How do I fund spending a year in Europe?
December 30, 2003 2:05 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to spend a year in Europe. How can I fund it? [more inside].

Here's some information that may be useful: I'd like to leave around September, and I'd like to spend my time studying, researching, or working, though I prefer not to work too terribly hard since this is my "last harrah". I marginally prefer Eastern Europe to Western Europe. (Though, in truth, anywhere but North America would be fine). By September, I will be through with all but my last semester of law school at the University of Michigan, a top 10 law school. I also have a BS in Telecommunications, a Masters in Project Management, and four years experience as a technology consultant in a no-name consulting firm. I recently lived in Beijing for a year on government scholarship, where I taught English.
posted by gd779 to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also: If I can take out school loans to cover my living expenses, that would be fine. But I know absolutely nothing about such things outside the US.
posted by gd779 at 2:07 PM on December 30, 2003

This is possibly not the sort of answer you're looking for, but it's a perspective that I think you might want to consider, at least: Sell everything you own (and store away that which is too precious to part with) and start over when you get back. You seem to be using your trip as a transition time in your life, and what better way to start the process than with a purge of material goods that will be of no use to you thousands of miles away?

Unfortunately I don't know a thing about the financial aid system in the US or elsewhere, so I can't cough up the sort of answer you seem to be fishing for.
posted by majick at 2:25 PM on December 30, 2003

There was a previous thread regarding temp work, advising good agencies. Think the first or second day of askfilter.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:18 PM on December 30, 2003

add: it was European or UK temp work or both.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:21 PM on December 30, 2003

Eastern Europe has a lot of advantages - in addition to being a lot cheaper (I lived in an absolutely amazing apartment in Budapest for about $200 a month), it isn't as 'globalized,' though with the EU expanding, this might not be the case for much longer.

If you're in mathematics, the Central European University (in Budapest) takes people from all over the world in their graduate programs.

You can also consider teaching English. If you hang out among the ex-pats in Prague, it's pretty pointless asking what people do for a living, as the answer is always about the same. The pay for native speakers is generally pretty good by local standards, but nowhere near what you'd be making in the U.S. You'll want to look into getting a work permit, and maybe find some ex-pat message boards based around the country you want to live in, which will clue you in to where to find jobs, and what the current scene is like.

I suggest selling a lot of stuff to build a good, solid savings for general travel, language classes, etc, and then working to pay the day-to-day expenses, which for a spoiled American are often much higher than they are for the natives.

good luck!
posted by kaibutsu at 3:26 PM on December 30, 2003

Europe is hard for non-EU residents to find work in, other than teaching, or under-the-table stuff, or the vendange and its like. If you're in the right age group, many countries have working holiday visas (as do Japan, Australia and New Zealand, for example) which will let you work legally for a while.

I worked there, in bits and pieces, never legally, exactly, for a couple of years. Sheer dumb luck and a knack for meeting and befriending people in bars saw me through.

For what it's worth, I'd recommend selling everything you own and not coming back at all, but that's just me.

Also, if you have any desire (you mentioned anywhere outside the US would be OK), you could always come to Korea to teach for a bit (if you have a degree in anything), then blow the spoils in an Asian trip, down to the antipodes or something. I've written a short (well, longish) primer here (I knew it would come in handy)) That'd kick a Euro-tour's ass hands down.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:41 PM on December 30, 2003

from my experience of chile, i'd guess that getting a visa/job in any "second world" country would be fairly easy - people tend to be emmigrating, not immigrating, so there's no political pressure to keep people out (especially well educated gringos), unlike the first world countries. however, i don't know how well knowledge of law travels (i'm a programmer so can get work anywhere).

(although i wouldn't particularly recommend coming here - korea sounds way cooler (not meaning to imply it's not a "first world" country - i have no idea what it's like, just sounds "exotic")).
posted by andrew cooke at 4:30 PM on December 30, 2003

Take a look at BUNAC if you might consider work/travel programs in Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or Canada. I worked six months in London when I was 20 years old and used the money I earned to travel through 16 other countries for another 9 months after my 6-month work visa expired.

I tried to avoid Americans while I was there (pretty successfully, actually), and so made a network of friends from, among other places, Basque country (northern Spain), Germany, Portugal, and Israel. My nine months of travelling through the next sixteen countries was greatly assisted by the fact that I hardly ever had to pay for accommodations, due to the friendship network I had developed.

Also, American citizens are allowed to work in Israel (on moshavim or kibbutzim, mostly) without a lot of trouble. Dunno if that's your bag, but I had a great time working as a landscaper in southern Israel for four months. On a moshav, you get paid; on a kibbutz, you get a small weekly allowance and free room and board.

A google search led me to this page, which may offer other possibilities.
posted by acridrabbit at 5:08 PM on December 30, 2003

GEC might help you, but check them out first. If you are lucky to get this job, you will save money! Ideally, you should have all the money you need (or a contract) before you leave US. Also, do not travel long distances (e.g. US-EE) during the season.

I am from Bucharest, Romania, but now I'm studying in US. If you have specific questions, contact me by email.
posted by MzB at 5:23 PM on December 30, 2003

if you can get a working holiday visa for britain (i think you need to belong to a commonwealth country) - do that for six months or so, earn some pounds and then travel in style.
posted by carfilhiot at 7:15 PM on December 30, 2003

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