When I was at my second year of uni I decided to go and spend my summer working abroad. I'm a bit of a stubborn head when it comes to sorting things in my life - I really don't like when people do things for me - be it a weekly food shop or organising my career. This means I didn't apply for those summer jobs that you get offered at uni career centre. Instead I took a map of Europe (I'm not THAT adventurous to go & work on Bali), closed my eyes and placed my finger on it. BAM - Greek Islands! Next I googled as many hotels on Greek Islands as possible and sent them my CV and cover letter via e-mail. As I was quite a lucky git back then, I got a reply. From a little hotel in Rhodes. So I packed my suitcase, got on a plane and landed (literally) a job as a receptionist for summer 2009. The best summer of my life, no word of lie.
And why the eff you need to do the same?
⇢ foreign: The word foreign won't be foreign anymore and what was foreign will be your home. It's one of the strangest but also most satisfying feelings I've known. At first you feel like you're a on a super long holidays but then you get to know everything & everyone local and the whole touristy feel wears off real quick. And you don't need to speak the language either - in tourist destination such as Rhodes which is really attractive for the British, everyone (and their cat) speaks English!
⇢ friends & fun: You will make some life-long friendships. Especially with those who are thrown into the waters of the unknown with you. I happened to work with some Czech & Slovakian people (what a crazy coincidence right?) and even though we'd probably not come together if back home in our comfort bubbles, we made a brilliant team in Rhodes and I know that even though now we live countries apart, I can still pick up the phone and ring them up anytime. You will also have the time of your life - whatever job you land, it won't be at work 24/7. I got tan that lasted for a good year, I went to the sea every single day, we went on a Scooter road trip and we danced at a beach party. We also went to a butterfly valley and swam through caves.
⇢ fear: Unless you're a Fearless Fran, you will be very scared. Very very scared and homesick. In my case I relied solely on my at-the-time-to-me-unknown employer (he booked my flights and provided accommodation, I had about £0 in my account), which I wouldn't recommend for obvious reasons - but even if you book your own flights (which I would strongly recommend to gain at least some sort of control over the situation - pick some reliable airline, e.g. Condor Airlines fly to Rhodes, and make it an open return!) or get your own accommodation, I promise you that there will be times when you're gonna questions everything about that trip. But I can also reassure you that you will overcome that fear (because it's pants being a scaredy cat all the time) and you will be dead proud of yourself. You might even overcome your fear of cockroaches. Might.
⇢ finance: Unless you're going there with some serious funds, you will become rather aware of what you're spending your money on (which in my case was sightseeing & ice cream). And if you're very careful and don't go out every other night you might even save some pennies (I had free accommodation & food so that was quite a win!).
⇢ felines: There are cats everywhere in Greece. Full stop. Hashtag heaven.⇢ fit/fat: Depending on your self-control and whether you're getting free food from your employer or not, you will either get mega fit or mega fat. You can go jogging before AND after work, you can go for a swim every day. You can embrace the sea side cuisine and have fish & fresh fruit and veg every day. I didn't. I got fat. But it was still worth it! (although I had to spend all my summer job money on gym once I got back, booo!)
⇢ forever: Working abroad will change you forever. You will be much more aware of the world around you, of the different people and cultures, of living on your own in a place that's not your own in any way. You will also understand that when you want something, you can do it and not be held back by irrational fear (by the way - all fear is irrational, did you know?).
Have you had a summer job abroad?
Would you do it again?
Share your experience with me & other in the comments below!
// NOW SCROLL DOWN FOR SOME 2009-SUPER-TANNED-ME PHOTOS! //