Finding the right accommodation when interning abroad

Read More

Everest Base Camp Trek: A Guide to Base Camp of the Tallest Mountain in the World!

Mount Everest View

The mighty Everest and its giant neighbours have been desired by many and after Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s first successful climb to its summit, thousands of people have traced the path in hopes of conquering the highest mountain in the world. For us non-climbers, though, the closest we can come to witness its humbling rise is in Everest Base Camp (EBC) trekking.

EBC is a popular destination for enthusiastic trekkers as well as common tourists wanting to explore more of Nepal. And many of them have documented their experience on the sight of Himalayas’ splendour. But, you have to ‘see’ it to ‘feel’ it. I can only say that it will be a trip of a lifetime.

There are a few things you should know though; ‘Learn from others mistakes’ they say. So the following information may help if you are planning your next vacation to EBC.

Everest Base Camp

Can I do it?

Yes you can. To be honest, trekking to EBC is no small feat but neither is it a task for some especially trained or experienced beings only. Before I started trekking, I had an assumption that I need to be extremely fit and trained to do high altitude treks like EBC, which later on changed. If you are used to walking and love to travel or see the beautiful things nature has to offer, this is for you. Knowing what lies ahead, knowing that all the efforts will pay helps to keep you motivated and yes, it is worth it.

Be Careful!

Yes, anyone who are reasonably fit can undertake this trek. But even the most experienced of hikers can suffer from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) when climbing such heights. Altitude sickness is no joking matter. It is real and scary. People have died because of AMS. So pace yourself and take time acclimatising. Don’t push it. I prefer to rest at two places – Namche Bazzar and Dingboche. You could do the same.

The other thing to be careful of are the yaks. These animals can be aggressive and are known to push people down a hillside. Therefore, always walk on the wall side and not on the edge side.

Trek Routes

There are two base camps at the opposite sides of Everest, North Everest Base Camp in China and South Everest Base camp in Nepal. I hear one can drive all the way to the Base Camp on the Tibet’s side. The only way to reach South Base Camp, however, is to hike from Lukla. People who really love to trek can extend the route by starting from Jiri. You can take a bus to Jiri from Kathmandu instead of flying to Lukla like most people do.

From Lukla the path is pretty much etched out. You go from Lukla to Phakding to Namche Bazzar, Dingboche, Lobuche, Gorak Shep and finally to the Base Camp. There are tea house lodges along the way that offer descent accommodation.

Resting Everest Base Camp

Side Trips

Though the common route will take you from Lukla to Phakding to Namche Bazzar, Dingboche, Lobuche, Gorak Shep and to the Base Camp, the main route plan of most trekking agency’s itinerary, there are other places within the Everest region, that you cannot miss like- Gokyo, Kalapathar and the view of Island Peak. Check with your agency or guide and make these side trips since you are already up there.

Best Seasons to Try

Spring (March- May) and Autumn (September- November) are the best seasons to trek to Everest Base Camp. The weather is moderate and the sky is clear, offering a great view of the spectacular mountains. In spring, the mountains are covered with various flora and fauna making the trek up very pleasant.

Things to Carry

High up at an altitude of 3000/ 4000m, don’t expect big supermarkets full of all things essential. If anything, the available facilities start to dwindle the higher you go and they don’t come cheap. Like a bottle of water that cost about $1 in Lukla was around $3 in Gorak Shep. So do not forget to carry water purifying tablets. It can save you a lot of money.

Beside this, you have to pay for facilities like charging your battery! It would have been cheaper to bring extra batteries. For your own calculation, charging battery costs around $2. I would suggest bringing 2-3 extra batteries instead.

Also, even though you are tea house trekking, it would be wise to carry a sleeping bag as a blanket provided by the lodge will not be enough to keep you warm.

Rolls of toilet paper and hand sanitizers are a must. Do not forget them. At times, you will miss even the squat toilets that might not have been satisfactory for your standards.

Namche Bazaar

Foods to Expect

Surprisingly, the tea houses en route Everest Base Camp offers various local, national and international cuisines and different beverage choices. Many tourists are surprised to see pizza and spring roll on their menus. To name the items- dal bhat, chappati, vegetable items and salad, eggs and potatoes prepared in different ways, noodles/ pasta made in different ways, pie, pancakes, momo (dumplings) and meat items as well. Few places at Namche Bazzar and Lukla have beers and gin as well. However, it is not a good idea to drink when trekking. There are other drink choices like hot tea and flavoured drinks.

