Broadway New York

Places to volunteer in New York

 

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to the community, while also offering a life enriching experience. Every year, many thousands of people seek volunteering opportunities in their own countries or use it as an opportunity to explore and discover other parts of the world. The 2012 Official Volunteer Report showed that 9,400 people searched for volunteer opportunities in the United States alone.

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Reasons 

People volunteer for many different reasons. Some use their gap year, between High School graduation and College, as a way of carrying out community work before starting their professional career training. Others have found that volunteering offers a valuable tool to learn about the lives of others, experiences that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. For those who have found it difficult to get started on their career path, volunteering can provide a useful way to fill in any gaps on their résumé. Volunteering isn’t just for the young, however; many mature members of the community enjoy the experience of imparting the skills and expertise they have learned over the years to others. People in this age group really enjoy the sensation of continuing to be valued members of the community. Volunteering is good for the soul.

 

Hurricane Sandy

 

Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the city and there are grants of $2,000 on offer from the Citizens Committee for New York City in a bid to increase the level of support to those areas that were worst affected by the hurricane. Car rental provides one of the easiest ways to navigate between the different sites, due to the widespread nature of the storm damage. Anyone who decides on this option will be asked to help with some of the ongoing clearance work or assist local groups that are rebuilding important amenities, including parks and schools. The scheme is looking for a whole host of skills and welcomes all applications.

 

Other Ideas

Every year, thousands of visitors descend on New York City, usually to visit the main tourist attractions. Native New Yorkers may be interested in becoming a ‘Big Apple Greeter.’ This volunteering opportunity is very popular with individuals who enjoy socializing and showing off their wonderful city, with all its hidden secrets, to out of towners.

The current economic downturn has made it very difficult for people who are trying to get a foothold in the jobs market. The ‘Federation Employment and Guidance Service’ (FEGS) has been in existence since 1934 and has helped many thousands find work through its volunteer counseling service. It specializes in helping the more disadvantaged members of society

Anyone who has green fingers or just wants to volunteer out of doors for the summer should head on over to Brooklyn Bridge Park Green Team. This conservation group simply asks that volunteers should possess enthusiasm, some old clothes and a desire to learn more about gardening and nature.

From musicians and educators, to people who want to deliver food parcels, New York City can offer a diverse selection of volunteer opportunities. The experiences and friendships made during this time will remain with volunteers for the rest of their lives.

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What To Think About if You Want to Move Abroad

One of the biggest leaps you can take in your life is finally moving out into the world on your own. There is a kind of scary yet excited vibe to leaving home and finally having your own place. To make this adventure even scarier and more exciting, you may be looking to go abroad. This is one of the ultimate tests of testing your comfort level. There are some things that you need to think about before moving abroad to make sure you have the best and stress free go of it.

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Money

This is the case when moving to anywhere new. You should make sure that you have access to a steady flow of income. The last thing you want to do is sign a lease or a make a purchase and then realize you won’t be able to regularly pay for it. This may sound a bit “no duh” but it is better to be safe than sorry. Land the job before you go looking for your new digs.

Visa

You need to know what the requirements are for living in a different country. Legally there are steps you have to abide by and this red tape is often a pain in the neck. If you can get through it though it is all worth it. There are different types of visas you can look into when moving abroad. There are work visas, travel visas, student visas, and several other types. The trick is finding which one suits you best are locking it down.

Citizenship/Residency

Both of these are options that should be looked into for more permanent and long term stays. If you think the rest of your life you want to live where you’ll be moving look into the requirements for citizenship. Some places it consists of money, time, and a test while others may require language skills and military service. Know what you’re applying for so you aren’t faced with deportation or joining the infantry!

Insurance

You need all kinds of this when going abroad. The two big ones for moving and living abroad are health insurance and home insurance. You don’t want to come down with a strange sickness or a serious injury and not be covered once you get to the hospital. This is extremely important because you never know what may happen. Home insurance is just as important if you’re buying a home. Things happen, accidents happen and you want to make sure they won’t leave you homeless in a foreign country.

