It’s crunch time for finding a job, registering for summer school, or booking flights for your next big vacation. For those of you who know me, you’d know I went on an AIESEC exchange in the summer of 2017 to Hsinchu, Taiwan to teach English in an elementary school. I want to share with you my experience for those of you who are considering doing any international exchange! Here are the Top 5 Things that I enjoyed from my exchange. Keep reading if you’re unsure whether or not to go abroad this summer as I address some common concerns!
1. Creating Relationships Halfway Across the World
I got to meet amazing people halfway across the world who I still keep in contact with to this day.
2. Eating Different Food
I LOVE FOOD! Widen your culinary palette and taste all the food you can! If you go to Taiwan, you HAVE to try the stinky tofu, shaved iced, and street side Taiwanese popcorn chicken!
3. Getting to Live Beyond a Normal Tourist
Especially with an internship/volunteering, you are going to be fully immersed into the culture. You’ll be surprised by how much you will learn about the place, the people, the culture, and yourself in just a few months.
4. Upping Your Insta Game
5. Learning About Yourself
When you have so much time on your own and away from your regular day to day life, you tend to reflect a lot about yourself. I came back from my trip in a much stronger headspace. Travel on!
Now a lot of people know how fun it is to go abroad. But let’s be real – there are so many things that hold you back. I want to address some common concerns of going abroad for a summer that will hopefully help you make your decision!
Money is an issue.
This is probably one of the biggest concerns with going abroad. Luckily, many internships abroad offer paid positions. AIESEC offers paid positions that will just perfectly cover your expenses during your time there. You’ve just got to do your research! Plus, many of these internships only last two months, which gives you another two months to find a regular summer job.
Will I be at a disadvantage for finding a job next year?
NO! You will most definitely not. Travelling and working/volunteering abroad is a huge accomplishment. Don’t sell yourself short. It is something that you can talk about in great lengths in any of your future endeavours.
I don’t want to be living in a sketchy place.
The beauty of going on a trip and volunteering is getting to see what it’s really like – and not just the sugar-coated tourist experience. Don’t go expecting to be living in hotel standard places because odds are, you won’t. This is an opportunity to jump far out of your comfort zone and you should embrace it. It’s all part of the experience! Although I had the opportunity to live with host families, I know Exchange Participants that stayed at dinky buildings – but found that to be one of the best aspects of their trip because of how close they bonded with everyone.
If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me a message! Check out my travel vlogs from my trip to Taiwan on YouTube. Otherwise, safe travels + dream on! For those of you at Western University, AIESEC is hosting an Exchange Info Session on April 5th. Go check it out to learn more!