Expenditure

Everything in the Everest Region cost way more than in the valley or other cities. This is due to the fact that all these things needs to brought a long way on plane and/ or on porters back. We should just be glad that such facilities have been made available at such a place. Also, things only get more expensive as you climb higher. Beside the normal things like food, mineral water and lodging we have to pay for charging batteries, Internet and hot water/ hot shower (from NRs. 200 to NRs. 500.) You might want to tip as well. Therefore, carry around $20-$30 per day or $350-$450 for around 15-16 days.

Things to do

Besides visiting monasteries and museums, one can enjoy little things, childish it may seem but very fun, like- offering prayer flags, writing your name on the stones, tying Khda on suspension bridge for good luck, rotating all the prayer wheels on the way and many more.

Namche Bazaar View

Conclusion

These points are just a glimpse into what was a 15 day trip, up and back, and I hope it gives you some idea about EBC trekking but honestly, no amount of reading or listening can prepare you for, what I think, is the most amazing journey.

Written by Raushan Jaiswal

Read More

Trans-Siberian Express

Trans-siberia

There are two ways to view a journey. Some see it merely as a means to an end, as a way to get where they want to go. Others view it as being as big a part of their trip as their time at the destination is.

If you fall into the former category, may I recommend an aeroplane. Anyone who likes the sound of the latter has probably considered the Trans-Siberian Railway at some point. I know I did. And then I planned it, and then I went across Russia on it. And now I’m going to share some of what I know with you.

While a trip across Siberia might sound like it needs military level planning, organising it can be made simpler by doing a little research and using agencies where needed. For people who prefer to have everything taken care of for them, or for those limited for time, agencies can offer a range of packages, from all-inclusive deals to simply buying your train train tickets before you leave your home country. For those people and the more independent minded traveller alike, some or all of the following information will be essential.

Something that everybody will need to arrange in advance are the necessary visas. And before you know which ones they are, you will need to know which countries you are planning to take in.

Anybody travelling across the length of Russia will of course need a Russian tourist visa. Going the whole way, from Moscow to Vladivostok, is only one route though. Other options are to travel through Mongolia and into China, for which you will need those relevant visas. There are agencies that can organise all of your visas at (as far as you are concerned) the same time. That is to say, you send your passport, documents and the information for every visa you need, and they will return your passport to you once they have procured them all. The agency I used for this was called Real Russia. It was painless, although there is something to note about the Russian visa in particular: every visa I have ever obtained for any country, bar Russia, has had a minimum length of stay. This has most often been a month, or thirty days, even if you state that you need less.

Russia was different. Russia asked me for my entry and exit dates, which I gave. They then gave me a visa for those dates. Two weeks. By the time I had finalised my plans, which included travelling prior to arriving in Russia, I was four days ‘late’ in arriving. Unfortunately, this didn’t result in my exit date being shifted four days. Now, I only had ten. Do not make the same mistake! Apply for more than you need. You don’t have to worry too much about accuracy when saying which cities you will visit, but make sure you apply for enough days to cover any changes that might happen to your itinerary.

One more thing to consider regarding this is, when crossing a border by train, knowing what time the train arrives at that border. That is when passports get checked, not when you arrive at the destination. If you’re arriving in the morning, you might be crossing the border before midnight the previous day. Ensure your visa is valid for when the train wants to enter the country.

Classes and Tickets

Like most trains, the ones of the Trans-Siberian routes offer different classes of tickets for different prices. In a nutshell, 1st Class tickets will see you in a two-bed private compartment, 2nd Class in a four-bed compartment, and 3rd Class in an open-plan carriage with four bunks per ‘space’. A little like a cabin, just with no door. Thinking about both price and ‘going local’, I went 3rd Class. Would I recommend it? Yes! But more on that later.

As mentioned earlier, it is possible to use an agency to buy your tickets for you before you leave home. Having a little more flexibility, although less than I’d hoped for because of the visa problem explained earlier, I bought mine at the train station in Moscow a few days before my departure. This wasn’t particularly difficult, although it wasn’t without its annoyances. Ask someone in your accommodation to write down the details of what you want, in Russian. Departure and arrival cities, the date, the class, and anything else relevant, and show this to the ticket vendor.