Immunizations

Every country has different rules and protocols as to what people need to be immunized with as children. The chances are that where you’re moving has at least one different immunization thats mandatory to have before entering the country. These are the things you need to be on top of before you decided where to move. It all costs money but its all also very important. Be prepared and take that next step of your future.

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Following The Steps of Famous Writers

Guest post by Maria Kruk, an author for Books.so

Many travel attractions in the world are associated with famous public figures, historic characters and heroes of the past. Outstanding writers and novelists are not an exception; probably, every country can boast of some writer, who contributed to national literary treasury and advanced it abroad. Monuments and sightseeing spots related to knights of the pen or characters from their books are dispersed worldwide. A big and peculiar share is comprised of house museums or former houses of writers, where they lived and worked on their future masterpieces.

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Paris is one of the most cherished and visited travel destinations in Europe, usually associated with romance, bridges across the Seine River and Eifel Tower. Honore de Balzac described all the character and temper of Parisian society better than any other French writer. His house on Rue Raynouard was transformed into museum in 1949, joining the house of Victor Hugo and Museum of Romantic Life, dedicated to George Sand. In particular, Honore de Balzac lived on Rue Raynouard during 1840-1847, hiding from the creditors under the name of his housemaid. If visiting museum, tourists might look at Balzac’s portraits, his desk and chair, household items, but the most valuable part is a library of writer’s manuscripts, gathered on the groundfloor in 1971.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 8.44.45 PMA real pillar of Russian literature, whose amazing short stories and plays stroke the world, Anton Chekhov, lived in Yalta (Ukraine). He settled in this city in 1898 and built a nice mansion and a coach house a year later, known till nowadays as “White Country-House”. Here the author worked on the most famous literary masterpieces, such as The Cherry Orchard, The Lady and The Dog, Three Sisters, gladly welcomed Leo Tolstoy and Maxim Gorky, and enjoyed life with his family (in particular, he moved in with his mother and sister). At present, various exhibitions dedicated to Chekhov’s biography and literary career are arranged and introduced to visitors’ attention.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 8.44.50 PMIn Denmark Hans Christian Andersen is acknowledged not only a great storyteller, but as a national hero. Hence, there is no surprise his house in Odense was turned into a house museum, and every sightseeing spot in the town is linked to his biography and literary career. The author was born in Odense in 1805. Many monuments and sculptures around the city portray the writer himself and the characters from fairy tales, for instance, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and Thumbelina. Hans Christian Andersen House Museum also hosts a large library with translated books of famous Danish author, the special room of his artifacts, notes about his meeting with Charles Dickens, inkwell and pen of the great storyteller, etc.

 

Jane Austen, an image of Victorian Era in English culture, has also left her house in its entirety and good condition, which is located in Chawton. In 17th century mansion she has written Emma, Pride And Prejudice, Persuasion and many other exciting novels. At present it appears to be Jane Austen’s House Museum that uncovers the story of her life, preserves her letters and music books, the piano, on which she played a couple hours daily, tea sets, etc. Everything reflect a real English temper form her romantic novels.

 

Mark Twain’s House and Museum in Hartford is likely to be the most visited sightseeing spot in the area. Its collection preserves nearly 10 thousand items, related to life and professional work of the American writer. Hartford residents tried to restore the house as it was during lifetime of Mark Twain’s family. Collected writer’s personal belongings, furniture, archival materials allowed to formally establish the house-museum of Mark Twain in 1980-1981. Its restoration, as well as the completion of the exhibits, continues even today.

