really stressful and daunting to go to a country without knowing anyone then try to locate a job and housing.
      • I’m not sure exactly, but it seems a lot of the jobs are crop picking, hostel work, bartending, housekeeping type work, so if that’s not your thing it may be more difficult to find something you enjoy.
      • The cost of living and traveling to Australia is pretty steep.
  10. WOOFing or workaway. These won’t actually make you money, but you won’t spend much. Okay so this one seems amazing but I’ve yet to try it because my schedule’s been hectic. Everyone I know who’s done WOOFing raves about it and are always looking for their next adventure. If you don’t know what WOOFing or workaway is, basically you exchange work for keep, so you work on someone’s farm (that’s most of the work) for say 4 hours a day and in exchange you get free housing and usually food too. Not a bad gig at all! From what I’ve seen, every host has their own time requests, so you’ll have to do some research.
    • PROS
      • You get to choose where you travel and for how long and you can hop place to place if you want.
      • You will meet so many interesting people along the way that you can connect with which may lead to future work.
      • It’s not much work and you get to live in awesome places!
      • I see this as a good option between other work to fill time without having to pay hefty hotel prices or flights.
    • CONS
      • You won’t be making money. It’s basically volunteering but you are provided food and housing.
      • Sometimes the schedules are strict which doesn’t leave much time for traveling and exploring, especially if the location is far in the countryside.
      • It will require having money saved up to get around unless some pretty sweet deals are arranged.

 

Okay I know that the con lists are all longer than the pros, but trust me the pros far outweigh any cons. I just wanted to thoroughly explain myself so you aren’t disappointed in anything. Also sorry my style changed so much throughout this. I wrote it in pieces over an entire day. I hope it’s informative. I might add more or edit style later. Let me know if you have questions!

Happy Adventuring!

Best Wishes,
Amy

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