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7 ideas for a working gap year (overseas)

Thinking about taking a gap year after high school? Combining work and travel can be an incredible way to gain new experiences, make lifelong memories, and even save some money. Here are 7 fun ideas for a working gap year overseas.

1. Live-in pub gap year

Pubs are a quintessential part of culture in the UK. Rather than just drop in for a pint, what if you could live and work in a pub, and get paid to bartend? You’d get to mingle with the likes of university crowds around Manchester, Cambridge, Oxford, or wherever you choose to be based.

It’s a great way to meet friends, make money, and experience a full immersion in a whole new culture. Plus, if you choose to be a part of a placement program, you’ll be fully supported by the working holiday team and your very own dedicated placement manager.

2. Horse ranch volunteer

Ever wanted to work on a farm? Or maybe you just love horses more than anything else. Either way, there are loads of opportunities around the world to live on a ranch or farm with free food and accomodation. All this is in exchange for your volunteer work helping around the property, which is a pretty great deal for those who want to experience that kind of lifestyle.

This one based in the USA only requires you to volunteer 30 hours of work a week, and you get heaps of free benefits like a private room, 3 meals a day, and horse-riding time.

Want a taste of what being a ranch hand could be like? Check out this “day in the life” to see if it’s something that might be up your alley.

3. Au pair

Want to be a part of a family overseas? You might like being an au pair: a job where families overseas will host you for free in exchange for childcare and light housework duties. You could improve your language skills, immerse yourself in the culture, and best of all – there are usually almost no living expenses involved.

Living and working as an au pair usually includes meals, accomodation, and a weekly stipend. Some of the most popular places to be an au pair include France, Germany, and the USA, but Global Work & Travel have a database where you can browse tons of different opportunities and filter by location, age, and duration.

Curious about what a day as an au pair might look like? There are tons of videos online you can check out, like this one from an au pair in Germany.

4. Teach English abroad

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a popular choice for gap year students, and countries all over the world are always on the lookout for native English speakers. If you’ve got a strong grasp of English and some teaching experience, you’ll probably love this option – it’s also a position known for giving a pretty decent salary.

You will most likely need some kind of certification to do this job, but Go Overseas have tons of online and in-person courses you can browse, or you can choose a certification + placement option.

5. Work on a cruise ship

Prefer the sea over land? Want to travel to a bunch of different places, and earn money on the way? You could be living your Below Deck dreams by using your gap year to work on a cruise ship.

There are loads of different jobs you could do on a cruise ship, from retail to hospitality – you could even apply to be a deck hand if you’ve got the experience. Most cruise ship vacancies are 4-6 months and have age requirements, but if you fit the specifications, this could be a once in a lifetime experience.

If you’re interested in this kind of working gap year, there are some established agencies like CTI who can help with recruitment. If you want some insight into what it could be like as a cruise ship crew member, check out the below video.

6. Ski instructor

If you love skiing, you might like to consider becoming an ski or snowboard instructor – you could do your passion all day long, and get paid for it too. There are heaps of job openings for ski instructor roles in countries like Canada, Austria, and Japan, and the seasonal nature of the job makes it perfect for a gap year traveller.

You’ll need relevant certifications, but many programs offer training courses. There are even places that offer in-country training, or some that partner with employers to provide entry level roles worldwide.

Here’s a look at one of the many different courses you can do:

7. Tour guide

Becoming a tour guide is a fun way to share your passion for a place while learning more about it yourself. There’s nothing better than getting a tour given by someone who loves what they’re talking about – and that person could be you. Many tour companies hire enthusiastic individuals to lead city tours, nature hikes, and historical tours in popular locations include Italy, Peru, and Vietnam.

You probably won’t need any certifications for this job, but knowledge of the tour destination is essential – you could study up about it or take a tour yourself to get the hang of key information. After that, you’d be putting your people skills to good use.

To get the job, you’d most likely have to be brave and reach out to individual companies, but you can also take a look at the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations – they offer training courses and internships too.

Want to keep reading?

If you’d like to read about some other gap year ideas, we have tons of advice, resources, and articles for you here.


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