How To Get Your Potato Off The Couch and Into The Saddle On A France Bike Tour

You love to cycle.   Your significant other, on the other hand… not so much.  What could be better to activate your sedentary partner than a bike tour of the French countryside?  At dinner you decide to broach the subject, and you steer the conversation toward your upcoming summer vacation.  You throw out the idea of maybe taking a cycling vacation.  At first you think your partner is having a seizure.  His eyes role back in his head, he waives his arms as if oxygen flow to his brain has stopped, and he begins to cough as if a wishbone is stuck in his throat.  Don’t panic, the first thing to do is to make sure your partner’s reaction is not a medical emergency.  Once you realize that he is just dreading spending his vacation on a bike, it’s time to go to work.  Below are five ways to convince your sedentary partner to get off the couch and join you on a France bike tour.

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1.     Don’t talk about biking.   Concentrate on all that France has to offer.  France is a great destination: the food, the wine and the bucolic French countryside.  It just happens that a cycling tour is the best way to enjoy it.  Talk about where you will go, what you will see and what you will do.   Biking is simply your mode of transportation between amazing sights.  The difference is that instead of being stuck in a car, paying European prices for gas and stressing about directions, you will be enjoying the fresh air, sights and sounds of the French countryside.  Not to mention how good lunch is going to taste after an invigorating morning ride!

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2.     Let him pick where to go.  OK, you’re going to France, let him pick where to go and what to see.  He will be so emotionally committed by this point that he won’t be able to turn back.  Use his preferences for destinations as intelligence.  Does he want to visit the battlefields of Normandy in the north?  Perhaps he dreams of traveling through the wine country of Bordeaux?  Once you know where he wants to go, you can secretly build a biking vacation that visits his favorite spots.

3.     Hire a professional.  You are going to get one shot at this.  If you convince him to spend his precious vacation time biking, he better enjoy it, or you’ll never get another chance at a biking vacation.  Look for a reputable adventure travel company with experience in planning trips where you want to go.  Many use experienced local guides who possess an intimate knowledge of the area.  They will take care of all the logistics leaving you and your partner to truly enjoy your time together.  A reputable adventure travel company will have experience with beginning riders.  They will all but assure your novice partner will enjoy himself.

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4.     Pick a reasonable distance for each day’s ride, then cut it by 1/3.   Once your partner relents to a France bike tour holiday, cut him some slack.  Your partner has made a major concession by indulging your love of cycling.  Return the favor by giving him reasonable mileage options.  He may be sore after the first day.  Keep this in mind for your next day’s itinerary.  Make sure to spend plenty of time out of the saddle as well.   Remember, it’s a vacation, not a time trial.

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5.     Ride together as much as you can before you leave.  You want to get him accustomed to riding.  You are an avid rider, and the challenges of cycling are second nature to you.  Try to remember what it was like to be a beginner.  Make his first rides as light and enjoyable as possible.  The point is to learn to cycle together so that you both enjoy it.  While you are a finely tuned cycling machine, your partner is not.  Keep it fun – the workout will come with time.

While we have encouraged deception in the negotiation of your biking adventure, it is all for the greater good.  If you apply these strategies before your France bike tour, you just might find your couch potato partner planning your next cycling vacation!

Austin Lehman Adventure Travel is a travel tour company with a 38 year legacy in creating amazing adventures packed with cultural and artistic encounters, with expert guides and hand selected adventures to guarantee you the vacation of a lifetime, without any of the grunt work.  Book your travel adventure tour today!

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Three Ways to Take a Holiday

Tired of work? Think about taking a holiday? Do you count the days till you’re time off has come? You aren’t alone. Now you just need to figure out what you’re going to do and where you’re going to go. There are several different ways that you can escape your desk and get the relaxation that you deserve. What follows are going to be some of the best ideas for a care free and no stress holiday. You put in your time, read up and get ready to plan for relaxation.

Take a Cruise

This is a great option for holiday no mater where you are in the world. There is no shortage of options. Cruises are great because once you board the ship, you don’t have to worry about anything else. Many ships come fully equipped with buffets at all times of the day, multiple pools, tanning decks, water slides, bars, clubs, excursions, and other fantastic amenities. Whether your cruise stops at different islands or you take a cruise to nowhere its bound to be a good time. You can drink, eat, and sleep all day with no worries that you won’t get to your next destination.

