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Teaching English in Spain

by Sandra

Hi, I tried to leave my comment on the page where it allows for comments with the FB plugin. However, it didn't do anything even though I was logged into FB and also "liked" the FB page! So here is the cut and paste:

Hello, First of all, THANK YOU! This article was very helpful! I am heading to Spain on August 23rd for the purpose of teaching English in Spain. I grew up in Sevilla. However, the majority of my adult life happened in the US. I have recently acquired my Spanish citizenship due to a new law that went into effect in 2008. I am fully bilingual and an interpreter by profession. I also am registered in Sevilla with a residential address. Should I try to apply for my teaching certification in Madrid or Sevilla? Does a resume in English and experience in the US count towards the possibilities of teaching? What about interpreting? I do this for National and International events in Florida as well as in the legal fields, is there an opportunity there? I really am ready to go back to Europe. I have a lot of flexibility for travel but I need to be able to earn money while I do! Thanks again!

Answer: First the technical stuff: I have my suspicions about fB but usually status updates have to be under 500 characters and this one was longer, hence its refusal to take your comment. I can't be sure but it sounds like it.

I'm glad you found the page helpful and your plans sound exciting! I love Sevilla, it's one of my favorite towns. First, on certification, I don't know whether there is a right or wrong here but if it were me I would try to get a certification in the US. You're pretty much guaranteed to have it from the 'source' so to speak. I'm pretty certain that US experience would definitely be an asset. An English CV, on the other hand, might be asking a bit much. I would translate it into Spanish. If you're teaching English you should be all set but if you plan to teach students or children in school, you'll be falling under the Ministry of Education and proper education credentials would be required in addition to English (you'd have to approach the ministry to find out).

As for interpreting I'd first approach the congress and exhibit organizers. Google 'congresos Sevilla' and you'll find them there. They may not have work, but they will either be able to direct you to the companies that organize interpreters, or to a roster on which you can register. This is all information you can get via email or phone so you can at least test the waters before you actually go. Another option would be any international businesses or organizations with offices in Sevilla. I would definitely write to them as well.

I suspect you will find opportunities to teach in Spain and to interpret in English and Spanish because of your professional status as an interpreter. The job market is tight, and getting tighter every day, but that means people need better skills than ever and learning English is one of those. I hope this helped, and I wish you the very best in your new life in Sevilla, sipping Jerez and sampling tapas along the Guadalquivir!

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How can I work legally in Europe?

by Catherine

Thank you so much for your blog, it's wonderful. I'm on the verge of quitting my 9-5 job to backpack through Europe, but I have a feeling I'm going to want to keep living abroad even after my tourist visa expires. I am open to many options--working on a farm through Wwoof, au pairing, volunteering...what I don't understand is the kind of the legal authorization that people get in order to stay in a country for more than a couple of months. I understand it depends on each country, but what kind of visa do people usually get when they're doing odd jobs like these? Any help you can give me regarding the legal authorization process would be much appreciated!

My answer: It's not that you don't understand - it's that there is very little! Working in Europe as an American is increasingly difficult, especially as Europe grows in numbers and the available pool of workers grows along with it. Add to that a difficult employment situation due to recessions and economic crises and you don't have many legal ways of staying abroad.

The most common way is by becoming a student in a higher learning institution - some countries are more lax than others when it comes to checking whether you're actually attending every single class. That said a student visa won't help you work more than a few hours a week.

You're thinking of a long-term or residence visa. When people do odd jobs, they usually don't have a visa and that's the sad truth. They come into a country as a tourist and find work along the way, under the table. The one thing in Europe that you'll have to be careful about is not overstaying your Schengen visa. The longer term visas are usually reserved for foreigners who are moved to a country by their companies or governments and go through a legal working visa process. But unless you have a job in a multinational or amazing connections, that won't really work for you.

However, don't despair. Having given you the bad news, there's a bit of better news (but not much). First, have a look at my pages on Teaching English (I won't link them here - go to my sitemap and see there. The information provided for the European countries should be helpful.

You'll also find good information on Transitions Abroad and type 'visa' into the Search box. You'll find plenty of resources there.

Finally, I'd suggest you enlist the help of local residents wherever you decide to lay your bags. Every city has an active expat population and many people have blogs or belong to expat forums. To find those I'd try several searches. The first would be 'expat blogs' and then look for the city/country you want. I'd then try 'expat forums' the same way. A good forum is AngloInfo, which has branches in many European cities. You can always post questions there and by and large we expats are a friendly bunch.

