This is an article published by The Guardian featuring a variety of dream gap year jobs abroad. We found it incredibly inspiring and decided to share it with you – its particularly useful for those of you thinking about living and working abroad for a while! For more great ideas to help you plan your year abroad, read “30 Inspiring Gap Year Travel Ideas”.
1. Steward on a yacht in the Caribbean
Pour martinis and serve canapes while sailing around the Caribbean on a 100ft luxury yacht.
Earn: Up to $3,000 per month on a three-month contract.
How to do it: Log on to the website crewseekers.net, which lists up-to-date yacht work opportunities worldwide, from stewarding to crewing – many of which don’t require previous yachting experience. These are in destinations including the Med, Caribbean and Malaysia, ranging from one month to longer-term contracts.
2. Adventure tour leader in India
In this job you get to experience some of the world’s most exciting group holidays, albeit from the other side. But it’s not all glamour: looking after clients’ health problems and arranging accommodation and meals are part of the job.
Earn: Around £160 a week for a junior leader, plus food, accommodation and flights.
How to do it: The two big boys in adventure travel are Explore and Exodus. Explore looks for “active, resourceful and well-travelled candidates”, who are willing to work overseas for periods of up to six months. Among the most likely places a tour leader will be posted are Greece, Cuba, Morocco, India and Egypt. Apply online at explore.co.uk.
For Exodus, applicants must be at least 25 years of age, have first-aid knowledge and speak a second language. All flights, food and accommodation are provided by the company. Careers are advertised on the website – see exodus.co.uk.
3. English teacher in Thailand
If you’re a native English speaker, then you have a commodity that is in huge demand. You can work in almost any destination, and earn decent money.
Earn: Four-month contract in Thailand 30,000 THB (£530) per month, plus accommodation.
How to do it: Many schools insist on a formal qualification, and if you’re certified it’s easier to nab a job. Thanks to a 50-hour online course set up by TEFL England (0871 221 8335; teflengland.co.uk) you only need a computer and £150 to become a fully trained TEFL teacher. There are always jobs listed on jobsabroadbulletin.co.uk, seasonworkers.com and teachabroad.com, in destinations from Brazil to China.
4. Ski instructor in the Alps
With perks including a free season lift pass and getting paid to ski nine-to-five, being a ski instructor has to be the ultimate ski-season job – but it takes time, money and hard work to get it. If you manage to land a job in a luxury chalet with super-rich clients – such as in Richard Branson’s lodge in Verbier – you can expect up to €200 an hour in tips.
Earn: £500 a month, plus food, accommodation and lift pass.
How to do it: First you need to get your instructor qualifications. Skiers competent on red runs should check out Altitude Futures (00 41 27 771 6006; altitude-futures.co.uk), which offers a 10-week programme in Verbier, through which you can achieve your level 1 and 2 British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) licences. It’s not cheap (from £7,000), but once qualified you can work in most countries.
Log on to the BASI website (basi.org.uk) for ski schools affiliated with BASI, then approach them directly to see if they are hiring. If you fancy training further afield, Peak Leaders (01337 860 079; peakleaders.com) offers NZSIA courses (the New Zealand BASI equivalent, accepted worldwide) in New Zealand. For more information on ski teaching abroad and job opportunities visit natives.co.uk.
5. Work on a game reserve in South Africa
Tourism ventures in exotic locations, such as African game reserves, often need an extra pair of hands for basic duties, in exchange for food and board.
Earn: You don’t get paid cash, but you can stay in an amazing location for free with friendly hosts.
How to do it: Register with workaway.info for €18 and you will be able to access information on registered hosts across the globe. Jobs vary from assisting with the running of a big-five game reserve in South Africa to setting up an organic farm in the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Or subscribe to World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), which facilitates the placement of volunteers on farms from Argentina to Australia and Canada to Costa Rica. Register for €20 via the central website (wwoof.org) and you get access to lists of organic farms and smallholdings that welcome volunteer help.
6. Travel writer
We’re not saying it’s easy to break into travel writing, but any chance to make a crust from reporting on new destinations, accommodation gems and the unforgettable things you’ve experienced is worth a go.
Earn: From pennies to hundreds of pounds.
How to do it: Thanks to a new website, anyone can be a travel writer – and get paid for it. Simonseeks.com is an online community of travellers who share information about their favourite destinations by writing travel guides, covering everything from romance to long-haul adventures. The key innovation is that the site pays contributors by sharing the advertising revenue generated by their guides (which must meet the site’s “quality standards”). Writers can earn between 5p-20p per view. The current most-read writer, Trevor Claringbold, has had 3,450 views, so the rewards aren’t bad if you can pen a winner.
7. Windsurfing instructor in the Mediterranean
Nothing beats having the sea as your office, and as a windsurfing instructor your skills will be in demand, particularly during the Med summer season.
Earn: A 12-month placement in Greece could pay you £4,500 per year, plus food, accommodation and travel.
How to do it: Get qualified: Flying Fish (0871 250 2500; flyingfishonline.com) offers a fast-track course for intermediate windsurfers, based at Club Vass in Lefkas, Greece, for £2,310 including accommodation, tuition, exam fees and equipment. After four weeks of training you walk away with your RYA windsurfing instructor qualification. Flying Fish has an online recruitment service, and you can log on to adventurejobs.co.uk for job listings. It’s also worth contacting travel companies who recruit for their Med resorts: see markwarner-recruitment.co.uk and neilson.co.uk/jobs.
8. Extra in a Bollywood movie
Foreigners are always in demand to be extras in Bollywood movies – you just need to be in the right place at the right time to get spotted.
Earn: Around £6.35 a day.
