Words by Sarah Belger / Image by Nils Nedel
Getting bored of grey skies and cold nights? Planning your next trip abroad might not be too high on your list of priorities at the moment with travel being restricted even within the UK, never mind worldwide, but we can still dream about what the world has to offer once the pandemic is over and the restrictions are lifted. While travel can of course offer a chance for some well needed R&R or the opportunity to make lasting memories with friends, there are so many ways to travel that can help you learn more about yourself and the world around you! We’ve put together this article to give you some travel inspo and help get you through the rest of our lock-down days!
WorkAway is a platform in which you can find accommodation abroad in return for work. This can be anything from volunteering in a school in Nepal, bar work at a hostel in Argentina or gardening in a small village in Austria… the list is endless! According to their website, ‘A Workawayer is: a traveller who wants to give back to the communities and places they visit. Open to helping hosts and using the experience to learn and immerse in the local culture.’ Living with a host family provides you with the option to truly learn what life is like wherever you’re travelling as well as share your culture with others. It’s also a great way to save money if you’re looking to travel more long-term, meaning you’ve got even more time to learn, whether that be honing your language skills or trying your hand at working on a farm!
British Council Teaching Assistant
A popular choice for language students on their year abroad is a British Council teaching placement (working as an assistant teaching English as a foreign language). It is a great way to add some stand-out work experience to your CV as well as really feel like you’re living in a new country, rather than just going on holiday. While some countries require certain language skills, locations such as China and Spain do not. This makes it a brilliant way to learn a new language or perhaps brush up on the ones you learnt at school. Not only will you gain valuable new teaching and life skills, but the placements are also paid and often only require you to work 12 hours per week. This leaves plenty of time to travel round your host country or region, letting you experience all that it has to offer!
Studying abroad as part of your degree can also bring huge benefits to your future employability once you graduate. It’s not just for language students either! Global Opportunities and Erasmus placements are offered for an extremely wide range of courses so it’s definitely something worth considering. Having constant support from your home university while abroad makes it a particularly easy way to spend a prolonged period of time abroad, since it’s considerably easier to find help should you need it at any point in the process. Being at university is also one of the easiest ways to meet people and make new friends when moving to another country! If you’re experience is anything like mine was, then you’ll be constantly surrounded not only by local people in your chosen city, but also international students from every corner of the globe! And your friends will certainly be impressed when they come to visit and see how you know this new city just as well as you do Cardiff.
All of these ideas, and many more, will help you gain intercultural knowledge and skills which are absolutely essential in our globalised world and job market. Hopefully these suggestions also show that you don’t need a mountain of savings to have that life changing ‘gap yah’ experience you might have seen on Instagram. You can get paid to travel and you can even fit it around your studies! As hard as it is to believe at the moment, the global situation will one day get better and, when it does, we’ll all be ready to go out into the world and learn about what it has to offer!