Of course you'll have to check each country's immigration policies so that whatever you eventually decide, at least you'll know what the law says.

This is just a start but I hope it will help!

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Teaching English in France

by Rachele
(Minneapolis, MN, USA)

I just read your article on teaching English in France. I've been thinking of preparing myself to get qualified to do that. I am 36 and I'm not getting any younger! I am an artist and have a degree in Art History... you mention becoming a student as well. Do you know of art schools that might be a possibility? I'm not sure if I'd want to do that, but if I end up teaching, I'd like to have time to paint and be an artist... sounds like it would be hard in the beginning. Are there any regions that might be best for an artist... somewhere near Paris? I'm also a paralegal and went to law school for a year, not sure if that would be an asset for perhaps teaching adults. Hope to hear from you and what a great website!


Rachele, it seems you have plenty of possibilities! In terms of teaching English in France, I'd go post as many questions as you have to Dave's ESL Cafe, which has a really active forum and plenty of helpful members.

As for art schools, the following, selected at random, should at least get you started. They tend to bewhich are geared to foreign students (you don't say whether you speak French, but if you do, you should have no problem finding web listings for French-language art schools):
Study Abroad Links
Atelier Alupi
The Saatchi Gallery
Studio Escalier

You'll find many of the art schools in Paris, although the south, Provence, is a traditional haven for artists, if only because of the milder weather and glorious colors!

As for being a paralegal, it's hard to say how helpful that would be - although it might well be of use if you choose to teach in a corporate setting, not necessarily legal but anything connected with business where you'll need a more formal grasp of the language. All the best in your travels to France!

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Is it easy to find jobs in Central and South America?

by Tiffany
(Zumbrota MN USA)

I'm from North America, is it easy to find jobs in Central and South America when you get there?


It's difficult to give any advice when you don't say what skills you have, what kind of job you want...

So very generally, I would guess you are looking for short-term work as opposed to immigration to a new country. This is good news as it's relatively easy to find work for a short time in the 'grey market' - or undeclared.

If you speak Spanish (or Portuguese if you're headed to Brazil) in addition to English, you can make yourself useful. If you have a special skill - translation, office work, technical skills, child minding - you should be able to pick up some short-term work along the way. As a woman traveling, you could also work in a home for a time in exchange for room and board.

I'd suggest you do the following:
- check the Expat blogs and sites in the countries you're visiting - most people post in English, and they're foreign so they'll have a good handle on what is and isn't available. Just search for 'expat blogs' online and you'll find more than you can use!
- check out Transitions Abroad - it's a fabulous resource for anyone planning on working abroad
- post questions on either the LP Thorn Tree or BootsNAll forums under the respective geographical region posts - get good advice from those who have been there, done that before you.

Just remember one thing - in most countries, you may be working illegally so make sure you check this out with locals before you go!

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RN in USA looking to work in the Dominican Republic...

by Anna
(Chicago, USA)

Does anyone have any resources on how I can job search to work in the Dominican Republic as a RN there? I've been searching and everytime I try to find a travel job overthere it's always international RNs coming INTO the


I am assuming you want to help with the Haiti earthquake so if that's the case, you may find this site helpful:, which lists various organizations hiring nurses or looking for volunteers for Haiti. Some of them will be in the Dominican Republic.

If you're seeking humanitarian work or volunteer opportunities, have a look at an article I wrote recently for Transitions Abroad - it might give you some ideas.

Other possible sources of information or work include:
- Advance for Nurses
- Nurse Volunteers
- Nurse Together

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Jan 29, 2010
by: Anonymous

Well, I am organizing to go to Haiti with the hospital I am currently working at. However, I am looking to move to the DR and live there for a couple years so I would need an actual job to make a living....


As this isn't a job or nursing website, we don't have specialized information. I can suggest you try some of the Spanish-speaking job sites in the Dominican Republic, such as Dominican Classifieds or Opcion Empleo.

Other options I would pursue if I were looking for nursing work in the Dominican Republic are the large foreign vacation towns and resorts (the larger ones may have live-in medical care) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or charities, such as orphanages. I wish you all the best!

