In my last post about affording travel, I mentioned that last year and again this year, I’d be working abroad as part of my travel itinerary.
In 2016 I worked for 3 months on a sports summer camp in the USA. This was my first time living away from home, my first time abroad alone, my first job overseas and ultimately the biggest event in my life so far.
For many people including myself, getting a job in another country is a decision you make as a means to explore the world whilst earning money and if you’re lucky, or depending on the sort of job, living in free or discounted accommodation. Yes, it’s certainly a great way of getting out there whilst keeping yourself stable, but one thing you don’t particularly account for is how drastically it will change your life.
I couldn’t tell you why I chose to work on a camp; I was a little socially anxious and always felt awkward around children, but I did know I wanted to test my boundaries. These sort of ventures are great for getting out there for the first time, as the company you apply through will usually guide you through the application process, give you all the information you need for visa’s and organise your insurance. For me, this felt like a sort of safety net that I was really grateful of as a first timer; even when trying to be as independent as possible we need our hand holding sometimes.
The camp I was accepted at was a high-profile, sports camp based in the lush Pocono mountains of North East Pennsylvania. We were surrounded for miles by trees and nature, and were situated on a 100 acre private lake. It was bliss! There I joined hundreds of other native and international staff who I would live with day in and day out for the next few months.
If I wrote about my whole experience of camp, we would be here weeks, but throughout my time spent there, complete strangers became my best friends (some of whom I’m visiting this year on my travels!), I learned what it’s like to work in a live-in environment and got first hand experience becoming familiar with American culture.
We enjoyed our first 2 weeks taking part in ice-breakers and inductions, which included dodgeball, campfires, team sports and trust activities. It was in this time you really get to know everyone and you very quickly become a family!
Once work started I worked 6 days a week and could join in on camp activities in my breaks, and in my time off I was able to travel, exploring 3 different states! All this whilst being comfortably accommodated and fed 3 meals a day. What’s there to complain about?
Camp philosophy should really be a life philosophy. It’s all about getting involved, leaving all conceptions of yourself behind and giving your best effort to everything you can do.
Living and working with so many new people in an unfamiliar environment really brings the best attitude from you as long as you are willing and motivated to make the best out of your experience, and makes you view life from a different perspective. I now see opportunity where before I saw boundaries, and my comfort zone stretches all the way around the world! Leaving the ideas and image of myself I had behind, I’ve become much happier and much more adventurous, and I owe this to camp.
2017 will be my second year at camp, and I will be following on from here to the Surin/Buriram province of Thailand, where I will be teaching English as a foreign language for one month. One month doesn’t seem long, but for me it seems like a good opportunity to get a taster of life and culture for my first time in Asia, and test the waters with how I fare as an educator. (*spell checks every word in this post.)
I’ve taken on this opportunity voluntarily; I will not be getting paid for my efforts whilst working however I do receive accommodation and get the opportunity to see many different sights in Thailand including doing some Elephant conservation and visiting some beautiful Thai islands. This trip even includes and excursion to Cambodia to explore Siam Reap and Angkor Watt!
I took on this role from the same company I applied for summer camp with, and have been studying a TEFL course for the past few months trying to decipher the english language and learn how to teach it.
It. Is. difficult.
But the best thing about learning TEFL is that English Teachers are in high demand almost EVERYWHERE. And if you’re native English, hey presto, you’re half way there to being the ideal candidate. A quick google search for TEFL opportunities abroad will have you looking at jobs on all different continents, offering placements in China, Indonesia, Spain, Italy and even places like Peru.
Overall, having a job to go to abroad is a really great way of finding some stability if your unsure of how to travel, or what to do when you get abroad, and can offer you some of the greatest experiences you could ever hope for!