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Get a Timeshare

Timeshares are a great option for those who find a place they like and just want to keep going back. A timeshare is literally a home away from home a couple of weeks out of the year. What timeshares offer that a cruise doesn’t, is stability. You have a place that is yours and even more importantly, you have privacy. Real privacy not just a room but an entire house, apartment, or condo. I don’t care where you are but there is nothing like a home cooked meal and that is exactly what you’ll be able to do at your timeshare. But fair warning, you need to be careful about what the terms of your timeshare are. You want to make sure that you aren’t being taken advantage of with hidden fees and know what kind of cancellation fees they have. It’s always good to consult the pros when questions with your contract arise, work with Right Choice Transfer and you’re sure to be in good hands.

Stay at a Resort

This is another option that you can look into almost anywhere in the world (this becomes a common theme). You can find these places anywhere with nice weather from Jamaica to Gambia. Resorts are great because, like cruises, everything is taken care of before you even check in. When looking into resorts, I’d recommend going with all inclusive and if you can swing it, a premium package. When you get the premium package nothing is off limits. You can get anything off the menu and any top-shelf liquor at the bar for no extra cost. You always have options for excursions when staying at a resort. Depending on where you are it can be anything from horseback riding to scuba diving to climbing waterfalls. Its always a good idea to do an excursion or two so you can break out of the walls of the resort for a little change of scenery.

 

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The Best Crêpes (and Galettes) in Paris

Crêpes and galettes originated in Brittany, a northwest region of France. Once they caught on, consumption became widespread throughout the country. Galettes are similar to crêpes in nature, but are made with buckwheat flour and usually contain savory fillings. Crêpes on the other hand have sweet fillings and are made from wheat flour. Here are five places to feast on dizzyingly delicious crêpes and galettes.

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Breizh Café
109 Rue Vielle du Temple

An emerging international superstar, Japanese cooks masterfully whip up an assortment of crêpes and galettes at the Breizh Café. A dessert crêpe I’d take a France ferry for is the La Carrément Caramel, which is a crêpe topped with salted butter and caramel, with a scoop of salted butter caramel ice cream. The. Best. Ever. If you’re feeling more unusual fare, try their yuzu butter or ginger caramel.

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Josselin
67 Rue due Montparnasse

Walking into Josselin you feel like you’ve been transported to your grandma’s house with its lace, dark wood paneling and bric-a-brac décor. The crêpes here are buttery, authentic, traditional, and delicious. No fancy fillings here, only the classics. I’d recommend the Crêpe Bertine with tomatoes, cheese, egg, a little ham, onions and red wine. Instead of cider, try a glass of Lait Ribot, slightly fermented buttermilk. Trust me on this.

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West Country Girl
6 Passage Saint-Ambroise

The minimal façade doesn’t allude to the goodness (and hip clientele) you find within. Inside the stylish retro shop you can select from a variety of sweet and savory crêpes and wash it down with one of the Breton ciders naturally on hand. The delicate buckwheat parcels are filled with fresh ingredients like eggs, goat cheese, spinach, brie, and bacon. You’ll feel like you’re in Brittany.

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Le Pot O’Lait
41 Rue Censier

A cheerful place to hang out, it’s clearly a neighborhood favorite. It has beach-blue walls, friendly servers, and a view of the nearby medieval church. Tune out the lively French chatter and feast on the La Fermiere, with roasted red peppers and cheese, topped with a mixed green salad and herbs. Mmm. Pair with one of the artisanal ciders they’ve got on deck.