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How easy is it to get English teaching jobs overseas?

by Karen B.
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

I'm planning on traveling but I'll need to make some money and would like to work while I travel. How easy is it to get English teaching jobs? Do you need any special training or can I just find work speaking English?


It used to be much easier to find jobs teaching English abroad. You could sometimes walk in off the street and get a job (mind you, you still can if you're lucky - but I prefer not to count on luck).

These days you'll probably need some kind of qualification because there's a lot of competition out there. These can be specific courses for teaching English, or broader university degrees in teaching or languages.

Countries have different requirements, and some are stricter than others. In Asia, for example, you'll need quite specific credentials before you're allowed to teach. In Latin America, you'll find things a little more flexible.

There are plenty of resources for finding jobs teaching English abroad (check out some of my resources on that page).

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Mar 03, 2010
overseas teaching
by: jordan

I am a formerly credentialed English and reading teacher (American) with some second language experience also and need to know if I need a TESOL or other certification in addition. My friend with extensive travel experience says no. The TESOL/TEFL sites of course won't say as they are selling such courses. I have 18 years teaching/tutoring experience and am planning on solo southern Asia/ India travel. Any info appreciated.

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How do you make money while you travel?

by Sofia Marinucci
(Italy (Live in London now) )

My name is Sofia and I love to travel. I did my first solo travel 2 years ago in NYC for one week. Now I am 20 and I am looking for a job that will let me travel, too. I read some of your experiences and I just felt in love with you :)

I would like to know how did you manage to earn money and travel at the same time? Have you ever tried Couchsurfing? Do you recommend it to a girl solo traveler?

Thank you for your inspiration :)

My answer: Plenty of questions! So I'll try to take them one at a time...

First, thank you for your kind words and apologies for the delay in replying - I've been on the road most of the past few months and have fallen drastically behind on correspondence.

First, about what I did to travel and get paid for it. I was a journalist most of my life and a foreign correspondent, so that's a great way to see the world, but it isn't for everyone, and there's a lot to do before the travel part kicks in.

If you like to write, an interesting option might be fore you to become a travel writer. It's not an easy way to make money but if you work hard and you're talented you'll certainly get to see the world. In case you're interested in pursuing this further there are two schools I recommend. Matador U is a fantastic new outfit that takes advantage of new media to get you writing online as quickly as possible. The other, older more established course is AWAI, which is more traditional. Have a look at the two.

If writing for a living isn't what you had in mind (and I know several Italian bloggers who write in English) then it's more a question of figuring out what your skills are and trying to get work along the way. As a European this means you'll have no problems with working papers throughout the EU and that's already a huge plus. In other countries, given your age, you actually qualify for a number of national holiday visa plans that would allow you to work in the country for several months.

I've done plenty of short jobs as I've traveled, like teaching (just short term), working as a translator in an office, and once even selling bathroom seats! But that was before journalism.. :-)

The final way to earn money while you travel is to have a location independent job, one that allows you to do your work from anywhere - for example web design, translation, editing, research - any job that doesn't require you to be in one place. Just search things like "location independent" and "nomadic life"

As for couchsurfing, yes, I've tried it and so have friends of mine. Like anything unknown, approach with caution. I would only couchsurf after I'd been in touch with potential hosts via at least email and even better, Skype. You can choose who to stay with - as a young woman I would stay with families, or with other women, but certainly not with a man or men. I would also make sure someone at home knew exactly how to reach me and the address and number of the place I was staying. Mostly it's fine, I don't have friends who have had unpleasant experiences but I do know they occasionally happen so it's best to beware and be cautious. For more information on couchsurfing see my page.

Hope this is helpful and I wish you wonderful travels!

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How can I find a US sponsor for my trip?

by Sandy
(Seattle, WA USA)

I am going to Lagos, where I have good friends I have known for a very long time. I will be leaving in January or February of 2012. I am looking for a magazine or business or church or someone who could possibly sponsor my trip & pay for my flight & expenses. In return I would write about, LifeStyle, Foods, Money, Take Photos, whatever a sponsor desires that is legal.

Can you give me some resources that I could contact? I would really appreciate your help.

Answer: I don't know much about sponsorship so I'll put that right up front. However, the chances of finding a sponsor to pay for your trip when you're not well-known or incredibly talented (you may be - I don't know!) are very slim. Even seasoned writers have to fight hard for assignments abroad and they often have to pay their own way while earning a pittance from stories once they're published.

