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Travelling and working around the world, particularly to America, is often just a dream for many young South Africans, especially as our currency is weak against many other currencies worldwide and we require visas to travel pretty much anywhere. But all is not lost because opportunities abound for the adventurous young person who wants to travel abroad and work while they do so.
Places like A way to explore and Jobs Abroad, based in Midrand in Gauteng offer healthy adventurous South Africans between the ages of 18 and 28, the opportunity to work and travel in America by sending them on jobs with the Carnivals and Amusement Parks. It is an adventure of a lifetime but it is not for the faint hearted. Hours are long and irregular, the work is often physically demanding and there are no fixed days off for the entire season, which can be up to 10 months of the year. But if the number of young South Africans that hire on year after year and re-apply to go back again, is anything to go by, then this is a job abroad with great potential. And they number in their hundreds.
You have to be fit though and healthy too and are required to take a face-to-face interview and a drug test before the company can send you on to the next bit of the application process. However, once you have accomplished all of this and have applied for your work visa, then the employer in America pays for your flight and all costs of orientation through your SA based recruiter. And you are ready to join the Carnival and travel and work America at the same time!
Although you get your accommodation free, you are required to pay for your own food and leisure activities (if you have the time and energy for them) but the cost of living in the US is relatively low and there are many opportunities to save your dollars. Be warned though, only those who have a can-do attitude, are disciplined and responsible, make it and are asked to return for future seasons. It is also a prerequisite that you speak, understand and communicate in good English. Those that party too hard or are lazy and don’t have the right attitude to the work, will be asked to leave (worst-case scenario) or just not get asked back for the following season. American employers are hard taskmasters and blunt which can seem rude and offensive to some; but if you are up to the challenge, this job could change your life and you will get to see America like no one else could – and grow as a person at the same time.
Working and travelling in America via the carnival route is a popular choice where you can earn money and see the world. There are many ways to do it including teaching English to foreign students (TEFL or TESOL) or signing on as crew on a Cruise ship or on a luxury yacht. You could use skills you already have to pay your way as you travel like working as a photographer or writer for a travel magazine or even as a travelling Yoga instructor. If you are a skilled athlete or have a special talent of any sort, you can get work on the Summer Camps and work with young adults or children. However, it must be noted that most of these jobs require you to have prior experience and certain qualifications before you can do them and that could cost a fair bit.
Other jobs that require less skill but rely predominantly on looks and attitude are jobs like working as a Chalet girl/guy at Ski resorts. This is an entry-level position and your duties include cleaning rooms, cooking and serving food. Shifts are long, you will start early and end late but often you’ll get several hours off during the day to ski. Other responsibilities include hosting, looking after children, and administrative duties. You usually get your accommodation, food, a lift pass, ski hire, as well as flights to and from the resort provided.
The same goes for working as an au pair overseas. The main requirement for this is a love of children and the ability to live in a strange country with a new family for anything up to a year or more. You would need a Police clearance certificate and references if you choose to work with children but you get a wage and free accommodation and food. Some families will even pay for your return flight too.