Expect crowds, not queues at the ticket windows. Also expect the seller to shake their head and point you to the next window once you’ve finally got to the front. This may happen more than once, and you may go from window 1 to 2 to 3 and finally be served at 4. Or 5, as the lady at 4 pulls the curtain down in your face and goes for lunch. There may be some frustration, and it may take longer than you thought, but there is no real reason you shouldn’t eventually be leaving the station with your ticket(s) bought.

Other Ticket Considerations

The Trans-Siberian is not a hop-on hop-off service. If you want to stop and see cities along the way, you will have to buy the relevant tickets that allow you to do this. A to B, B to C, C to D. There are a number of decent sized cities along the way, but I went straight from Moscow to Irkutsk, a common stop-off as it is the place from where to visit the immense Lake Baikal.

Not all trains are the same, and they don’t all travel at the same speed. Although the idea of travelling on the Trans-Siberian is all about the leisurely trundle across Russia, be aware that you could do it a little bit quicker by choosing the right train. You can tell by the numbers. Generally speaking, trains denoted by a single digit are faster and better quality, while three digit trains are slower and older. And cheaper.

If you are not travelling with enough people to fill a compartment, I would recommend buying a ticket for a top bunk. The bottom bunks are the only place to sit in the daytime, and if that’s your bed, you will have strangers on it. Having the top bunk means you have the option of sitting on the (other person’s) bottom bunk or lying down on your own top bunk.

The peak months for foreign tourists are May to September. The weather is warmer and the days are longer. This obviously makes booking a ticket that bit harder, but having a few more Westerners aboard can help you enjoy the journey more. During the winter, the trains are well heated and comfortable, although you will certainly need your coat, hat and gloves if you get off at a station to stretch your legs.

On Board

When a train takes days and days to reach its destination, food is an important consideration. There is a dining car, although I never used it. You can take on as much food and drink as you want. Popular items are vodka and beer, while more practical ideas include instant noodles, bread, cheese and snacks. There is an urn in each carriage with boiling water on tap for your noodles, tea, coffee and anything else.

Aside from what you carry on, vendors will occasionally walk up and down the carriage with a selection of wares, ranging from beer to instant noodles, bread to cheese and snacks like nuts or dried fish. Every time the train stops at a station for long enough for you to get off and walk around, there will be vendors on the platform too, selling the usual (but useful) food and drink.

Try to locate a timetable of when the train stops. A man near me had one, but I don’t know where he got it from and it was the only one I saw. They are highly useful, as not only do they tell you when you will next stop, but also for how long. Some stops are only a few minutes and are literally not worth getting out of bed for. Knowing when the next decent stop (twenty or thirty minutes) is can help you plan your day. That sounds ridiculous for a train journey, but it is true!

Being in 3rd Class, there were precious few other foreign travellers. Communicating as best I could with the local people, I found them in general to be a friendly bunch, but only after you have broken the ice. I found this true of most Russians I met away from the train too. Initial exchanges often seemed cold, but after a while I was being showered with beer and salami. I got lucky by being near a young Moscow couple who spoke very good English and were excellent, and very kind, company. I’m still in touch with them today.

The train itself is comfortable, with soft beds and enough space to walk up and down. As smokers have to go to to a space in between the carriages to have a cigarette, the air was clean and never unpleasant, and also kept at a reasonable temperature.

The whole atmosphere itself was one of people wanting to make themselves as comfortable as possible, with everyone knowing that we were all in it together. One young lady spent three days in her pyjamas, changing into an elegant dress and applying her make-up only when she reached her destination. Nobody batted an eyelid, except maybe me. People read, chatted, played cards and other games, ate, slept, watched the world go by, and generally did whatever they could to make the time pass. And pass it did. My journey took over three days, but it never dragged.