How to do it: The easiest way to make it happen is to hang around Colaba Causeway in Mumbai, particularly around Leopold’s Cafe; if you are white and of a good height, there’s a good chance you’ll be approached to be an extra. Expect long hours and lots of waiting around – but it’ll all be worth it when you tell your friends you starred in a Bollywood movie.
9. Overland tour driver in Asia
From the Silk Routes of Central Asia to the Sahara desert, see the world from behind the wheel of a truck, as an overland tour driver. The job involves driving long distances, arranging excursions and looking after passengers.
Earn: £100 a week, plus allowances, food, accommodation and visas.
How to do it: UK operators offering overland tours include Dragoman (dragoman.com/workforus). If you get through the round of interviews, you will take part in a two-month UK-based training programme, after which you could work all over Africa, Asia, Central and South America, where you earn a wage and receive a daily living allowance plus bonuses. Applicants must be at least 25 years of age, be willing to work anywhere in the world for a minimum of 15 months, and hold an LGV/PCV (large goods vehicle/passenger carrying vehicle) driving licence (approx £700).
Oasis Overland is another operator offering trips throughout Africa, the Middle East and South America. Applicants must be at least 22 years of age, have “mechanical knowledge” and previous travel experience, and be willing to work anywhere in the world for a minimum of 18 months. For details see oasisoverland.co.uk/work-for-us.
10. Bartender or campaigner at Glastonbury
Work for a good cause such as Oxfam or the Workers Beer Company and you can get entry to leading UK music festivals – free. You also get to camp in the workers’ fields – more space and better toilets.
Earn: Some meals, and £6.50 per hour to charity.
How to do it: Apply to be an Oxfam campaigner (oxfam.org.uk) and you’ll get into Glastonbury free, plus you’ll get separate camping accommodation and a few meals in exchange for a six-hour campaigning shift per day. If bartending is more up your street, the Workers Beer Company (workersbeer.co.uk) – which runs beer tents at many leading UK music festivals – always needs volunteers. Your payment of £6.50 per hour goes to your campaigning organisation so you must already be a volunteer. You also get free festival entry and a couple of drinks when your shift is over.
11. White-water rafting guide in New Zealand
Being a guide for a white-water rafting company has to be one of the most exhilarating gap-year jobs there is.
Earn: £266-£410 per week.
How to do it: Kaitiaki Adventures (006473572236; kaitiaki.co.nz), a white-water rafting company based on the Kaituna River in Rotorua, selects candidates, gives them a five-week training course and then offers them a job. Applicants must be over 18 years of age and have an outgoing personality. Prospective trainees will need to have a permit to work in New Zealand; the Working Holiday Scheme allows you to travel and work in New Zealand for up to 23 months – see newzealandnow.govt.nz for details.
12. And if you’re lucky enough to swing a £70,000 job …
Ben Southall, 34, beat 34,000 applicants to become “island caretaker” of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, a six-month contract promoting tourism in Queensland.
I’ve been in the job for one month and time has flown quicker than at any other point in my life. Back at the start of May when the final announcement was made my life changed dramatically; overnight my face was in 100 newspapers. Had I really got this amazing job by simply putting together an amateur one-minute video and then by “just being me” during the interviews?
Descriptions of what was involved in “the best job in the world” were rather vague. The job spec sounded tongue-in-cheek: with a base on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, I would deliver the mail, clean the pool, feed the fish and write a weekly blog. However I soon learnt that this was a real job, with responsibilities and opportunities far beyond the expectations of the general public, who assumed I’d spend six months working on my tan from the comfort of a hammock.
With global tourism figures falling due to the worldwide economic downturn, a serious campaign was needed to combat the slide. The “best job in the world” campaign grabbed global headlines and it was clear my job was ultimately to sell Queensland as a holiday destination. Enter the more appropriate title: worldwide tourism ambassador for Queensland. It’s a multi-faceted position to say the least, from blog-writing, video-editing and photography to more PR-related duties, including meeting politicians, giving speeches at social engagements, interacting with tourism representatives and meeting travellers from around the world.
The focus of the last month, however, has been on learning about the reef’s unique eco-systems, understanding the inner workings of a luxury island resort and getting my Introduction to Yachting qualification. My first job as island caretaker was with marine biologists at a research base on Lizard Island, the most northerly island on the Great Barrier Reef, which can only be reached by a tiny plane. I took a tour with the biologists and learnt about a new discovery relating to the mantis shrimp, one of the deadliest creatures in the ocean, which can’t be kept in glass aquariums as they can smash their way out. During our dive we saw huge potato cod, giant clams, barracuda, lionfish and reef sharks – it was amazing.
My next stop was Hayman Island, back in the Whitsunday Islands. Here my job was to spend time behind the scenes at a luxury resort. I worked as a beach watersports attendant, then with the landscaping team who do an amazing job of keeping the resort looking beautiful. The team had been looking after a green tree snake and a cat shark found near the hotel, and it was my job to help release them back into the wild – it was like a series of Pet Rescue and I was thrilled to be part of it.
Next I headed to the mainland at Airlie Beach for a three-day sailing course with Explore Whitsundays aboard the Jutson 43 – a previous class winner of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The aim of the trip was to gain my Introduction to Yachting qualification so I could compete in the Hamilton Island Race Week at the end of August. After the three days I’d sailed a total distance of 80 nautical miles and gained my qualification. Woo hoo!
So far my new island caretaker job is suiting me down to the ground. I have met so many people and am learning so many new things, and living and working in paradise. I would definitely encourage anyone looking to work and live abroad to come to Queensland as the locals are so friendly and there is such a wealth of experiences and jobs available. In the next few months I am heading to the stunning resorts of Heron and Wilson islands and spending time in Townsville and on Magnetic Island. To keep updated on everything I am doing, check out my blog on islandreefjob.com.