Thursday, March 15, 2012

Internships, gap years abroad offer travel, experience, pay

By Jen Jepsen, Guest Travel Columnist

What’s the only thing better than traveling to newplaces and experiencing what it’s like to live as a local?

Getting paid to do it.

Jobs and internships are resources for budgettravelers who want to experience a new place for extended periods of time butlack the funds to do so.  Not only dothey provide the traveler a means of supporting him or herself, they help thetraveler experience the location as a local.

Organizations used to hiring non-local workers areusually equipped to provide housing and food. They also usually provideresources for the traveler to find his or her own housing.

Living in a new place for months opens doors toexperiences many tourists never have. After a month or two, the traveler mightstart talking like a local, getting around town with ease, buildingrelationships and discovering new favorite haunts off the beaten track.

The opportunities for travel working are numerousand easy to find. First, decide what you’re looking for: an internship, job orgap year after graduation. Paid internships are the hardest to find, but theopportunities are out there.

Research companies within your field of study andproactively check whether they have openings for the summer. Goabroad.com alsohas an extensive listing of internships all over the globe. The internshipoffice on campus and the Wang Center can help with the search as well.

Consider applying to work at a national park orsummer camp.

Both have locations all across the U.S. and abroadwith jobs ranging from counselors, cashiers, chefs and everything in between.Expect to live in a beautiful middle of nowhere and to save quite a bit. Thereisn’t much to spend money on in the forest.

Though you’ll be living where you work, there’sstill plenty of down time for hiking, climbing, swimming and exploring.

Don’t be afraid of going alone, either. The amountof time spent with other workers creates fast friendships you’ll be sad toleave once the summer is over.

For senior students wanting to put off jobs or gradschool, there are plenty of gap year opportunities that provide work inexciting places as well. English teachers for foreign nations are in highdemand across the globe - especially in Asia - and often only require that youare a native English speaker.

From bartending to cattle ranching in the outbackto being a skydiving instructor, BUNAC is an organization that sets you up witha visa, insurance and job listings in Australia, New Zealand and WesternEuropean countries. There are endless opportunities through BUNAC.com orgoabroad.com.

Application deadlines are coming up for summerjobs, especially those abroad.

Get paid to do what you love and consider using themoney you make to travel cheaply to other places in the area. It’ll be anexperience you’ll never forget.

Jen Jepsen is a senior English major at Pacific Lutheran Universityofficially diagnosed with a bad case of wanderlust. Aside from travel andphotography, her pastimes include dancing, hiking, Bananagrams and beingvegetarian.