There are no electrical sockets in the cabins but there could be one halfway along the carriage, that the staff use for the vacuum cleaner. There are also shaver sockets in the bathrooms, located at both ends of the carriage. A few times, I stood behind people thinking they were waiting for the bathroom, only for them to motion that it was empty and they were merely charging their phone. With sockets rare and highly prized, consider going old-school and taking some non-electrical entertainment. I don’t know, like a book or something.

siberia

Things To Be Careful Of

Although I was lucky enough to make some local friends, there was a group of three or four young males who made me feel less comfortable. Indeed, when my friend disembarked before Irkutsk, he advised me to be careful of these people if they ever appeared drunk, as he didn’t trust them either. Nothing ever happened, but it pays to be aware. The Trans-Siberian is not a tourist train. It’s a real train, serving the public, and any country has its share of bad eggs.

Be careful with your gadgets. If travelling alone, you obviously can’t take everything to the toilet with you. But don’t leave your DSLR on your bed either. Put things out of sight if you have to leave them and go elsewhere for any reason. As ever, common sense goes a long way.

Be very careful with crossing the tracks when your train stops, and also take your passport with you every single time you get off. I nearly learnt these tips the very hard way, when our train stopped and a few of us crossed a couple of tracks to reach a platform to use the toilet. Although I had checked how long the stop was scheduled to be, I hadn’t imagined another train would pull in, blocking us from getting back to ours. A few people took what I saw as too big a risk and kind of crouch-walked under one of its carriages. I decided to go around, although these trains are long. With no idea if I had enough time or not, I ran down the side of the train, around the back and reached mine, luckily before it had started to pull away.

The worst case scenario here would have been me being stuck somewhere in Siberia with all my possessions, passport included, on their way to Irkutsk. Not a good situation. Be aware.

Time Capsule

One oddity that I found with taking the Trans-Siberian concerned Russia’s nine (at present) time zones. For uniformity, every train schedule in the country is set to Moscow time. The further East we went, the earlier the sun was rising and setting, but the time we were on inside the train never changed. The time inside the train rumbling through the countryside was different to the time directly outside. I realise a similar situation happens when you fly, but at this slower speed and over a longer duration and distance, the feeling of travelling in your own little time bubble was far more pronounced. Finally stepping off in Irkutsk and altering my watch was an odd moment too. Instant jet-lag. From a train journey.

Unfortunately, this also gives another potential headache to train travellers in Russia. If your destination is in another time zone, the arrival time written on your schedule will of course be different to the local time when you arrive. Services like hotel pick-ups should realise this, but if you’re making your own arrangements, you’d better make sure you know what time you really arrive. And don’t be fooled by the station clock, as this will also show Moscow time, no matter where the station is.

After The Trans-Siberian

I consider the Moscow to Irkutsk leg of my journey to be my Trans-Siberian experience. After this, I bought tickets on to Ulan Ude, Ulan Bator and eventually Beijing independently and after breaking it up with time spent in each place. None of these were ever more than an overnight train. Again, with flexibility on your dates, doing this independently is not difficult. In fact, these tickets were easier to buy than the one from Moscow to Irkutsk had been, due to there being less demand for them.

The Trans-Siberian certainly changed how I think about travel. It made me realise how valuable the journey is, and is not just a means to an end. I slowly continued by train to Hong Kong, seeing China as I went. I had started in London and gone through Europe before arriving in Moscow. I could have flown from London to Hong Kong, instead of taking three months overland. Those three months though were travelling, not a twelve-hour necessity that needs to be gotten out of the way before you start travelling. And when it was over, and I took a flight to Bangkok, I felt kind of guilty to not be going overland.

I also realised how small the world really is, which was the complete opposite to what I had expected. Flying halfway around the world in half a day should do that, shouldn’t it? I disagree. When flying, you can’t get a real feeling for how far you have actually gone. Taking the train may take far longer, but there is no comparable feeling to looking at a world map and knowing you did it on the ground. Beforehand, it looked too far. It should have been gruelling. It should have been a slog. But it wasn’t. It was enjoyable and easily achievable and you did it. And that is what makes the world look a hell of a lot smaller.

