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Working holidays for all interests

By Staff Writer
By Ashleigh Brown, journalist, Justmoney
 
There are many different sites dedicated to working holidays and helping potential travellers find the best fit for their holiday. However, a lot of the time these are for people from either Europe or America wanting to travel to Australia or New Zealand. So what about us South Africans? 
 
Never fear, there are some amazing opportunities out there ranging from short one week stays, to 24 month long stays – all depending on how long you want to work and holiday. A lot of the opportunities give free board and lodging in exchange for your work (so no ‘salary’).  
 
Below are six different working holiday options, ranging from fun summer time games in America, to teaching English in Thailand. 
 
Summer Camp 
 
Water balloon fights, dressing up, and camp fires are some of the things you can expect if you work at a summer camp in America. However, American summer holidays normally last between two to three months, depending on where you are going, so make sure you have the time to go. A lot of the summer camps are aimed at students, and thus offer special rates and visa options. But there are other camp jobs, such as camp counsellors, coordinators, sports coaches, and health care professionals, for working professionals who want to take some time off and enjoy the sun. 
 
Some of the summer camp programmes will pay you a salary, and organise flights and visa arrangements for you. However, then you normally have to pay a sign-up fee. Make sure you know exactly what you are required to do, and how long you will be working each day. Also, ask if you have weekends free, as some programmes do offer free time for you to go and explore by yourself. 
 
Check out these two websites for more information on summer camps and the work available. They do require a signup fee if you want to be placed – but browsing around is free: http://www.usasummercamp.co.uk/
 
Volunteering
 
If you want to give back to the world, visit a unique and sometimes remote location, then volunteering is one way to have an exciting holiday on the cheap.
 
For most volunteering programmes, you have to pay a sign-up fee. The prices vary from where you are going and what you will be doing, to how long you will be staying. The fee you pay includes your board and lodging, so make sure that you budget for your own flights. 
 
If you are going to be building homes, or doing eco farming, remember to ask what clothes would be more suited for the work you are going to be doing. It might sound silly, but you don’t want to be farming all day in a nice summer dress. 
 
One such volunteering site is PoD. It offers short-term and long-term volunteering programmes. Different categories such as child care, teaching, animal care, and environmental conservation are available to choose from. 
 
On the PoD website it highlights that “completing an application form does not commit you to a project.” Furthermore, they urge you to carefully look at all the costs as well as the start dates of the chosen projects you want to partake in. Once you have applied, PoD will email you with further information and details about the project. 
 
Wwoofing
 
Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (Wwoofing) is one way to work on a farm and see a new place at the same time. However, there are lots of other organisations which also take volunteer workers, and in exchange offer free board and lodging. 
 
Everyone’s reason for Wwoofing is different, from seeing something new, to meeting new people, and to experiencing a new culture form a different perspective. 
 
Though, these kinds of working holidays do demand a physical toll, it is wonderful if you love nature, and are not shy of a hard day’s work.
 
On the Guardian website, on such Wwoofer said: “You could be doing anything from picking grapes to building a smokehouse, learning about organic crops or setting up an irrigation system. Of course there are plenty of opportunities out there to milk cows or plough a field, should you wish to partake in some more traditional farm labour. 
 
“Working days can range from a full seven to eight hours of physical labour to a couple of hours helping with the daily chores. Look carefully though the information listed for each post and make sure to check with the owners beforehand how much time each day you will be expected to contribute.”
 
Cruise ship 
 
The cruise ship industry is one of the fastest growing tourism industries. As cruise ships have become moving exotic resorts, there are many different jobs available, ranging from requiring no previous experience, to professionals, such as doctors, or engineers. 
 
Working on a cruise ship for your holiday allows you to see a new destination and be paid for your work. 
 
According to the MSC cruise ship academy website, “making great money is also a big plus to working on a cruise ship, because your accommodation, food and most of your transport is always paid for by the company.”
 
However, the company does highlight that the application process can take up to a few months to complete. 
 
Some cruise ship websites acquire a membership fee to sign-up, before you can see the job listings. For entry level jobs, it is normally around R40 for 30 days. 
 
Check out the MSC South Africa homepage for jobs listings, and you do not have to pay to view them: http://tinyurl.com/nqdfm8v
 
Teach English 
 
In order to teach English overseas you will need to have a TEFL (teach English as a foreign language) qualification, or teaching qualifications. Some programmes also accept university level English as sufficient for a qualification, as they will send you on a teaching course when you arrive. 
 
But teaching English overseas is a great way to see exotic cultures, as the most prominent courses are in Thailand and South Korea. However, there are many opportunities in other parts of the world too. 
 
The pay is also good, as board and lodging is sometimes included (again, depends on which programme you are with). 
For more information on TEFL teaching visit: http://www.teflcourses.co.za/tefl-jobs-abroad/tefl-job-types/
 
Au Pairing 
 
Au Pairing is great if you love children. Depending on the size of the family, and how much they expect you to do, you will normally have quite a bit of free time to travel and meet new people. Some families will offer to pay for flights, but that is not always a given. More commonly you get free board and lodgings, and get a salary. 
 
There are many different Au Pairing sites, which allow you to Skype with the various different families form across the world. However, always make sure that you are safe. 
 
One such South African agency, which has a partnership with Holland, allows Au Pairs to experience Dutch culture. NEDSA is a dedicated Au Pair site pairing potential South African Au Pairs with families across Holland. 
 
The upside to going through an agency (even though you normally have to pay a registration fee) is that you have some form of comeback if anything goes wrong. Always make sure you know exactly what you will be doing, and what is required of you. This way there won’t be any misunderstandings where one party feels like they aren’t getting what they bargained for.
 
Just remember, working holidays do not mean you are going to have a free trip. You will most likely still have to pay for aeroplane tickets, unless stipulated otherwise. Also, be careful when going through websites which are not reputable. 
Make sure that you always know exactly what is expected of you, how long you will be working and what you will be getting in return. 

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