bilan travels // bilan’s guide to traveling more

So since I’ll be moving again later on this year, I think it’s time I spilled the frijoles with you all on how I travel so much. Here’s my comprehensive guide on finding opportunities to travel more.


General tips:

Understand your motivations and your limitations.

Do you want to learn a language? A specific skill? Or just let loose and see the world? What are your restrictions with respect to budget, time, etc.?

You will have to be extremely creative and extremely flexible.

No but seriously, it’s going to take some serious research, so grab a snack. It is immensely easier to find opportunities when you have a specific region of the world you are interested in (a.k.a. don’t skip step one, I promise it will make life easier!) It also helps in the meantime to save as much money as you can and put it aside for a travel fund of sorts.

 

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 Reach out to your network 

Do you have any friends or family members living abroad? Distant third cousins count too. haha

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Academic Opportunities:

  • Study abroad for a summer, semester or a year.

Probably the most common way to see the world while enrolled in school, study abroad can really open your eyes to a country and a region. Whether you want to go through your school or through a third party provider such as CIEE, it can be costly so be sure to speak with your school’s study abroad office and financial aid office well in advance. While you are at it, speak to your academic advisor to work out how you can make it work with existing requirements.

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  • Pursue a degree abroad.

For those really wishing to get away, there is always the option of pursuing a degree abroad. This option requires you to weigh the costs against the benefits as you will be considered an international student and may not have the same resources available to you (i.e. scholarships for domestic students).

  • If your school offers them, register for courses that involve an international trip.

The best way to discover whether or not these courses exist is by speaking to professors, following the news of a specific department before the start of the semester, or just looking at the course offerings for the upcoming semester.

Working Abroad:

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  • Providing services or technical skills
    • Teaching English: Consider lesser known areas like parts of the Middle East or Eastern Europe
    • Being an Au Pair: I personally have no experience so I can’t confidently recommend it but if you’re willing to take a chance, I have heard of sites like Au Pair World that connect those interested with host families
    • Volunteering* – In some cases be prepared to rough it up! My favorite website is Idealist.
      • WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)
      • NGOs (Look for NGOs run by your home country because they are likely used to dealing with visas and other logistical concerns)
      • Your country’s embassy
    • Freelance
      •  If you are a specialist in digital marketing, web design, or have other specific technical skills you may be able to do some work on the road. Big bucks to those that can program! Also, if you feel you can, look into online tutoring sites to earn some money on the side.

*Please DO NOT pay for a volunteer opportunity! I don’t care how amazing the program seems, you are providing your services and should not have to pay them $2000+ or whatever the crazy exorbitant fee is.*

  • Careers in International Education

    Big thank you to Jen, a smart and sassy American woman that works in international education that I met while living in Costa Rica for her tips.

  • Flight Attendant/Working for an airline

Whether working at the airport or in corporate, the airline industry is infamous for its poor job security but if you are looking for a temporary option, it is something worth considering. Look into airlines that are part of a group or have strong partnerships with other airlines. It will allow you to travel to more places!

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