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Travel and Work!19th April 2012, 17:09
You've heard the dilemma: if you want to get a good job, you need experience; but to get experience you need a job; but to get a job you need experience; but to get experience… you get the point. You know what we say to this here at STA Travel? Work abroad on your gap year!
Why take a Working Holiday?
Aside from the fact that Working Holidays will boost your skill-set, career prospects and overall outlook on life, they're also the perfect way to travel on a budget.
While many travellers choose to work in the UK, saving enough money for the trip of a lifetime, a Working Holiday is a blend of both worlds. It gives you the opportunity to secure a regular income, and as soon as you're ready, you can jump the fence and soak up the travel adventures which will be right on your doorstep.
Where can I take a Working Holiday?
We currently offer Working holiday schemes in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. Both of these countries are well-versed in welcoming UK citizens to their shorelines, and providing them with the tools they need to shine.
Once you've got the Working Holiday Visa, it's time to start thinking about the type of work you'd like to do; and that's where Working Holidays really start to fizz. You see, we're fairly confident that if you approach Working Holidays in the right way, you can find work that will enhance your skills in specific areas, which will boost your career prospects for the years to come. Fancy working as a marine biologist? Start researching relevant organisations, and ram your foot in the door. Feel a need to boost your communication skills? Get yourself a job which brings it out of you.
Aside from the Working Holidays themselves, we offer a few alternative options for your gap year:
- TEFL: (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is a popular qualification to gain access to schools around the world, to teach English Language to students.
- Teaching Internships: A step further than TEFL; our Teaching Internships bag you the qualification and a paid internship.
Volunteering: considered splicing a little selfless volunteering into your gap year, with some of the world's most fulfilling projects.
What skills will I learn as a volunteer?
One of the first questions an interviewer will ask you is: "Can you tell me about a time you worked in a team?"
Perfect! This is a great opportunity to wax lyrical about your amazing team working capabilities — you know, the ones you learnt while working on that Elephant Conservation project in Thailand. Those were some hungry elephants — thank goodness you had your fellow volunteers to help pick all the corn, and make all those banana balls on time (mashed up bananas, corn and rice… nice!)
Communication skills — how you speak, listen and interact with others — will help you stand out to prospective employees, and volunteering can bring this out of the most timid of travellers.
From the minute you start any project, such as Teaching English in Buenos Aires, you're very closely involved with a group of people — many of whom don't speak English as a first language — who are expecting you to get stuck in, and get involved. You need to communicate, you want to communicate and you will communicate with the group so that everyone, including yourself, can get the most out of your time.
Without even trying, you're developing the communication and interpersonal skills that would make any prospective employer want to jump up and give you a great big hug (now that's what we call interpersonal!)
Leadership is another biggie: "Tell me about a time you showed strong leadership skills?" asks the interviewer. "Well, while on my gap year…" pause, for effect, "I volunteered as a teacher in Zanzibar where I successfully organised, and coordinated, their annual Sports Day for the children."
All of our volunteering projects involve elements of project planning, time management and team motivation; pretty credible leadership qualities if you ask us.
Volunteering also gives you a massive sense of responsibility, which can really help build your confidence when handling stressful situations. If you can handle night patrol on a Sea Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica (protecting female sea turtles, nests, and hatchlings against poachers and predators — eek!), then you can handle pretty much anything!
These are just a teeny tiny selection of hidden benefits that volunteering can offer you. We can guarantee that your CV will glow if you include volunteering experience, and it will help you to stand out, loud and proud in the job hungry crowd.
Dont just take our word for it! A recent survey of 200 leading UK businesses (carried out by TimeBank and Reed Executive) revealed that 73% of employers would employ candidates with volunteering experience over one who doesn't. Now go get your volunteer on.
Why volunteer with STA Travel?
If you choose to volunteer on your Gap Year with STA Travel, you'll get to pick from nearly 80 projects — ranging from community work, conservation work, working with children or working with animals — that have been chosen with the ultimate aim of helping local people and their environment achieve a sustainable way of life.
Our projects, some of which are completely exclusive to STA Travel, offer genuine opportunities to make a real difference, and are administered on our behalf by the registered non-profit organisation Planeterra.
If you'd like to know more information about Working Holidays in Australia, New Zealand and North America or the opportunities available to you as a volunteer or a teacher then contact us at NotGoingtoUni@statravel.co.uk or call and chat to one of our travel experts on 0871 468 0668 or visit our profile page to see all of our fantastic opportunites http://www.notgoingtouni.co.uk/jobs/opportunitiesByCompany/78
Need extra incentive to contact us? We're offering all NotGoingtoUni members 10% discount of all our volunteer projects and £25 off flights, just because we're good like that. Happy travels!!