I want to thank reader Adele for posting the following comment: “Michael, I recommend you check out Volunteer Stays!” Well, I did and discovered that it is a Web site whose goals, described on their home page, are virtually identical to those of my own book and blog:
“You’re not interested in packaged vacations. You want to see the world and experience other cultures and ways of life. You need a little adventure in your life, and you know that the best vacation memories are the ones that involve a connection…to people, to nature, to the undiscovered parts of yourself.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself! So, if a volunteer posting overseas piques your curiosity, check it out. The site has a search feature that allows you to list your professional skills, dates available, and countries or regions in which you are most interested. It then tries to locate an overseas job that best matches those desires. Right now there are not a slew of positions but, hey, it’s rather new so cut it some slack. I am sure the number of listings will grow rapidly in the coming months, and you can check back as many times as you want to see what is available.
I only ask you to remember one thing: Unlike the positions described in my blog this is volunteer work, usually about 20 hours per week–enough free time to enjoy the physical, cultural, and historical sights of a region. But you will be responsible for transportation and visa costs and will not receive a salary, although in most cases you will be provided with accommodations and meals.
So, if you can get away from home for a while and subsist without a salary (e.g., retired, student on holiday or summer vacation, just won the lottery) Volunteer Stays is a great way to locate a temporary position overseas, settle in, and become an integral part of a new and different culture. It is also a great way to turn that holiday into an opportunity to help others. However, if receiving a salary is a non-negotiable feature of any position you would accept, then please check out the paid working vacation strategies described in my book, On The Other Guy’s Dime.