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How to Spend 3 Days in Florence, Italy

View of Florence, Italy

Florence is located right in the heart of Tuscany- a magical region studded with countless villas, palaces and cathedrals in the gorgeous countryside of central Italy. The historical city has so much to offer in terms of art, history, architecture, food… the list goes on! With a few days to spend in Florence, here are some tips for things not to miss:

Rule #1: There are several sights in Florence that you absolutely don’t want to miss: the Uffizi (art museum) and the Accademia, where you’ll see Michaelangelo’s famous David. However, you MUST book these tickets in advance, so add this as a precursor to your trip!

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Day 1: When you arrive in Florence, drop off your bags and head to the Duomo (main cathedral), taking in the citie’s gorgeous architecture on the way there. Climb to the top for an unbeatable panoramic view of the city, then check out the mosaics next door at the baptistery. Stop for a pizza or panini for lunch, then make your way to Piazza della Signorina (piazza means “square”) and then to the Uffizi for an afternoon of admiring the works of da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Botticeli and so many others. Remember to book tickets in advance here- you’ll wait in line all day if you show up the day of to purchase entry.

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Day 2: The second day is a good time to visit Michaelangelo’s David- however, even if you book in advance you should show up to the Accademia before opening time to avoid the massive line that seems to exist at all times of the year. After lunch, visit the Santa Maria Novella Church, filled with many interesting art pieces, then walk down to the river. You can explore the many bridges across town, grabbing delicious gelato along the way- but make a special stop at Pontevecchio to take in the unbelievable jewelry and fine wares on display.

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Day 3: A third day in Florence could begin with a day trip to Fiesole to enjoy some interesting Roman Ruins, or you could opt to rent bikes and roll along the riverside. Browse through the leather markets for some quality souvenirs, and wander into some of the churches you may have missed. Shopping lovers can hit up the fashion strip of Via d’Tornabuoni, or art lovers can browse the square outside Uffizi where many artists sell their works.

 

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Top Vegetarian Cities Around the World

 

Whether you’re a staunch meat-free eater or just love the fresh, healthy essence of vegetarian food, here are some of the best cities in the world to experience a variety of veggie-friendly gastronomical options:

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New York City The city that never sleeps offers a huge array of veggie options available whenever you want it! From glam bistros to vegan bakeries, upscale restaurants and diners serving up veggie versions of classic burgers, there’s something for everyone in the Big Apple.

 

Singapore With a diverse cuisine including influence from India and China, there are tons of vegetarian options in Singapore. Check out the food courts and cafes all along the streets, or head down to Little India for delicious vegetarian options with spice.

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Chiang Mai, Thailand The north of Thailand is known for its excellent (and spicy!) food, and Chiang Mai is a haven for veggie fans! Yellow banners mark the vegetarian cafes, and they are abundant throughout the city. Try a vegetarian version of Khao Soi, northern Thailand’s specialty of coconut curry with egg noodles, pickles, shallots and lime.

Vancouver, Canada The recent sustainable and organic food movement in Vancouver has resulted in a large crop of vegetarian and whole foods cafes and restaurants. You can sample interesting dishes such as raw vegan pizza, late night comfort food with a veggie twist, or eclectic fusion cuisine.

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London, England It’s no wonder that this cosmopolitan city with such a diverse population offers up everything from meatless versions of British favorites like bangers and mash and shepherds pie, to great Indian food, veggie sushi and all sorts of other creative vegetarian fare.

Taipei, Taiwan This Buddhist country has developed a vegetarian culture largely including varieties of meat replacements made from textured soy protein. Vegan food stalls and buffet-style restaurants serve up all kinds of faux-meat dishes from stir-fried “beef” and “chicken” to seafood options like “squid.”

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San Francisco, California Aside from New York, San Francisco is probably the top foodie cities in the States, and is an absolute paradise for vegetarians or vegans with the abundance of eating options! Try tofu dogs at a Giant’s game, international veggie cuisine in Chinatown or vegan ice cream at the quirky Maggie Mudd’s.

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5 Places Off the Beaten Path in Italy

Italy is a country absolutely filled with iconic sights, cities and landscapes to visit. From Rome’s Coliseum and Pantheon to the bridges of Venice, cathedrals in Milan, Duomo in Florence and breathtaking Amalfi Coast (along with so much more!), Italy offers more than enough top spots to keep travelers spellbound for ages.

