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Explore, Serve, and Roam: Opportunities for Volunteering and Working Abroad

By Melisa Sharkly





With summer on the horizon, many students are eager to pursue their dreams of traveling the world on a budget or securing job positions to gain valuable experience and enhance their qualifications. One significant concern when committing to a program in an unfamiliar location is reliability. It's well-known that social media often presents a distorted view of reality, particularly when it comes to travel influencers. Therefore, the first step in evaluating the suitability and safety of a program is to review feedback from participants who have successfully completed their commitments. Don't hesitate to reach out to individuals and expand your network. Building professional relationships with employers is essential for finding employment and securing promising opportunities. The next step involves thorough research on restrictions, requirements, eligibility criteria, and visa prerequisites. Once you make the necessary arrangements and prepare for a safe journey, you'll be equipped to choose the program that best suits your needs. Many opportunities for volunteering and working abroad provide unique accommodations that allow you to immerse yourself in new cultures, make a positive impact, and gain invaluable experiences. From teaching English in rural communities and conserving wildlife in exotic locales to contributing to urban initiatives aimed at achieving sustainable development goals, the options are diverse and rewarding. Here's a closer look at some options for this summer:


NBCUniversal Page Program


Based in NYC and Universal City, CA, the NBCUniversal Page Program offers a highly selective opportunity for individuals seeking to develop an outstanding portfolio in public relations, production, marketing, advertisement, sales, and more. The program's primary goal is to immerse participants in the NBCUniversal atmosphere and provide an early-career experience that may lead to entry-level positions within the company. The program consists of three cohorts per year, each lasting four months. It serves as an excellent platform for media exposure and networking with company employees. Participants undergo rotational assignments throughout the year and act as ambassadors for the program. Participants receive an hourly compensation of $20 along with health and wellness benefits, paid time off, paid company holidays, and a stipend upon starting the program. In NYC, participants work six days a week, primarily supporting audience services for live studio productions and the NBC Studio Tour. The program begins with a two-week onboarding process to familiarize participants with the company's culture and operations. Assignments are divided into three phases: the onboarding assignment, which helps participants adapt to the company culture; the second and third assignments, which focus on building a portfolio, developing networking skills, and conducting interviews with notable figures in the industry. Upon completion of the program, participants become eligible to apply and interview for open roles within the company. Throughout this process, team leaders guide to ensure participants stand out in their applications. The NBCUniversal Page Program is particularly beneficial for communications, marketing, and journalism majors. It also offers a unique opportunity for individuals interested in exploring different career paths within the industry by interacting with renowned actors, producers, and journalists.


Worldpackers and Workaway


The primary objective of these platforms is to connect individuals seeking volunteer opportunities with hosts worldwide, offering accommodations, excursions, and/or meals in exchange for their assistance.


Both platforms provide work and travel opportunities accessible via mobile app or computer, offering a wide range of options. Opportunities include bartending and housekeeping at backpacker hostels, housesitting for families in exchange for language immersion for their children, volunteering at eco-villages, contributing to wildlife preservation efforts, and teaching English in underdeveloped countries. Worldpackers and Workaway aggregate various challenging and laid-back work and travel options in one place. The benefits vary depending on the program and host. Some hosts provide three meals a day, accommodation, free tickets to events, facility access, stipends, recommendation letters, and certificates. Attendance to projects can significantly enhance one's resume and life experiences, as all projects are aligned with at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Robert College Summer Camp Programmes


Renowned as one of Turkey's most prestigious institutions, Robert College creates a unique world within the heart of Istanbul, Turkey, with its native and bilingual English-speaking staff. The atmosphere, education, and opportunities offered at Robert College allow students to experience an American-style education and student life in Turkey. The college hosts a vibrant summer program for children aged 8-14. With a dynamic schedule that keeps participants engaged, the program offers a wide range of activities to showcase their talents at the end of the camp. Participants arrive at 8:15 a.m. and depart at 4:15 p.m. five days a week. The well-crafted schedule includes activities such as morning skits by camp counselors, adventure training, various sports (swimming, field, court), and performing arts activities. Participants can choose activities based on their interests for their final performance at the farewell fair. Additionally, each week features different rejuvenating activities during the "happy hour" at the end of the day. Exciting sub-activities include excursion days, where participants enjoy swimming in the Black Sea and hiking trips to connect with nature while bonding with fellow campers and learning about environmental awareness. One of the highlights of the program is the opportunity for counselors to craft their own counseling experience for the children. Carefully selected from applicants worldwide, counselors bring their skills and interests to enrich the camp experience for participants. Counselors undergo background checks, health check-ups, and safeguard training. They work full-time until 4:15 p.m. and have the chance to explore Turkey's cosmopolitan hub during their free time. The program coordinators ensure counselors feel welcomed and entertained with special excursion activities and encourage bonding among counselors. Through this experience, counselors form lasting bonds with their peers and become role models for young individuals. Counselors are required to attend a week of orientation before participants arrive and commit to at least four weeks of counseling. Benefits include compensation, three meals a day, a room, and free city excursions. If you are willing to connect with your inner child and learn more about the program, visit rcsplus.org.


Occupation Wild


Occupation Wild is a job board dedicated to the outdoor, adventure, and travel industry, established in 2018. Encouraging individuals to break free from the traditional 9-to-5 routine, this platform advocates for living a life filled with adventure and exploration. Many job postings on Occupation Wild offer long-term opportunities, which may include stipends, housing, meals, and stable salaries. The range of positions available is diverse, including roles such as travel leaders, recreational activity assistants, wildlife preservation crew members, backpacking tour leaders, and camp leaders. Occupation Wild provides transparent job listings with adventurous features, offering opportunities for bold job titles like glacier tour guide and helicopter dispatch manager. However, there are also entry-level positions available in various locations, such as reception management and sales representation. With competitive pay rates, diverse accommodations, opportunities at different position levels, and a non-traditional work environment, Occupation Wild is the ultimate resource for finding the perfect job tailored to your adventurous spirit, all for free.


Reach, Venture, Find International


RVF International has been gaining popularity, especially among those interested in teaching, particularly as TEFL-certified educators in temporary or seasonal positions. This program offers the opportunity to fully commit to permanently relocating to Spain as an English language educator. It is open to individuals with bachelor's or associate degrees, which means you may need to wait until after completing your higher education to participate. One potential downside of the program is the pre-program cost. As RVF International functions as an agency and provides assistance for obtaining TEFL certification, they require certain payments for the program's sustainability. However, participants are compensated for their work hours and have weekends off during the program. This experience can be an excellent option for those seeking immersion in the Spanish language and culture while pursuing a temporary position after graduation, allowing for some time off before fully committing to a job.

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