A year, a few months or just a few weeks abroad. Adventure tempts you, but you don’t really know what’s possible. If you are an adult, several options are available to you. And you don’t have to be a student to benefit from it. Follow the leader !
Without a school exchange or Erasmus program, you want to be independent of your establishment and your course. No matter: pack your bags, adventure awaits! Please note that if you plan to volunteer, you must be at least 18 years old.
As for the duration, it’s up to you. If you don’t want your travel to interfere with your studies, you will find short assignments from a few weeks to a few months during the summer. Otherwise, take a break. Gap year is a very good way to undertake what makes you dream for six months to a year. A word of advice: take the time to think about your project to choose the most suitable program.
1. Volunteering at international construction sites
Several websites and associations offer missions lasting a few weeks, such as France Volontaires or Solidarités jeunesse. You can go alone or in a youth group. Choose the destination and construction site according to the area that interests you. You will work about 30 hours a week and you will be fed and sheltered in return. Please note that it is usually up to you to pay for your plane tickets.
2. International civic service: combining business with pleasure
If you know the traditional principle of civic service, it’s exactly the same for going abroad. With the difference that your mission will take place a few thousand kilometers from France! Visit the Civic Service Agency website. You can choose the duration (six months to a year) and the type of mission you like (education, health, environment, etc.). The compensation amounts to €580.63 net. You can fulfill your mission from your 16 years and until the day before your 26th birthday (up to 30 years for people with disabilities).
3. The European Solidarity Corps: volunteering, internship or employment
As its name suggests, this European Union program allows you to travel to European countries only. Several options are possible. Volunteering or solidarity (group) projects last from two to twelve months. In such cases, your travel expenses are covered. You can also do an internship or get a job through the European Solidarity Corps for three to twelve months. You will then be paid by your host organization.
4. International Solidarity Volunteering: A Longer Commitment
This program goes far beyond Europe, as it mobility concerns countries outside the European Economic Area. To find your mission, visit the France Volontaires website. Unlike other volunteer schemes, Missions usually last one to two years. The association will cover your travel expenses and you will receive compensation of at least €100 per month. The amount varies by country. You will also benefit from two days off per month.
5. The VIE or VIA to “work” abroad
International volunteering in business or administration is intended to 18-28 years. The goal is to wear volunteer in a French company or public service located abroad. The missions take place over a period of six to twenty four months. You are compensated up to €723.99 per month. To apply, you must send your CV to the website of the information center on international volunteering (Civi). Note that this requires mastery of a foreign language, qualifications, and sometimes experience in the targeted industries.
6. The PVT: be careful with the selection
The PVT (work vacation program) or WHV (working holiday visa) allows you to live in a country, travel but also work if you wish. Canada, Brazil, South Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Australia, Japan… Each country has its own terms and its own quotas of French competitors. In fact, you must submit your application according to a very precise schedule before being drawn. Also be careful, you must prove that you have enough funds to go to the host country.
7. Wwoofing: the economical solution
nothing to do with animals wwoofing stands for “worldwide opportunities in organic farms”ie living on an organic farm. So it’s more about volunteering. The goal is to get you to participate in the daily tasks of a farm by being housed and fed in return. Hosts set their own assignment terms and duration.
8. The permanence of the language: one foot in studies, the other in vacation
If you really don’t want to drop your studies during your trip, a language stay (or summer camp) can be a good compromise. There are several types of programs ranging from a few hours of classes per week to intensive training. You can stay with a family or university residence, go alone or through the university and stay two weeks or one or even two months according to your wishes… and your budget. Because the cost of a language stay is one hundred euros or even more than 1,000 euros per week depending on the destination and format chosen.