But let’s say you just really want to get off the beaten tourist track and experience authentic Italian culture. Fantastic! Here are 5 great places to see for the offbeat traveler:

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The Island of Sardenia

From luxurious beach resorts to spectacular festivals and unbeatable cuisine, Sardenia offers a taste of real Italian culture in a gorgeous island atmosphere. Check out the capital city of Cagliari, head inland to step “back in time” and experience the small-town feel, try “frutti di mari” (fruit of the sea) and explore the many archaeological sites on the island.

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Cortona, Tuscany

The town of Cortona is not only a great launching point for exploring Tuscany, but it’s got a friendly atmosphere with far less tourists than Florence. It has beautiful architecture, plenty of day trips nearby and some of the friendliest locals in the region cooking up incredible Italian cuisine at every sidewalk café.

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Turin

You might be surprised to learn that this charming city near the foothills of the Alps is Italy’s fourth-largest city! The region is home to fantastic wine, chocolate, gorgeous countryside and perfect ski slopes for winter travelers. The city itself is filled with elegant piazzas, museums and charming cafes.

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Bologna

This enchanting town, home to the world’s oldest university, is rather under-visited by tourists, making it the perfect place to experience Italian culture surrounded by gorgeous architecture, history and tantalizing food! Yes, the cuisine in Bologna is unbeatable- it’s home to bolognese after all! Lasagna, tortellini, and spaghetti bolognese will leave you in a food coma you’ll never want to leave.

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Cinque Terre

So it’s not completely “off the beaten path”, but no Italy trip would be complete without a visit to these gorgeous five villages (“Cinque Terre literally means “five towns”) towering over the rugged coastline in Liguria. Take a scenic boat ride to the southern-most town and hike back through all five, taking in the breathtaking views, stopping for gelato and ending your trek with a gorgeous feast of fresh seafood at sunset on the beach in Monterosso, the northern-most town.

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Working Holidays Around the World

If you’re looking to travel and experience another culture for longer than just a holiday, I have one piece of advice for you: Look into a working holiday! So many places around the world offer young people the chance to work in a foreign country for a given period, fully supported by a working visa. You usually have to be between 18-30, so don’t waste time in sorting out a working holiday for the experience of a lifetime!

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How to Find a Working Holiday?

There are plenty of websites out there to help you set up a working holiday. Whether you want to au pair in England or Switzerland, work on a farm in Australia or teach English in Japan, many organizations out there are willing to support you with a working visa while you live and work. Do research beforehand to work out in which countries you are eligible to receive a working visa.

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What Kinds of Jobs are Available?

You can find working holidays doing anything from teaching English to nannying, working in hospitality, taking care of animals or doing organic farming. For some jobs, it can be a good idea to prepare yourself with a TEFL (English teaching) course, which makes you more flexible and hire-able if you decide to change jobs or countries. Keep an open mind, and you’re bound to find interesting work that will impart you with new job skills and friendships!

 

Prepare for Culture Shock

Depending where you decide to work, you may experience a bit of culture shock once you’re immersed in a completely foreign environment! Embrace cultural differences with an open mind, knowing that you will soon adjust and become an even more experienced traveler and citizen of the world! Understanding and respecting foreign customs will be key to settling comfortably into your new life. Don’t be afraid to try new things- whether it’s a new type of cuisine, activity or simply immersing in the language and giving it your best!

 

Remember Why You’re There

Yes, you came to work- but why? To fund your travels, of course! Of course it’s important to do your job well, but don’t make it the complete focus of your time abroad- you could be doing that at home! Take weekend trips away in your free time, go exploring during the evenings and days off, and make sure to plan for a few long getaways during work breaks. These activities will keep you balanced and thrilled with the experience of working abroad- the whole idea behind a working holiday!