That said, Lagos (if you mean Lagos, Nigeria) is an offbeat destination so you'll be freelancing from a place with relatively less competition than, say, London or Paris.

First of all, writing for money is a serious business and no one will be interested in what you have to sell simply because you're going there. You have to prove you can actually write and that's best done by submitting query letters to your chosen publications. These tips on travel writing jobs might help. If you don't have any experience in this arena - and nothing you say indicates you do - then you'll have to start from scratch. The good news is that because of your location, you have a good chance of getting interest from editors.

One idea might be to look into faith-based volunteering - if you're willing to volunteer some groups may help with airfare or lodging. Many charities and NGOs have projects in Nigeria and may be interested in write-ups for their internal magazines or websites. They're worth a try but they won't pay much, and certainly won't pay for your travel.

Now - here's an off the wall idea. Nigeria has a healthy film industry, almost rivaling Bollywood. Might there be a role or two to be picked up by a foreigner? Perhaps that might be worth exploring.

If you haven't looked there yet, read through the various sections in the online magazine Transitions Abroad - they have great resources on working abroad and you might come up with an idea or two.

Sorry I can't be of much help - but few people, in the US or elsewhere, will pay expenses in exchange for writing unless you are already a world-class scribe. And if I'm wrong, I'd love to hear about it!

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Finding a job overseas - working with children and photography

by Magda Olszewski
(Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

Hello!! My name is Magda and I want to work abroad! It has been my dream forever and I moved across Canada to Calgary as a first step. Now I want more! So I am starting my research and loving your site so far.

Here is my question for you: I love the idea of a live-in babysitter. I currently work with lots of kids at a photo studio where I assistant manage. I love children. I also like the idea of the au pair. Now, I'm wondering, are there any positions that combine this with photography? I love following people around and capturing their natural moments. Do you know of a position that combines the two? Or of other unique photography experiences or jobs?

Answer: What an interesting job combination! I can see all sorts of possibilities, but none of them easy.

First, the job market is getting tighter every day so finding jobs overseas is becoming increasingly difficult. You don't mention it but do you have another nationality that would provide you with a work permit? Lets assume for the sake of argument that you don't. That would already seriously limit your employment possibilities to casual jobs. Au pair positions are a good alternative - you don't need a work permit beyond the one that comes with the job. One option might be to find an au pair posting in a city with good photography courses so you can study while you work. If you're already good enough, you might be able to apprentice with a local photographer during your day off.

Finding an actual job in photography is difficult even for the most seasoned professionals. It's unfortunately a popular profession and to make it requires a high amount of ingenuity. One person I know made a decent living snapping tourists in Zermatt and selling their pictures to them. But that was before the advent of cellphone photography and instant recording, which makes traditional photos that much harder to sell.

Another option might be finding employment on cruise ships - they do hire photographers, and also hire people who care for children. Cruise companies tend to be relatively flexible employers so you might have a chance - and for many companies your citizenship won't be an issue.

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Aug 03, 2011
Thanks for the quick response!
by: Magda

I have heard of these cruise ship jobs but I am trying to find something different from that (there are certain aspects of it that I know don't suit my personality too well).

I do have a Polish passport... so would this mean that I can find work there more easily? Perhaps it could be a good next jumping off point...

I don't think I need too much more schooling in photography (although I am well aware that I can learn knew things all the time!). I have a dimploma in photography, lots of experience in various types of assisting, and this current photo studio job has helped me spruce up my studio lighting.

I also do have an arts degree in Media Studies, may that help somehow?

Would be interested to see what you say next, thanks!

Aug 05, 2011
Wishing you the best!
by: Leyla

Hi Magda, I'm afraid I can't really give more advice than I have above as I'm not a counselor but in your search for photography work, a good place to start might be by posting on some European photography forums so you can meet a few people in your chosen line of work and maybe get some guidance from photographers. I just Googled 'photography forum Europe' and quite a few things of interest came up that might be worth exploring. And if you have a photography specialty, like children, try 'children photography forum'. Using forums is the first thing I try when I need to get a grip on something professional in my field.

Also it's great news to have an EU passport if you want to travel because it widens your possibilities to cover all of Europe, since the work permit is no longer an issue. The world really is your oyster and I wish you all the best!

