We all take something away from any travel experience. Whether it is something we learn about ourselves or the more immense complexities we live in, the world is getting smaller. Still, I genuinely believe that the closeness we feel has only created thousands of other opportunities to connect.
Traveling abroad develops cultural fluency, global awareness, and a new sense of understanding of our place in the worldwide community. Whatever walk of life we are in, there are always different ways to get unique experiences around the world.
6 Unique Programs Abroad to Discover In Your Lifetime
Volunteering abroad varies depending on the categories people find personally essential to address directly. There are various categories a person can look into: health, community development, conservation, teaching, women’s rights, construction orphanage work, primates, sea turtles, and more. The great thing about volunteering is that it can be very flexible, depending on what is decided upon to take on. Working with primates and especially sea turtles can quickly turn into a one-day activity that is an active learning experience about animal conservation. Depending on the program, they can vary from day to week with a 5-6 hour shift(s). Volunteering can easily fit into the schedule of a person or group of people traveling leisurely. Other volunteering opportunities abroad will require more time on the ground working and, more often than not, need out of pocket coverage for the entire trip. Participating in volunteer programs is usually ideal for a gap year or a summer/winter break experience.
Recommendations for volunteer organizations and programs:
2. Peace Corps
Created in 1960 by executive order under the Kennedy administration, the Peace Corps is the United States’ international volunteer organization. The Peace Corps is very different from other volunteer organizations because it’s only accessible to US citizens. In a host country, a person can stay for up to two years. A very intensive immersive volunteer experience integrating with local lifestyle in the host country and working with one of the six listed categories: agriculture, environment, community economic development, health education, and Youth in Development. People with different experiences and backgrounds can volunteer their knowledge of a particular category to a host country once accepted into the program. The peace corps come with many careers, health, educational and financial benefits that help support volunteer times during and after joining the peace corps. This experience is recommended to anyone who can make a long term volunteer commitment.
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Teaching abroad is probably the most significant way to get the best of both worlds of living in another country for an extended period and get a transformative experience as an educator. There are many benefits to teaching abroad; you get to experience a culture deeply, the excitement of traveling, compensation, benefits, and be involved in the philanthropy of education. Teaching a foreign language abroad has become a significant opportunity for foreigners over the years, especially in Asia. Seeing that, especially in international business, media, and culture, English has become the primary interactive medium. Some programs, the governments of other countries, sponsor some of the best teaching opportunities with compensation for housing and flights. Most programs require either a teacher credential or TEFL certificate, both requiring several weeks or months of training. Working for six months to a year, some people end up teaching abroad being their full-time career for the rest of their lives. It becomes an excellent opportunity for anyone looking for a change in their perspective and professional growth.
Recommendations for teaching opportunities:
https://www.teachaway.com/teach-english-korea/epik-english-program-korea- public-school-jobs-korea#:~:text=EPIK%20stands%20for%20English%20Program %20in%20Korea%2C%20a,teachers%20in%20Korea%20and%20to%20develop%20 cultural%20exchanges.
Fulbright U.S Student Program provides grants for recent graduates of both undergraduates and graduate schools to design their own extensive study/research projects or young professionals be a part of the English teaching assistant programs. Funded by the Department of State The comprehensive application takes about a couple of months to hear back from but provides a great opportunity to work independently, intern, or research abroad. This program offers an excellent opportunity for those interested in research and teaching to meet, learn and live with people of the host country for one year. They provide engagement with communities by staying with host families while also allowing participants to engage in open and creative academic freedom.
For more information:
5. Internships/Service Learning
Both internships and service-learning opportunities are both excellent ways to grasp the working culture in another country. Through these opportunities, there tends to be more versatility in the types of available internships, making them broadly available to any academic background. Most offer transferring college credit for the experience with the added training to prepare for the internship itself. Internships can range from anything to working in local government to interning with a fashion label. At some Universities, professors have grants to take students on a personalized trip to do research internships with nonprofits. So it becomes crucial to check professors and online university school letters to see what sort of opportunities are available for a specific field where they can most likely connect you. Service-learning opportunities takes a different route integrating both community service and activism. Service-learning programs provide context to how social movements change and get involved with local grassroots organizations to understand how foreigners can actively help a social movement even when they go back home. Other academic courses usually accompany service- earning opportunities. Both opportunities are uniquely different from a regular study abroad experience as there is a more significant focus on the global context of work-life and culture. These programs can last more a semester to an academic year in college.
Some internships are transferring the experience to online platforms due to COVID-19.
Links to programs:
5. Study Away
Studying abroad is one of the best ways to get college credit for classes and truly immerse yourself in a new society as a young adult. Various study abroad programs last for a year, a semester, or a month, depending on how many classes are being taken or how fast they will need to be finished. College and university study abroad programs have various amounts of financial support and scholarships available depending on the application. Other schools internally also have university exchanges possible for small groups domestically and internationally to have a more in-depth catered experience by staff and students. Students get a chance to learn both local and tourist life and culture. Other programs also have internship and volunteer opportunities available if interested.
Links to Study abroad organizations: