Reports from the Field

8 Things You Will Forget to Pack (and Survive Without)


By: Lily Parsey | Posted on: 16 Sep 2016

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Lily Parsey

Lily Parsey
Posted on: 16 Sep 2016

Lily Parsey is a 3rd year Arts and Sciences student at UCL with a passion for travelling and exploring cultures around the world. In the coming year, she will be undertaking a placement abroad in Shanghai. Speaking five languages, she enjoys learning languages as the key to intercultural communication.

Finding the right accommodation when interning abroad


By: Lily Parsey | Posted on: 29 Jul 2016

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Lily Parsey

Lily Parsey
Posted on: 29 Jul 2016

Lily Parsey is a 3rd year Arts and Sciences student at UCL with a passion for travelling and exploring cultures around the world. In the coming year, she will be undertaking a placement abroad in Shanghai. Speaking five languages, she enjoys learning languages as the key to intercultural communication.

7 Reasons Why Travelling Abroad Is a Money Saver


By: Lily Parsey | Posted on: 06 Jul 2016


Want to explore the world but need to economise? Fear not, the cards may be in your favour.

Although the opportunity of an international internship is an exciting prospect to experience the world through different eyes and broaden one’s horizons, many people decide against going abroad due to financial constraints. The costs of flights, visas and project fees, in some cases, can accumulate to a figure that, can seem quite overwhelming at a first glance and therefore discourages many young people from taking the leap to do an international internship. Looking up costs of international flights and visas has sent me staggering quite a few times too. However, whether you’re from a low-income background or you just don’t want to spend too much money, don’t let that preliminary cost scare you off. Indeed, it is important to see the whole picture. Travelling from Western Europe, your travel abroad will probably end up saving you money, while at the same time offering you the unique experience of enriching your understanding of the world… and here’s why!


1. You Only Pay Once

Although these first costs may seem extortionate at first, remember you will only need to pay them once. Possibly dividing them up into the months you will be staying in the country will give you a less horrifying, and more realistic idea of how much you will actually be spending. Compare this to the cost of staying closer to home. Given the much lower costs of living abroad, you will probably realise that rather than spending money, you are actually saving by going abroad.

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2. You Have A Network Of People

If you are doing a placement abroad, don’t forget you will be in a network of people who can not only give you advice on which places to go and which to avoid. They can also help you find affordable accommodation through connections they might have. They can help you bargain if you are not native in the local language or help you find the best mobile phone deal. You might even get lucky enough to get a lift somewhere and cut your transport costs. So use those opportunities and don’t be shy to ask for help!

 

3. You Can Replace Your Meal Deal With A Full-blown Three Course Meal

Ever travelled to Spain and marvelled at the cheap prices of cocktails at the beach? Well, prepare yourself for an even greater feeling of privilege by suddenly being able to afford restaurant dinners on your student budget. Whether you are travelling to parts of Africa, South East Asia or Latin America, coming from a Western European country you will be surprised at the prices of food and basic maintenance, allowing you to radically cut costs while enjoying exciting exotic food.

fruit_marketTake China for instance, where a basic meal costs £0.60 and you can go out for a high-end three course meal for about £2.50. In Costa Rica you can get a main dish in a restaurant for roughly £3. So you will be finding yourself saving a lot of money on food whilst abroad even counting for those special occasions when you really want to treat yourself with a good meal out.

4. Travelling Becomes A Spontaneous Endeavour

Travelling can be the best part of an experience abroad. However, all too often when you plan a trip with your friends at home you can get hit by a sudden hike in flight prices, making you regret not having booked earlier. At train return prices of £30 from Shanghai to Beijing or a flight from Accra to Kumasi for £50, travel is not something you have to necessarily plan three months in advance but you can decide to do from one day to the next without a scary bank account balance awaiting you on your return. And if you’re thinking more locally, in contrast to the constantly rising prices of the London underground for instance, public transport is well within the realm of affordability. No need for painful Oyster top-ups, just hop on a Bangkok tut tuk for £0.60 if you’re late and like the wind blowing in your hair!

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5. Swap Your Broom-Cupboard For A Palace

Although you put on a brave face describing your “well-sized single bedroom” to your family and friends, at the bottom of your heart you know that it is not worth the £170 per week you pay. Going abroad you will find that very often accommodation is covered by the organisation you are working for or else it is ridiculously cheap. Here are some of the average rent prices across the world compared to London:

Location

Average weekly rent for a one bed flat

London (UK) £425
Kumasi (Ghana) £17

Mexico City (Mexico)

£66

Tegucigalpa (Honduras)

£36

Bandung (Indonesia)

£28
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) £68
Puerto Barrios (Guatemala) £37

And here a little eye teaser. These are some properties you could afford to rent abroad on a usual student’s budget.

In Nicaragua:

Nicaragua_student_budget
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:

Kuala_Lumpur

6. Make All Your Friends Jealous With Your (Possibly Fake) Designer Clothes

So usually you walk past high street shop windows staring in awe. After a quick reality check of your eternally flat purse you settle for the inevitable and turn the corner into Primark or M&S. If you go abroad, those days are over. With many markets and bazaars you will find many very cheap designer-like items. So while you need to look out for illegal forgeries, get ready to accessorise and finally earn those jealous looks from your friends!

 

7. And Finally, Just Think Of All The Things You Could Do With A Tenner…

Pound_notesIf you find a tenner on the street in London, you might feel a slight sense of joy and achievement, right until you have to spend it as part of a gas bill, a Pret sandwich or a tube journey to Zone 5 when you are reminded by the harshness of the system you live in. But the story is a very different one if you go abroad. Here is a list of some of the things you could buy for £10 in different places around the world:

  • A great date in Dar es Salaamtheatre

Get 2 tickets for the best seats in the theatre (and a haircut beforehand to make sure everything is in place) for an amazing night out with that special someone.

  • A month of chemical experiments in Cambodia

Buy 30 bottles of coke with Mentos to drop into each of them and have a fun explosion every day for a month… or all at once!

Now for slightly weirder things you can buy for £10. But who can argue with five pets and some spare vinegar to stock up your kitchen?fireworks

  • Buy five live crabs from a vending machine in Nanjing (with vinegar of course)

crab


 So, although the initial costs of a placement abroad can seem quite overwhelming at first, remember that the cost of living is immensely lower than in Western Europe. Indeed, you are in many ways lucky to be travelling in the right direction. You will find, quite contrarily to the common misconception of a placement abroad involving many additional expenses, that you will not only be able to live more at ease and afford things you would not usually do at home, but you might also actually be saving money by going abroad. Remember to think of initial costs as monthly costs. This will make them seem a lot more reasonable. Moreover, there will always be people involved in your placement who are more than happy to help. Do your research and you will probably find that whatever your financial situation, international internships are probably much more in your budgetary reach than doing similar placements closer to home… and much more exciting at the same time!

Global Nomadic offers Professional Internships, Volunteer Projects and TEFL Programmes in 29 countries worldwide. Start travelling your career today!

 


Lily Parsey is a 3rd year Arts and Sciences student at UCL with a passion for travelling and exploring cultures around the world. In the coming year, she will be undertaking a placement abroad in Shanghai. Speaking five languages, she enjoys learning languages as the key to intercultural communication.

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Lily Parsey

Lily Parsey
Posted on: 06 Jul 2016

Lily Parsey is a 3rd year Arts and Sciences student at UCL with a passion for travelling and exploring cultures around the world. In the coming year, she will be undertaking a placement abroad in Shanghai. Speaking five languages, she enjoys learning languages as the key to intercultural communication.

10 Reasons To Travel Abroad And Learn The Language


By: Lily Parsey | Posted on: 29 Jun 2016

When I ask people why they want to go abroad, the most common answers are along the lines of exploring a different part of the world as a means of finding oneself. And many people travel from one place to the other, meeting fellow backpackers along the way, the exciting cities, the freedom and the nightlife- to find out who they are. But what about exploring the other? Is the point of travelling not actually to discover what is outside of one’s own existence?

I have always thought that travelling to find one’s own identity and reasons as being a little self-centred. I believe travelling is about understanding other ways of living and viewing the world. It is about going out of one’s comfort zone, to disregard and step outside of one’s own judgement. Rather than thinking about one’s own desires and ambitions, I think travelling is a practice of empathy. This means that we do not only visit new places but we observe, we take part and we learn. And this is how we can develop acceptance rather than just mere tolerance. It is the principal key to attaining a global mind-set and accepting responsibility for the global community as a whole.

One of the main distinctions between self-centred and empathic travel, in my eyes, is the attitude to language people exhibit. Language is a key component to a culture and indeed the main vehicle for intercultural communication and interaction. Without a common language, we cannot express ourselves as we wish. Moreover, a language and the attitude to it reveals a great deal about the culture and society in which it is spoken. So while many people consider language learning a tiresome chore, I believe it is the key to engaged travelling. It is the only way to truly immerse oneself in a new environment. And essentially, making the effort to learn the local language is making a choice between learning about yourself and taking the opportunity to learn from others.


Below are some of the more practical reasons why you should make the most of your experience abroad and familiarise yourself with the language. At the end of the day, it does not matter how few or many words you know, but rather that you make an effort and try – and you’ll soon notice how quickly you will improve.

1. Everyone will like you

It sounds stupid but let’s not forget, when you embark on your adventure abroad far away from home, you will naturally look for new social contacts. Trying to speak the local language is a very good bridge to get to know people: It also makes you more interesting than the ignorant tourist trying to get a sun tan for their new profile pictures. Moreover, if you go to a country in which the local language is not commonly taught abroad, any attempt at the language is met by enthusiasm. I remember putting my first rough sentences of Turkish together and people hanging to my lips like I was some kind of prophet. You will find people are a lot more tolerant towards bad accents abroad than they are in English-speaking countries.

2. You will find all the cool places

Let’s be honest, as much as everybody likes sightseeing, the flow of tourists suffocating and pressing you against the walls of the 147th souvenir shop isn’t really what anyone is looking for. We all want to find that hidden gem which is on no tourist map, that you can rave about in front of your friends. Well, if you speak to locals, you will find places that are off the tourist radar, where you won’t be ripped off and the sights are not hidden behind hundreds of groups of widely grinning selfie takers. Be it beautiful parks, genuine traditional markets, exciting nightclubs and rooftop bars or up and coming art galleries you’re looking for – you will be going to the places the locals know are best!

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3. Communicating is fun!

Especially if you are in the early stages of only knowing a few words, you will not be able to express everything you want in words. Not knowing the language makes you creative. You get to speak with your arms and legs and you will be surprised how much patience people have for you when you try, and how much fun it is to play Charades throughout the day and other people responding the same way. Some of my strongest friendships have started in full-body choreographies of me trying to tell that funny story of the baby pulling faces at me on the bus..

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4. Why make others suffer for your insecurity?

Ok, you don’t feel comfortable speaking a language you barely know, you feel you can express yourself better in English. But why does it have to be you who is at ease? It is just as difficult for locals to speak English, so why demand for them to bend over backwards just to preserve your own pride? And more importantly, nobody will ridicule you for your mistakes. On the contrary, people will be happy you’re trying and encourage you.

5. You will learn to be the foreigner

Many people coming from English speaking countries have never been used to being “the foreigner” and how hard it can be if nobody speaks your language. This might give you some more understanding for people who do not speak the language in your own home country.

6. You will gain a better insight into the culture

We all know how closely interlinked language and culture really are. More than 30 words for sausages in German – no coincidence! Apart from culinary preferences, all concepts of political structures, power hierarchies, gender identity and most importantly – humour, are encoded in language. You are never going to really understand a new culture if you haven’t once laughed at a local joke.

7. Other languages are funny

You will soon become familiar with all the odd little sayings, jokes and metaphors there are in every language. Take for example the Latin American saying creerse la última coca-cola en el desierto, which literally translates to believing one is the last coca cola in the desert, another way for saying that one is full of oneself.

Or we find the German “Go where the pepper grows” meaning “Get Lost”. “I think a horse kicked me” when you are surprised by something. Or have you ever asked somebody how they are and they have responded “Horse Horse Tiger Tiger”? Well, in China you just might, as it is the most common way of saying “Not bad”. From “the jumping point”, “I think I might get a monkey” all the way through to “Make sure you win territory” to say someone should leave, these idioms are often at the essence of a culture – and will give you good stories for when you get back home.

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8. Gain in confidence

Ever felt awkward standing in front of a whole room of classmates having to present something that in all the panic of the moment has entirely disappeared from your brain? Whether you are shy or outgoing, the experience of being in a new environment, not knowing anybody and having to go out of your comfort zone by speaking a foreign language, communicating with all your limbs, will make you so much more at ease in your own language and any form of human interaction.

9. Become a local

This sounds obvious but if you make an effort to learn the local language you are making an active choice to become part of the community. You’re not a visitor looking on from outside but you actually become a part of the place you are living in.

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10. Actually learn a language

… And let’s not forget, depending on how long you stay and how much you get to practise, you will get a good grip of an entirely new language. That’s not only a way to impress your friends and future employers and to make yourself interesting at a party. It also means that there is actually a whole new group of people you can talk to, become friends with and share your mind-blowing stories with.

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So dive in! Immerse yourself. Take as many experiences from your travel abroad as you can. You will notice that far beyond learning the language you will open your eyes to a whole new culture and by broadening your horizons, opening yourself to the unknown and living and breathing the place you have travelled to, you will probably learn a lot more about yourself than on any self-finding trip you could imagine. You will find how you fit into a broader global picture and which role you want to play within it. So swallow your pride, be prepared to make mistakes and have fun!

Global Nomadic offers 50+ Professional Internships, Volunteer Projects and TEFL Programmes in 30 countries worldwide. Keep travelling and change the world with us!

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Lily Parsey

Lily Parsey
Posted on: 29 Jun 2016

Lily Parsey is a 3rd year Arts and Sciences student at UCL with a passion for travelling and exploring cultures around the world. In the coming year, she will be undertaking a placement abroad in Shanghai. Speaking five languages, she enjoys learning languages as the key to intercultural communication.