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Do you know of paid employment while helping out in Haiti?

by Ann Bentley
(Imperial, CA)

I have plans to go to the Dominican Republic the middle of July, with a goal of crossing the border and doing whatever I can to help those in Haiti. I have pretty much worked all over the world when I was a turbine engineer for GE, so I am very familiar with working & living in remote areas of 3rd world countries. However, I had the backing & the salary from GE. I am not afraid to travel on my own, but does anyone have any information on how I can earn $$ while I am in Haiti/Dominican Republic? I can live on very little & I will have some $$ with me, but not enough to survive for very long without a job. I can offer my services as a hands-on mechanical engineer, but I don't know how this would pan out. Can you teach English or math without one of those TEFLA certificates or whatever they are called? That outfit was putting a real hard sell on me a few months back, so I am suspicious of spending $$ to get into their certificate program.

And, can anyone provide any advice as to your favorite backpacks & hiking boots?

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Is there a career out there for a vagabond?

by Allison Hockey

Hello There! I've been reading this website now for quite some time, and find that I want to be you very much! I am a student in college and all I want to do is move. I mean really, all the time. I can't see myself working in an office, or on some warehouse floor, or in a classroom, or any other place that has walls. I absolutely have to find a career that will allow me to express myself (as that is the only thing that will make me happy :) and I have to be able to pick up and see different places. I have been doing tons of research to find out what kind of major I should choose that would best suit me and what I want to do with the rest of my life. To me, the implications to "the rest of your life" are colossal and I take them very seriously. I have to write and I have to see what's on the world. The only way I can see myself doing that is by finding a career that will let me do both. I am twenty six. I have a criminal record, (though not for anything too terrible), I am pleasant enough looking, and I think I am a swell writer. Is there any advice you can give me to meet the ends I desire?

Answer: You definitely have the makings of a Class A vagabond, Allison! I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I did - I studied Political Science to understand the world, English to write about it, and Development Studies to do something about it.

You sound like a wonderful candidate for a job in journalism - maybe not traditional reporting, which involves a lot of desk-sitting and which anyway is on the wane, but something lively and active - perhaps about travel or international affairs or development... all these areas still need people to share what they see (all right, maybe not travel, but certainly the other two).

Why not direct yourself towards a career in journalism? Work on your school paper, take every opportunity you can to write, become your college campus correspondent for your local newspaper, learn to blog, guest post, do video, podcast... new media is where it's at, in my opinion, and I'm now learning all those things myself.

To me that's the perfect job - write about the world as you see it. I can't give you personalized advice because I'm not a career counsellor but I can say that however crowded this field, there is still room in it for people who care about the world around them and want to share that with other people.

Start by taking my free e-course, the Travel Writing Magician. I've distilled most of what I know about writing and journalist into a few basics. Follow the course for its seven parts and see how it sits. If you like it, then a career in journalism might be for you. Even if it's about travel writing, it's still applicable to all other sorts of writing. And come back and let me know!

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Aug 01, 2011
Thanks so Much!
by: Allison the vagabond

That's terrific advice! and I so very much appreciate your professional feedback. I've really been just wracking my brain for an idea. I've always thought journalism was right up my alley. I'd definitely love to see how the world works from the inside of the news media instead of being on the receiving end. And I will most definitely be checking out your free class :) Thanks Again! ~ Allie

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Working on the road

by Gina

I'm planning to travel solo in the future, and hoping to pick up odd jobs along the way. However most information leads me to believe that working visas are not an option if over 30, let alone 40. Any advice?

My answer: Gina, you don't say whether you are over 30 or over 40 and that makes a difference. Most working visas are for people 18-30 but some countries will allow you to come in under a youth scheme until the age of 35.

The short answer is no, it's not easy to get a working visa if you're over 40. That said, it's not impossible. Much depends on the kind of skills you have. If you are a qualified professional in a field that is in demand, you may be able to find work and hence a visa. Unfortunately the financial crisis now makes it much more difficult than it was a few years ago.

The one option I can think of which would at least provide you with some income and a short-term visa would be teaching English abroad. The days of just being able to waltz into a job simply because you're a native English speaker are over. But if you have English teaching qualifications, there are jobs out there that both pay you and allow you to travel. Here's a nice account of what it's like to teach English overseas.

If this isn't your area or your specialty, there are still overseas jobs you can find, but not many.

As a New Zealander you have a few more options than citizens of many other countries, including the grandparent clause - you can get a UK visa if one of your grandparents was British, or the marriage/living together clause, which allows you to live and work in the UK if your partner is British.

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What is a good site to for a "travel and work" package?

by Talia
(Whitecourt, Alberta)

Hi, I'm Talia and am an 18-yr-old Canadian traveling to Australia. I want to work there to but don't know if I should sign up with a website to help me? Or to wing it when I go?

Answer: That depends on how much preparation you need before you get there, and how resourceful and skilled you are. Take a look at Work and Travel in Australia. It will give you the basics as well as several links that I found useful. All the best in your job search and travels to Australia!

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Sep 13, 2010
Look around: Australian jobs for Canadians

Hi Talia

I think you'd be well advised to do some checking around before you head for Australia. I believe that there is a deal between Canada and Australia where you can get an 'under 30 Visa' that I think gets you certain advantages. An Australian gov't site might be useful. DO NOT, under any circumstances, try to work there without an appropriate visa or if your visa has expired. While a very friendly country, they are strict and harsh with people who break the rules. (My story is that it is their penal colony roots showing! ☺)

I've known a number of Canadians who have gone to Australia and done the travel/work thing and had a blast. I see you are from Whitecourt which means that you are likely more familiar with farms/farming and rural lifestyles. If you are and that appeals to you, you might want to check out WOOFF which is a world-wide organization where you can work on organic farms in exchange for free housing and some local culture. I've met a number of folks here in the Ottawa Valley who regularly have folks over from Europe on WOOFF programs. I know they are active in Australia.

I also know because my step-daughter is a teacher that there is a young teacher exchange program. She had an Oz teacher at her school and was considering going over.

Not sure what you mean by 'signing up for a web-site'? I gather these are folks who promise to help you in a job finding process. If they charge any kind of fee, stay away from them. If the offer seems too good, it is. I suspect that if you have enough gumption to head off to OZ on your own, then you have all that it takes to find what you are looking for by yourself.

I wish you all the very best. Have a blast and just remember to always keep that good old Albertan common sense at work. Oh, and very high quality sunscreen is absolutely necessary. It can be brutal there, especially near sand and water.

Sep 14, 2010
Harvest labour for work in Australia
by: Anonymous

Hi! There is a government organisation about national harvest labour - they will let you know what is happening all over Australia. You can find them at

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Living in France

by Stephanie
(Austin, Texas)

Paris - lounging is a favorite pastime

Paris - lounging is a favorite pastime

Paris - lounging is a favorite pastime Getting a job in an Alpine resort

I am a dual citizen having a French-American father and always wanted to go to France to understand more about my culture. Considering how high the unemployment rate is in France or just about everywhere really, isn't a bit of a risk to just move there without a job lined up? Unfortunately, I don't speak French so that is the biggest concern of mine moving there. What advice do you have for someone in my position?

Answer: The bad news first. Unfortunately you have several strikes against you. First is your lack of French. This is almost unsurmountable unless you look for a casual job in a tourist resort (ski resort jobs for example or waitressing by the beach) or a job in which your lack of French won't matter. Then there is the job situation generally which is quite difficult.

That said, the fact that you're French - I'm assuming you have French citizenship - means that despite your lack of French, you will legally be allowed to work the moment you find a job. One option might be teaching English in France. Of course there are plenty of qualified teachers from Britain and Ireland who are vying for the same jobs, but you'd be surprised at the number of schools and business who actually want to learn 'American' English. As such you might be able to find something.

That said I do know people who have come to France and found a job easily, without speaking the language and without having the right working papers. Some of them are still in the country. I wouldn't recommend anything illegal as it's becoming harder to cheat the authorities as computerization and pan-European information exchanges become commonplace. Still, it's not an impossibility. I wouldn't just go - I'd do plenty of research first. But if you don't have a job and you have enough money to see you by for a couple of months, you might want to take a chance.

One thing to remember - jobs in the tourism industry get filled early, months ahead of time, so don't wait till the last minute before you start to apply.

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Long-term travel in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam

by Priscilla Coletta
(San Diego, California)

I plan to fly into Thailand, but not necessarily to stay there.
I've heard it's overdone, a bit, and would like to stay long term, hence the need for budget living. I would be very happy to teach english, etc,, thanks for any help.

Answer: I don't necessarily agree Thailand has been 'overdone' - too many travelers to too few places changes that place's nature so if you want to soak up the real Thailand, try to stay away from the regular backpack haunts. It's a lovely country with extremely nice people and large enough to keep you off the beaten path. If you want to teach English you can live in a dozen cities where tourists don't go and get to sample true Thai living. For a brutally honest assessment of teaching English in Bangkok, try Stickman's Guide - it's pretty thorough, at least for the capital. Another great resource is Transitions Abroad, with plenty of articles on the same topic from a respectable source. Finally, I'd join some of the Expat Forums online for Thailand and ask around - a lot of jobs happen word of mouth.

As far as finding work in Cambodia and Laos, I'd head for the best travel forums and ask around. People are constantly posting their experiences and you should be able to get good tips there.

Several general English teaching sites offer specializes information by country, including ESL Base, Dave's ESL Cafe, or Go Abroad. This should at least get you started!

The good news is that you're choosing a part of the world that is by definition inexpensive, and where English-language skills are at a premium so if your grammar is good and you have a few qualifications, you should be able to stretch your stay in Southeast Asia for (almost) as long as you want.

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Traveling to Cuba

by Aditi Rao
(Saint Paul, MN, USA/ Bombay, India)

Old-fashioned cars are still everywhere in Havana

Old-fashioned cars are still everywhere in Havana

Hi, so I'm a college student, Indian national, currently studying in the US. I'm thinking of taking a leave of absence and traveling to Cuba in order to just work and live and hang out in Havana.

I'm not sure exactly how to go about this because I don't want to be part of a program but I'm not completely sure what I want to do either, so I'm in a little bit of flummox.

Is it possible for me to just search online for organizations (that aren't sketch) that would accept volunteers/interns? Does that culture exist in Cuba and is it safe for me as a young female traveler to just go rent an apartment and live alone? Apart from the loneliness, is there something else that I must be aware of?

Answer: I'm afraid that you can't just "work and live and hang out in Havana". You can visit Cuba as a tourist for a set length of time (usually about 30 days) according to visa regulations that would, as far as I know, exclude taking up work there. Remember that employment in Cuba equals STATE employment. So getting work in Cuba as a foreigner, just like that, is virtually impossible.

Also a foreigner can't just "rent an apartment" - as a tourist, there are bed and breakfast types of arrangements in private homes. There is no formal apartment rental system in Cuba. You might find a place to rent as a tourist for a couple of weeks, but only privately through word of mouth, as rentals aren't advertised and there's no private rental contract system, except for those foreigners who are, for example, diplomats and working in foreign companies, who need to rent accommodation. That then takes place via the state-owned agency, Cubalse.

You might be able to volunteer as an intern in an international NGO or organization but would likely have to organize that prior to entering Cuba. You can indeed surf the web for this but I would suggest you comb the best travel forums on the web and post your questions there. Many other students are traveling to Cuba and they may have just returned and have important information to share.

On the issue of safety, it would definitely be safe for a young female traveler to be in Cuba alone.

A word of warning thought. Even though you aren't a US citizen, you could be letting yourself in for some trouble given the US's legislation against travel to Cuba. You should find out about any potential repercussions on your status in the USA before going to Cuba. One way to get around this might be to enroll for a month in a Spanish course in Havana at a language school. You would get to spend some time in Cuba, and do so without jeopardizing your student status in the United States.

While I don't advocate doing anything illegal, I should point out that many Americans do travel to Cuba, however illegally, by flying in through a third country like Canada, Mexico or Panama. You'd also have to ask immigration not to stamp your passport if you're concerned about the reaction of US authorities when you return. The good news is that you can usually manage to avoid getting your passport stamped, but that's not always the case.

Here's hoping the US eventually discards its ridiculous laws surrounding Cuba and allows free and open travel to what in my mind is a truly wonderful country. Enjoy!

Photo by kelp1966 via Flickr CC

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Is it possible for me to arrange a job before I actually reach my destination?

I am planning to travel to the UK, work for seven months then backpack around Europe for two months. I am currently 17, but will be eighteen when I leave for the UK. I was wondering how I could arrange a job, before arriving to the UK. Is this even possible? If so, how could I do this? Will I need to go through an agency to secure employment? I would prefer not to since it is quite a bit of money, I understand, for their services and I am on a rather tight budget. Any advice would be much appreciated, thank you.


You say leave 'for' the UK so I'll assume you're not a European citizen, which may make it more difficult to work because of visa issues, unless you're Australian or from New Zealand...