Read More

Road-Tripping Across The Balkans

Road tripping the Balkans

Blazing sun, a small village and its empty streets. Entering a local shop, it seems like there is really nothing we can cook with, so we decide to continue the seaside. The dusty road leads us to an untouched, dreamy place: a sandy beach, sea in the shades of turquoise, a small beach pub with a few locals and a cow peacefully standing next to it. The only thing ruining the idyll is some trash around but well, that’s Albania! We’re hopping out of the van and in that moment the small piece of land is becoming our improvised living room…

People often tell me that going for such a road trip is their life dream. Actually, it was easier than anyone would imagine and it had some real advantages compared to classic travelling. Having the freedom of „home is where you park it“ is amazing: you don’t need to hurry and the accommodation question is solved, too. But don’t worry, you’ll have some different things to take care of, such as a suspicious border controller who just decided that you are trying to carry some drugs through the border in that uberhippie-looking old car and he needs to check every single corner of it…

empty road

The Balkans are just different and cannot be compared to any other part of Europe. Starting in Slovakia, we crossed the rainy (and later misty) Croatia and Bosna and Herzegovina, enjoyed the rocky beaches of Montenegro, saw the essence of what makes Albania so unique and unreachable, spotted Macedonia’s tobacco fields and the changing history: the suspicious atmosphere of Kosovo where all seemed to be really, really fragile. And then, Serbia welcomed us with rain, forgotten monuments and the first days of Autumn…

The plans
We only had two weeks, so planning was crucial: I spent evenings googling places worth a visit and marking the map of our way. We created a list of the fuel prices and visa information for each country. Having a fully working GPS is a great help, too, but since we didn’t have that luck, we relied only on the map and the many helpful locals we’ve met. Just one more advice if you are planning to visit the Balkans in a similar way: as it’s obligatory in some of the countries, don’t forget to register at the place of your stay. This document might be checked on the border control or if the police stops you on the road.

Road Trip Van

The goal
The first goal of our trip was monument hunting: these huge sculptures commemorating battles can be found across some of the Balkan countries, so we chose the most breathtaking ones, some of them on the top of hills, some hidden in sleepy villages. But not only that: seeking witnesses of the past, we have seen slices of the not so distant history: Tito’s statue, square and city lead us to a bombed Olympic luge and bobsled track in Sarajevo. When we entered the hall of the Museum of Yugoslavian history, which is still the same as in November 1943, the sense of occasion was almost suffocating.

driving

The experience
Leaving the daily routines behind was the awakening of the senses. To wake up by the side of the road, to open the map and start a journey just day by day, with no idea what will happen or where will we end up made us curious about what will we learn. There is no doubt that two weeks are not enough to get to know cultures, but meeting people on our way showed us both the good or bad. Using my beloved Couchsurfing was in this case quite difficult (or better to say, impossible to manage): you really cannot know when will you reach your destination, so all was only about our luck. Two of my favourite memories: sitting in the port of Herceg Novi in Montenegro, we were unexpectedly invited to join a small boat trip seeking the sunshine (thank you, Ana and Marek!) and an unknown Albanian man invited us to sleep at his place – we slowed down just because of a herd of cows crossing the road! The worst thing that happened to us was towing away of our van in the streets of Skopje and the problems with paying the fine for that but beside that, the hospitality and helpfulness amazed me!

Roadside kiosk

Driving 5000 kilometers in two weeks was a challenge sometimes not easy, but definitely something to learn from. And so we did: we relied on strangers, we were scared sometimes, saw cities and tasted them, saved a turtle walking across the road, lost home and found it again, smelled rain or got lost and asked for the way thousand times. Places are made of thousands of stories. Some of them are now ours, but there is still so much to see…

Guest Post by Dia Takacsova

See the whole series on www.wandering.aeternus.sk

 

Read More

Winning Essay – RVC Veterinary Competition

Congratulations to Olivia Lane on winning the 2014 Royal Veterinary College essay competition, sponsored by Global Nomadic. Olivia won a free 1 month placement at the Manatee and Primate Rehabilitation project in Belize.

Below you can find her winning essay;

Welfare Without Borders: Cultural Differences Should Continue to Play an Important Role In The Perception of Animal Welfare Internationally

Animals play a huge part in every culture around the world. With many societies rapidly modernising and globalisation dominating day-to-day life, it is becoming more and more important to preserve unique cultures and traditions wherever possible. Variety within the human race enriches society and there is so much to be learned from different attitudes, approaches and practices around the globe. However, many of the traditions involving animals have welfare implications making it hard to define what is acceptable and what is not.

