Student Work/Travel
December 16, 2007 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Help my daughter find a program allowing her to work/travel in Europe.

In about a year, my daughter is going to have about 6 months between high school and college and would like to spend most of it in Europe. She does not want to spend the whole time backpacking across Europe. Instead, she’s looking for some kind of situation where she has a job in some sort of international teen or cultural exchange program that also maybe provides her with a place to live with a host family or living with other teens in the same program.

She speaks some German but has expressed a desire to have the location where she works/lives be in an English speaking country. I personally think she would be OK in Germany after a few weeks. She just needs to be forced to speak German to get herself over the language barrier hump.

Anyway, do you know of any such programs? Have you had any similar experiences that she should look to emulate or avoid? Anything to share with this concerned father who wants to set his daughter free but always worries about her well being?

BTW, if you followed or contributed to my last post about my daughter, dealing with her leaving her car lights on, you will be happy to know that the scrunchie idea has worked great! No repeat problems since then.

Thanks for all your help!
posted by GregWithLime to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If she's 18, she's eligible to do BUNAC. That's what I did after university. They've got exchange programs in the UK and Ireland (amongst other places). It's a bit more "fend for yourself," though. You basically get a work permit and that's it. They do have an office to help you find a job and a place to live, and they organize a lot of group activities so she can interact with other people from home. It's still pretty free-form though, and that can be scary for people living away from home for the first time. You've got to find roommates and do your own cooking and pay your own rent. I remember calling my Mom in tears after three days because I realized that the money I'd just plunked down for a deposit on a shared apartment was pretty much my emergency "fly home if you can't hack it" fund. She told me that she had faith that I could stick it out, and I did. (She probably secretly regrets that now, given that I met my Aussie husband there and a six-month working holiday became seven years of living abroad so far...)
posted by web-goddess at 7:45 PM on December 16, 2007

Could she contact some companies she's interested in and ask for an internship?
posted by divabat at 8:37 PM on December 16, 2007

Have you looked in AFS. I did a summer program the year between my junior and senior year of high school and had the time of my life. I would highly suggest she do one of the themed programs. Like I did the environmental one, and there was an art one, different countries have different ones set up. They are good because you aren't just stuck home hanging out with your host family all day, you get to go out and do a bunch of activities and take day trips with all the other exchange students from all over.

Also, there is Earthwatch, however I don't know how much of a chance she would get to speak German even if she found one in Germany. And to be honest it is very pricey, but still a pretty awesome experience.
posted by whoaali at 9:03 PM on December 16, 2007

New Zealand has working holiday visas for Americans.
posted by mdonley at 9:40 PM on December 16, 2007

Two suggestions. One: Become a full-time volunteer with a voluntary service organisation. There are a lot of different programmes in Europe, see the Association of Voluntary Service Organisations. Many take international volunteers, and will take teenagers though I think you daughter would need to be 18. Your daughter would be provided with accommodation, training and support, and plenty of opportunities to meet other volunteers. I volunteered with Community Service Volunteers here in the UK. Although I worked with older people, several of my fellow volunteers did projects where they lived in an apartments together with a student with physical impairments so that s/he could live independently and attend university.

Two: Do something through the Council for International Education Exchange. I used this organisation to attend a summer semester at UC Berkeley, but your daughter could use it to have a gap semester abroad, in France or Spain or outside Europe.
Spending a Gap year abroad or a Gap semester living with a family , studying and improving fluency in a modern language and volunteering in the community or working as an English teacher will allow students to immerse themselves in every aspect of the host culture and give their academic goals perspective and purpose. Gap Year travel via day and weekend trips and other cultural excursions will provide an important dimension to understanding historical and social aspects the country.
posted by boudicca at 4:56 AM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are some fantastic leads. I love this community. Thanks so much for the help! If you have other ideas, please add them.
posted by GregWithLime at 5:27 AM on December 17, 2007

« Older What happens to a membership contract when the gym...   |   rot13($real_name) Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.