A seven-month stint is long enough to organize a job ahead of time. A traditional employment agency probably won't be able to help you much, as you're not experienced and probably don't have any specialized skills. However, there are plenty of sites that allow you to post your CV or profile and contact recruiters. You don't have to pay - the people who hire do.

Before looking for a job, make sure you have a visa and that you are actually allowed to work in the UK. If you have any doubt, the British consulate or high commission nearest to you should be able to provide quick information on whether you can legally work in the UK.

Some suitable work might be involve working as an au pair (just search for 'au pair jobs'), in a bar or restaurant or some kind of hospitality work, working with children or helping in day care, tutoring... If your papers are in order, all you have to do is Search for 'UK jobs' and you'll be on your way.

Some UK-based sites that provide job leads for students and young people include, Just Jobs For Students, and Gap Year Jobs.

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What is the best way to go about becoming a travel writer/photographer?

by Annabelle Klachefsky
(Eugene, Oregon, USA)

Hello! I am a young woman in search of thrills in life, and combining my two passions, travel and culture, to create my future. I am wondering, since travel writing fits my dream job, what the best and most efficient way to go about starting that as a potential career, and getting a resume built? I only have one small published work in my city newspaper, so I'm fresh off the wagon and eager to learn more. I am planning to travel to Thailand next Sept-Nov. and would like ideas on how to get started with this career possibility!

Answer: There are so many ways to become a travel writer! For me, the road involved learning how to write and working with good editors. It also involved a lot of rejections along the way, and eventually, a good and fun living!

Before taking any classes, I strongly recommend that you take my free travel writing course. It lasts one week and you can work at your own pace. Basically it walks you through the various steps involved in becoming a travel writer - and you can then explore and deepen your knowledge if you want to.

Be aware that there's a lot of competition out there so you need to be armed with the best possible skills if you want to make a living from writing! With enough drive and hard work, you CAN make it, and there are few more rewarding careers than traveling, loving every minute, and sharing that delight with thousands of readers.

Comments for What is the best way to go about becoming a travel writer/photographer?

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Nov 10, 2010
Become IT-savvy... create your own blog!

In today's world, I don't think there's a better way to start building your credentials as a travel writer than creating your own blog. It's easy, free and gives you a public platform for self expression.

Now, when I say it's 'easy', what I mean is that blogging platforms like Wordpress and Blogger have wonderful templates or themes that are technically easy to master and that look great. What isn't so easy is to actually confront that dratted template on an on-going basis, to drag up from inside the enthusiasm and creativity to blog on a regular basis, to keep finding the words that paint the pictures you want for people, to be ignored by the world as you write and post your brilliance, and to confront your demons as you write for a potentially public audience. And we all have our demons: I'm boring, my grammar isn't good enough, I can't spell, no one is interested in this stuff, I can't be that outrageous - take your pick. They'll likely all surface.

But that's the beauty of a blog. It helps you hone your skills and face your self limiting beliefs while you do all the other things necessary to find paying gigs for your travel writing.

I also am a big Twitter fan and have developed a huge community amongst writers and travelers there. I think it's a great forum in which to get known by some movers & shakers, to stay connected with what the industry is up to, and to potentially get some guest blogging posts (yet another way to build your portfolio).

Good luck as you pursue your passion.

Gwen McCauley

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Which travel writing course should I take first?

by Janice Gabriel

I am an "empty nester" and am interested in traveling/writing. I see that you have recommended the Ultimate Travel Writing program, as well as the Matador. I understand you have taken both of them, but am wondering which one you would recommend taking first.

It appears that the UTW program is just $249 for the whole course, whereas the Matador program is $250 per course. I also see that you offer a 7-day free program to get my feet wet (which I have just signed up for.)

I don't want to bite off more than I can chew and take several courses concurrently, so any advice would be helpful.

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Jul 14, 2011
Different styles, different travel writing courses
by: Leyla

You've done the right thing by signing up for my free travel writing course - it will compare both courses in depth and help you decide. It will also teach you a lot of what you need to know to become a travel writer!

One adjustment - the Matador U course is $350 (I'd better run and change that!) but you pay $10 to get the first of 12 courses and if you don't like it, that's it, you can cancel, so you get to 'test drive' the course.

I can't advise you on which is better - they're both excellent. Do my course first, then come back here and ask once you have a good handle on what you need to learn!

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