Animal welfare will always be a controversial topic. Welfare is a spectrum; there is no clear cut definition between good and bad. A person’s perception of welfare is based oimg_082710n their own experiences. If someone is used to seeing animals treated in a certain way, then that way will constitute normality, and therefore will be acceptable to them. In the developing world, working animals are often relied upon for the day-to-day survival of their owners. In some cases, the animal may be in very poor condition and possibly lame, however this suffering may be due to poverty rather than deliberate cultural practices. This presents a complex problem because if the animal continues to work it will be suffering, but if it ceases to work then both owner and animal will go hungry. These circumstances require owner education in a hope to maintain the animal’s health to the highest degree possible, even though welfare may still compromised as it continues to work.

The value with which animals are perceived varies significantly within different cultures. Several countries have highly-regarded traditional sports with serious animal welfare implications. The banning of fox-hunting in the UK was exceedingly controversial despite the unquestionable welfare implications for the fox. Similarly, there is no denying the suffering involved in practises like bullfighting, bear-baiting, dog fighting and dolphin slaughtering, yet people are willing to overlook it in the name of tradition.

Some religions stipulate specific ways in which animals should be treated, or slaughtered. Religious texts were written long before we had the facilities and knowledge we now possess, meaning that modern day methods have significantly improved animal welfare in comparison. There is a strong argument for certain traditions to be modified due to the ethical implications of consciously choosing a technique with poor welfare when a kinder method is readily available.

It’s incredible what can be achieved by modern medicine, however some cultures still champion traditional medicinal practices, many of which involve animal products. Harvesting ingredients for traditional medicine has nearly driven several species to extinction. In Asia, rhinos are hunted for their horns for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Rhino poaching leads to horrendous suffering and death, and subsequently some species of rhino are now critically endangered. Similarly, tigers are hunted for body parts because some cultures believe them to have mythical powers. Another practice causing immense animal suffering in the name of Traditional Medicine is the use of bile-bears. Both the conditions in which the animals are kept and the methods used for extracting the bile cause the animal great distress and pain. These are just a few examples of cultural traditions causing animal suffering when there are better and more ethical approaches available.

Livestock and domestic pets play a huge role in culture. In the farming industry, some more modern societies have a tendency to neglect animal welfare in favour of saving money. Intensive farming is common practice in most first-world countries, and there is no denying that the desired efficiency often comes to the detriment of animal welfare. The animals are vulnerable to many problems, including stress, chronic lameness and other injuries as a result of the overcrowding. Equally, the shift towards a consumerist culture is having an effect on our domestic pets. Obesity is a major problem among the human population and many owners inflict the same issue on their pets by over-feeding them. Obese pets generally have a decreased quality of life and are at risk of painful diseases such as arthritis and diabetes. As our culture become more and more about consumerism, are we ignoring the declining welfare of our animals?

A country’s wild animals undoubtedly contribute to its culture. The clash of the growing, modernising human population with nature and habitat destruction is an on-going debate and possibly one of the most prominent contemporary global issues. The welfare and preservation of wild animals in immensely important, but sadly involves significant human compromise which not everyone is inclined to make.

A person’s culture is part of their identity and is something that should be cherished; however animals should not suffer purely for the preservation of human tradition. We are an educated, knowledgeable race and do not need to inflict unnecessary cruelty on other species. Cultural diversity can be celebrated through art, food, language and countless other media without impacting on animal welfare. Changing, and even abolishing, cultural practises takes time, education and patience as they are often deep- rooted in societies. As professionals working abroad with other cultures, vets must try to suspend reliance on their own cultural background and use their training and experience to determine where the line between acceptable and unacceptable is. Cultural differences should indeed continue to play an important role in the perception of animal welfare internationally, but should never be used as an excuse to justify animal suffering.

Olivia Lane 2014

Read More

5 Reasons Why You Should Check “Yes” To Relocation

A question many job seekers overlook is a small box, normally under the availability date, the travel related boxes. Many of us just glance over these options, saying “no” we would rather not travel more than a said amount of miles, and automatically say “no” to relocating for the position. Unfortunately, that limits your opportunities right off the bat for many companies. For those of us seeking an internship, this is a crucial step that many miss out on! Here is a list of five top reasons why you should check “yes” to relocate, and be willing to travel at the drop-of-a-hat.

1. Paid Expenses

If you are willing to relocate for a company, normally they are willing to at least meet you halfway, cost wise. If you have to uproot from your home of a mere few years, this will be easier than many more established, thus you should seek these internship opportunities before you are too settled in. However, for those who have a family, many companies will offer compensation for living expenses for the first few months, if not for the entire duration of the project for which you are traveling for.

