Foreign Exchange Programs for Adults
Spending extended time overseas on a gap year or a working holiday can be seen as "kid stuff," reserved for lucky, fresh-faced graduates who have not yet entered the workforce or obtained on real duties. But that outlook is shortsighted: Even a brief stint abroad in an exchange program could completely change your perspective and gain your career at any phase of the game. To choose an adult-friendly market program, think about how you'd love to devote your time overseas and what the experience's key takeaways should be. Many people's programs will match inside these 3 categories: cultural or language immersion, working vacations or volunteering.
Language or Cultural Immersion Programs
Tired of living "la dolce vita" in Italy or perfecting your French in Paris? A language immersion program will be right up your alley. Many applications will match you with a host family, which will let you comprehend cultural customs in a way that just is not possible if you live alone or together with other foreigners. If you want an intensive approach, programs like Language Holiday (languagevacation.com) allow you to live with a personal trainer. Depending upon the arrangement you choose, you might be able to focus on taking courses, or you might be placed in a hands-on environment doing volunteer work with native speakers — a surefire way to better your abilities and learn local slang. Programs such as Education First (ef.edu) can connect you with language schools in 40 distinct destinations, while programs like United Planet (unitedplanet.org) can set you in Central or South American orphanages, hospitals or construction websites, allowing you to build your Spanish skills and contribute to the community. Quest International offers alternatives that combine a bit of everything, including traditional "trade" opportunities and the exceptional chance for teachers and their pupils to exchange places with a class abroad.
Working holidays are a popular way to see all the planet without emptying your wallet. Through applications like Workaway (workaway.info) or Help Exchange (helpx.net), it is possible to come across farmers, hotel proprietors, gardeners and countless other individuals or organizations looking for assistance. If you are more interested in paid work, you can get certified to teach English with programs like Language Corps (languagecorps.com) or CIEE (ciee.org/teach), and staff will then help you with job placement. Figuring out the obstacles and spiritual laws involved could be difficult, however, so consult with program staff and consular authorities about how to move. If that sounds too cluttered to your liking, then start looking into more aggressive, government-backed programs like the different Fulbright fellowships. Younger adults may use to function as native Language teaching assistants, while people of all ages might qualify for study fellowships. Special exchange opportunities are also available for journalists, teachers and other professionals.
Whether you are hoping to make a difference in a struggling community, pad your resume with an international experience or just have fun working on a meaningful job, doing volunteer work overseas won't disappoint. "Volun-tourism" is a popular phenomenon and a fantastic way to give back to the local culture that you are residing in. Programs such as Cross Cultural Solutions (crossculturalsolutions.org) provide opportunities especially designed to boost your career or help you discern whether you want to follow a new professional track. Travellers Worldwide also offers opportunities tailored to mature volunteers, people taking breaks in their normal 9-to-5 responsibilities and retirees.
Whether you are going overseas via a government-sponsored program or just coordinating with a friendly sofa surfer, researching visa requirements for your stay is vital. Many applications will help with organizing any essential paperwork to you, but you might need to provide documents such as bank statements or health insurance cards. For United States citizens, rules vary considerably based on mutual arrangements and a number of different facets. By way of instance, U.S. passport holders who plan to stay in any of the 26 countries in the Schengen region of Europe for up to 90 days do not have to submit an application for any kind of visa, but even a short trip to India needs a tourist visa. Requirements may also vary depending upon your age and whether you plan to study, travel or work in numerous countries. It is ideal to check directly with all the embassies or consular authorities for the states you're considering visiting.