In my effort to give you guys the very best travel information possible, I like to reserve a post or two every month for people looking to travel a bit off-the-beaten path and experience something beyond what the typical beach-lounging tourist would. The following is a list of awesome travel opportunities that will expand your professional and volunteer portfolio, easily meet new people from all over, and leave you with a sense of fulfillment having contributed to a cause or helped people living outside North America and the UK to learn your language and broaden their horizons.
1. Teach English Overseas at a Summer Tutoring Camp
I recently found out about The English Camp Company. This opportunity runs from June to September every year. They hold English tutoring camps throughout the summer in places like Austria, Italy, and Taiwan, where you’ll be teaching locals how to speak English. Most of the camps are in Italy, which makes this such an amazing opportunity if you’re interested in seeing everything the “boot” has to offer! The only costs are your travel to and from the country you’ll be teaching in; all lodging, food and in-country travel is covered. Sadly, the application deadline for 2015 was April 12. However, you can start applying for a spot in next years summer camps.
2. Conduct Field Research Under the Guidance of a Real-Life Scientist
This opportunity is offered by the prestigious organization the Earthwatch Institute. I’ll let you check out the literally hundreds of opportunities they offer year round, all over the world. This is really exciting! Imagine working with archaeologists to unearth ancient buried civilizations, or diving with a marine biologist in The Great Barrier Reef to help them figure out how to prevent its continuing destruction! You can learn more instantly by giving them a call right now 1-800-776-0188.
3. Help Build Homes for People in Need
Habitat for Humanity is an organization we’ve all heard of. They do so much for communities in North America, but also have volunteer opportunities all over the world. Pick a country you want to visit and it’s almost guaranteed that they have a project on-the-go there. You can be a laborer and help build homes or offer your specialized skills in administration, marketing, communications, accounting, fundraising, etc., to help further the organizations efforts. They offer both short-term, single project opportunities that last 1 – 2 weeks, and long-term postings that run for 6 – 12 months in foreign locations like Costa Rica, Columbia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Romania and so many more.
4. Study a New Language
Name a language you want to learn and there’s likely an opportunity to learn it by being immersed in a culture that speaks it. Learning French Quebec is one that I can’t recommend enough. They run camps all year round, teaching you the language and offering weekly excursions throughout Quebec City or Montreal to practice your new language and have fun with your class members. There is a little more of a cost to this one, depending on where you’re coming from and the various visa and insurance needs for you to stay. As I recall, your first three weeks of accommodations are free for most of their programs. Spanish Abroad is a similar program for those interested in learning that language. KCP International is based in Tokyo and offers Japanese Courses.
5. Help Restore Marine Life and Coastal Beaches in Hawaii
I just couldn’t resist throwing in an opportunity for the beach-bums! Though, you won’t be spending much idle time on the beach with Volunteering on Vacation with the Pacific Whale Foundation. You’ll get to meet volunteers that reside on the islands and fellow international travelers offering their services. Projects range from helping to remove invasive coastal plant species that are bad for the marine life, removing invasive plants in one of Hawaii’s many gorgeous national parks, performing chores on local organic farms, and picking up trash throughout the islands. Obviously, this one is labor intensive, but most projects run for 3 hours or less and you’ll meet plenty of friends to spend your downtime with.
When are you Leaving?
Whether you gain valuable work experience teaching or learning a trade, learn a new language, or simply gain volunteer experience; all these travel opportunities can easily boost your earning power when you return home, or help you secure work in a new and exciting country that you’d like to live.
Please do share your own experiences in the comment section for other people considering volunteering their services while taking the vacation of a lifetime.
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Main image by woodleywonderworks