Today I landed back in America and it felt so great! I'm so lucky to have gone to six countries in two months and experience a completely different life! So many people asked me "how did you get to do this?" Or "how are you able to travel?" So I figured I would explain how I ended up in Europe all summer and how you can too!
In April, I was offered this Au Pair job that sort of fell in my lap. I didn't even know what an Au Pair was!
In Europe it's common for families to get English speaking Au Pairs (babysitters) to stay with them either for a summer or for a year. They like for their kids to practice their English with them and give the Au Pair an opportunity to experience their country in return (as well as a pay check).
With my family, I got to stay with them, they cooked every meal for me, I got paid every week, and I got to go on vacation in Croatia with them.
Aupairworld.com is the most common and safest site to get matched with a family! You can select your destination you would like to Au Pair in, and then families start reaching out to you (always make sure to do a Skype interview). All of my friends used this and loved it and their families they were matched with.
Au pairing is definitely (in my opinion) your best option to travel and get paid while doing so. I only watched the kids 8-12 Monday through Friday and was allowed to travel freely on the weekends!
Another option to travel is study abroad. I personally haven't done it but many of my friends have and loved it! It is more expensive than being an Au Pair and you won't get paid unfortunately. Make sure it's a class that will transfer to your major and that the course load won't be too much! My college has a wonderful office dedicated to studying abroad and helping students do so. Check out your schools website and see what they offer!
Another option that I've seen people do is volunteer abroad. There are so many programs (honestly it's a tad overwhelming) in all sorts of places! Make sure any program you consider is legitimate (safety first, no matter how much you want to travel). My personal favorite organization is Liter of Light based in the Philippines. They provide solar lights to poor villages with no power so that children can see to go to school. Note that these volunteer opportunities won't always be in an ideal city for a tourist but if you want to live like a local, volunteering might be for you!
There are so many opportunities for young adults to travel and it's the best thing you can do for yourself!
Skip that Starbucks coffee everyday, don't buy those expensive shoes, don't splurge on clothes and eventually you'll have enough saved to see the world.
I promise, it's so worth it!