At every single stage of life we have a different type of pressure on us. At uni, it was that we had to be with the best friends having the best times constantly. I thought that would lift when I graduated, and it has, but it’s been replaced with the massive pressure to make something of my life. Right now, that means a graduate should get the best possible job with lots of responsibility and hopes of promotion while being able to support yourself away from home for the first time in your life. Somehow, I’ve actually managed to achieve most of that and honestly, living completely without handouts from your family or the government in the form of student loans is incredibly empowering.
But what isn’t empowering is the thought that now that I’m working, like many of my just-graduated friends, we’ll be working until we’re easily getting towards our 70s. My friend Jess just got a letter to confirm that she had started a pension. She’ll be able to start receiving the money in 2060. That’s over fourty years of five weeks holiday per year and living for the weekends. A job might be the ultimate success on the surface, but we can’t seem to handle it straight after the freedom of University. A stable job at 21-years-old is not what my circle of friends seem to strive for. We want to get out when we’ve barely even gotten in.
That’s why so many of us want to travel long, far and soon. We are a generation who refuses to be tied down by work, homes or anything else. We want freedom. I’m not sure where I want to go, but I’ve had a look around and here are some places that will appeal to a lot of wanderlust-filled recent grads.
Teach English abroad
The world is literally your oyster with TEFL. Popular destinations to teach English as a foreign language include Thailand and Malaysia, but it can take participants to any non-English speaking country. During my research, I discovered that I could apply for Disney English, which is the program in China that teaches children ages 3-12 how to speak English with a distinctive Disney flair. All you need is to be over 21 and have a bachelors degree in education, or any other degree alongside a TEFL qualification.
From my experience of researching summer jobs abroad while at University, ‘volunteering abroad’ was equal to donating a lot of money and then going to help build the thing you’re donating towards. While this must be incredibly rewarding, it’s also very expensive and I have never been able to get my head around paying for the privilege of donating your time. For the price of a few weeks volunteering, you could spend months living elsewhere. Obviously it wouldn’t have the same community impact, but it’s worth considering if you want to help people through a money-making organisation or if you can find another way.
There are some ‘free’ volunteering opportunities listed on Go Overseas. And by ‘free’, I actually mean you pay for all your expenses and then donate your time, so at least no big boss is profiting from your charitable nature.
This is very easy to obtain and allows you to live in Australia for 12 whole months and work for up to six of them. If you save up enough during six months of work, you might be able to survive the following six months of travelling. I think my funds would dry up before the visa though, sadly. The great thing about this visa is that you can work anywhere with it. If you find a great paid internship, you can work there as easily as au pairing or working in a restaurant in Sydney harbor.
Work in a hostel
When staying in hostels I’d always found it really odd that one person in the room seemed to have shoved their whole life under their bunk. It took me a while to realise that they lived and worked at the hostel, and this can be a great way to earn free accommodation while living in a new city. A lot of hostels keep a constant eye out for new staff, so pick a city, find a clean and friendly abode and inquire before you go. The great thing is that after a few months you can easily move onto a different city and start all over again. Hostel World have some great tips to help you secure a hostel job.
Work in the EU
It’s easy to forget how lucky we are to be a part of the EU and have a right to work in any other member state. So dust off your Spanish and go and try your hand at bar work in a traditional Spanish town. Or for a less cultural experience, you could re-live your uni days and be a holiday rep at a drinking resort. Of course there are some destinations that are more family-friendly than others. Thomas Cook recruit seasonal workers to go out to help customers at their busiest resorts every summer.
Yes, it might be very similar to working, but working in a different country has to be more exciting. The pay is rubbish, the choice can be limited and the competition tough, but a placement can satisfy both your wanderlust and your career aspirations. It can’t be all bad. Try searching for USA internships here.
What did you do/are you going to do after graduation? I’d love to hear your travel plans.