2. Experience a New Culture

Internships hardly ever happen in your backyard, therefore, to be willing to relocate to an area that is completely new, which will turn to be an asset for both you and the company. Many people wish they would have traveled more while they had the time, sadly, many things stopped said individuals from completing their dreams. An internship can immerse you into a new language, new traditions, and so many more unique aspects of a culture. By accepting this international internship, you will be doing what millions wished they had, and better yet, you are being paid for it!

3. Increasing Stability in Position, Or Better

To put it frankly, if a company is investing thousands for you to go overseas and work on an international project, it may be safe to say you have a bit of job security. However, the knowledge you learn while on this internship can help cement that relationship with the company, making you an invaluable asset. Becoming invaluable is something to strive for, as long as it’s in the good way, taking on a new relocation venture shows dedication to a company. Dedication is something Board members are made out of, seeing the link yet?

4. Contribute to the Bigger Picture

Many companies collaborate on a global effort, meaning you will be traveling to places such as Japan, Australia, California, Brazil, India, and so many more areas that are thriving from the industry you are entering into. While it may seem very scary to move to these places, you are playing an essential role in growing the company, you may even be the ambassador for your country, to represent their ideas, how awesome is that?

5. Enrich Your Life

You’ve visited every local attraction, you could apply to be a tour guide at a local park, you could even paint from memory most of the painting in your local museum, boring! Spice up your nights by accepting an international internship, you won’t be working every day, giving you plenty of time to explore local hotspots, or not so known “mom-and-pop” shops to send treats back home. A job does not have to be a job, if you let it become a passion you will experience every day as something great. Drop the dread, and get excited, you are in a new place, no one knows your past, do something great!

The idea of leaving everything you know may be very scary to some, and yet to others, it would be welcomed. No matter what your situation is, taking on an internship will benefit you in many ways. Take the plunge and live your life, learn something new, and keep on striving for more.

Read More

Volunteering Vs Internships

volunteering vs. internships

Ever wondered what exactly an internship really is? And when exactly is the best time to go on an adventure and what is the difference between the two really? And most importantly, how do you choose? Well, the answer – put simply – is that there is no simple answer. Every one of us is unique, with different dreams, goals, interests, experiences and dreams. What we can do however is explain what the different options mean for you personally – whoever you might be.

Internships – invest in your future

Internships take you a step beyond simply volunteering. As the name implies, they are essentially internships, with the added bonus of travel to far-flung and exotic locations thrown in. But an internship can be so much more than simply travelling and volunteering. These are serious work placements specifically designed to get you that oh-so-elusive foot in the door to the industry of your choice at the same time as giving you plenty of work experience in the field – something which is increasingly important when it comes to seeking paid employment in the cutthroat job market of today.

Job markets quite aside, internships are also uniquely suited for students and post-graduates of a great variety of subjects. Many of our internship projects offer you the chance to bring your own research questions to the project, enabling you to make your internship a part of your education.

They are also hard work. Apart from the potential research carried out at many projects, many internships also involve tough physical labour in a tropical climate. You might be engaged in long nightly patrols on a beach in Costa Rica looking for hatching turtles, digging a well in Cambodia or installing solar panels in a small village in Nicaragua. As serious work placements, internships require you to have a genuine passion for the work that you do and the field you are working in. In most cases, the work carried out by volunteers is also vitally important in keeping the project running, be it marine conservation in the oceans of the world or grassroots recycling in urban Ghana.

In return, an internship is a truly rewarding experience, for everyone involved. Although there are projects accepting volunteers for as short a time as one week, most internships require and also benefit from a longer time commitment. Spending a prolonged time immersed in the project and the surrounding local culture will also give you a deeper understanding of the work you do while allowing you to form real bonds with locals and fellow volunteers alike.

Volunteering – Experience the world from a different perspective

We appreciate that not everyone is dead serious about their career or maybe haven’t found their path in life just yet. To that end – we offer you Volunteer adventures. Doing pretty much what it says on the tin, it’s adventure travel with room for volunteering in your chosen destination so you can pay back some goodwill to the countries you travel through instead of just being a normal tourist. (Who wants to be normal anyway?) Volunteer adventures can be as short as a week and as long as…forever. These are extraordinary flexible projects, allowing you to work in many different areas and build a travel adventure perfectly suited to your own tastes and interests. Maybe you are interested in learning Muy Thai boxing followed by a little jungle trekking followed by a stint of teaching followed by some Buddhist meditation? Then a Thailand adventure is for you. Perhaps you would like to find out if working in a medical profession is for you? You could head to India or Cambodia and work in a health care centre before spending some time on the beach. Animals more you thing? Spend some time washing elephants in the largest elephant camp in the world before bending your limbs on a yoga adventure in Sri Lanka. Or why not do it all? The choice – and the adventure – is yours.

Read More

10 Reasons To Do An International Internship

international internships

There are no two ways about it; this is a difficult time to be looking for a job. In both the U.S. and U.K., over 50% of new university graduates are unemployed or underemployed. It is more important than ever to find a competitive edge when applying for a new job. It is crucial to have skills and experiences on your resume that make you stand out above the rest. Considering that fewer than 2% of all university students in the U.S. and U.K. study or work abroad, international internships are one big way to give you a major advantage.

Here are just ten ways an international internship can help you snag that dream job.

1) Businesses are International – Products are manufactured in Bangladesh, software is coded in India, and administrative tasks are outsourced to Indonesia. These days most companies deal with people overseas in one way or another. Having international work experience shows that you understand foreign business practices and cultures.

2) Foreign Language Skills – The French have a saying, “A man who knows two languages is worth two men.” Learning a foreign language makes you a more attractive job candidate, in every industry, in this globalised world. Of course you can take a class but the best way to truly learn a foreign language, the best way to be fully fluent, is immersion.

3) Network, Network, Network – As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Internships are a wonderful opportunity to expand your network. International internships cast that net even wider. Having connections to professionals around the world can be an invaluable asset. You will have an address book of people around the world who work in your chosen industry who can help you find a job or move up at your current job.

field work experience

4) Hands on Experience – Let’s say you need to have surgery. You’re in the hospital and the staff says, “This man will operate on you. He has read about the surgery many times and studied very hard.” Then they present you with another option, “This man will operate on you. He has read about the surgery many times and studied very hard. He also participated in and watched several operations of the same kind.” Who would you rather have operating on you? The same goes for potential employers. A student may know a lot about the job but an intern has done the job. You have proof that you can take what you’ve learned and apply it in real world situations.

5) What do you want to be when you grow up? – Often the most dreaded question for university students and new graduates. And really, the best way to know if a career is for you is to work in that career. It’s true for recent college graduates and those thinking about making a career change. An internship is the perfect opportunity to get your feet wet and discover if you’re headed down the right career path or not.

6) Wait? There’s a 7:00 AM too? – Ah, the university lifestyle. Breakfast at noon, a few classes a day, coffee with your friends, staying up all night for a marathon viewing of the latest season of Breaking Bad. Sadly, those days don’t last forever. Making the transition from the “university world” to the “real world” can be a harsh wake up call. Sometimes because of your new, much earlier, wake up call. An internship is a great transition into the professional world.

wake up call

7) High Risk, High Reward– International internships show a sense of adventure and risk taking. Prospective employers need to know that their new hires can adapt quickly and handle unexpected setbacks. Living and working in a foreign country, especially one where English is not the primary language, proves you can do just that. They show that you are not afraid to go against the grain, which is key to creativity, something all employers look for.

8) Many different personalities – Employers want to know that you are able to work with and for all different types of people. Interning abroad show you can adapt to different cultures and styles. It tells employers that you stepped out of your comfort zone and successfully worked with people who are, in many ways, quite different from you.

interns abroad

9) It’s good for you personally – There are numerous professional benefits to doing an internship abroad. But there are also numerous personal benefits. It will boost your confidence, broaden your horizons, and give you fulfilment that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. Traveling abroad teaches you a lot about the people and places you visit, but you often learn as much, if not more, about yourself.

10) It’s Fun! – Okay, so of course it might not be ALL fun. It is work after all. But you won’t be working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And free time means time to explore, travel, eat, dance, sing, sightsee, hike, climb, trek, swim, tour, or anything else that sounds fun to you. And better yet, you get to do all that in a foreign country.

Read More