Travel is the Best Form of Education

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Deciding what to do as a career has been a mind boggling frustration for me since before I can remember. There is so much pressure from those around us, trying to force us at the meer age of 17 or 18 to make life changing decisions. In our final year of high school, we are told to choose a university, choose a degree, and head off to study the following year. However for me, I was unsure, and still am, as to what i’d like to pursue. The only thing I knew is that I wanted to gain some life experience to help me figure out what path I wanted to take.

It has now been 4 years since I finished high school – and I still have yet to have attended a university. Some people may think that i’m avoiding it. Others might see it as an escape from reality.
But you know what? It’s not made for everyone.
Why should I have to choose something, pay a lot of money to study it, then come out of my degree in debt and unhappy, just because humanity has made me feel like I must follow that certain path? I don’t.

It was only last week when I had a thought – why does it matter if I don’t attend a university. I’m young. I’m only 21 years old and I have my whole life ahead of me. This doesn’t mean that I will indefinitely cross out university as an option for the future, but for now, I want to live my life how I want. I shouldn’t be worrying about the future, I should be focusing on the now and enjoying every day as it comes.
It has taken a while for me to get to this point, because I used to think it was immoral to not attend university, but i’m here.

Travel has given me so much more than expected. What people don’t realise, is that you will gain so much experience and learn so much more than you could ever have imagined by travelling the world, instead of sitting in a classroom for hours a day. Yes, you do learn a lot by achieving a degree, but all you’re doing is learning. You’re not experiencing it first hand. You’re not getting out there and exploring the vast opportunities that the world has to offer.

For those of you whose decision is unclear, I advise you to educate yourself and travel the world! Stop worrying about what others will think, live your life for you, to make yourself happy, not others.
Don’t say it’s not possible, anything is possible. There are plenty of ways to be able to afford to travel overseas. At the top of my list is to work abroad – loads of countries offer working holiday visas for people aged under 30!

So get out there, see the world, gain life experience, grow, and enjoy every minute!

How to Become an Au Pair

After my most recent post on 10 Reasons to Become an Au Pair, I have had a number of people contact me asking how I became an au pair. Becoming an au pair may seem like a long lengthly process, but if you do enough research and prepare yourself, it can be easy.

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1. Is this the right decision?
To start with, you need to think about when you want to do it and if you really want to do it. Do you want to begin as soon as you find a family? Wait 6 months to save money? Are you prepared to drop everything and move?
The decision is yours, but it needs to be made before going any further.

2. Where do I want to be an Au Pair?
Next you need to think about where you’d like to be an au pair. Almost every country in the world has families searching for au pairs!

3. Agency or not?
Now its time to decide if you’d like to go through an agency or not. I myself did not go through an agency, I went through the website aupair-world, which I highly recommend. It is a great website, and I have met plenty of other au pairs who have gone through this website also.

4. What family to choose?
Finally, it is time to find your host family. When you go through an agency, they will organise a few potential family choices for you. If you go through a website, such as au pair world, you have the chance to choose your family yourself. No matter what path you choose to find a family, make sure you are comfortable with your choice of family. Skype them, email them, get to know them on a better level before saying yes.

5. Do I need a visa and how do I get it?
Now that you have a host family, you need to apply for a visa. Depending on your choice of destination, most countries require au pairs to have a valid visa. However, if you are from the EU, wanting to be an au pair in the EU, then you are in luck and do not need to obtain a visa.
To get a visa, there are usually a number of requirements needed. To check your requirements for your chosen destination, you need to look at the website for their Embassy in your country.
For Example: If you’re from America and want to be an au pair in France, you need to visit the site of the ‘French Embassy in America’. In most cases, all countries require a ‘work contract’ filled out by your host family, signed by them and you, and then stamped by the immigration office of your chosen destination. The process of getting a visa can range from 1 month to 3 months.

6. I now have my visa, what’s next?
Get excited! Pack, prepare, and say goodbye! It’s now time to head off overseas on your life changing adventure! Becoming an au pair has given me so many amazing opportunities and I hope it can do the same for you!

5 Packing Tips For A Year Overseas

  1. Make a packing list
    This is one of the most important rules when it comes to packing your bags for that big OE your about to embark on. Not only can you tick it off to make sure your items are in your bag, it helps not to forget the important things like a toothbrush and underwear!
    I tend to either write up a list on my computer then print it off, or I use the iPhone app ‘Packing Pro’ – it’s been a major help in actually reminding me things I need to take or do, and you can check things off when you have placed it in your bag.
  2. Packing Cubes
    My saving grace – these are a recent discovery to me, but man do they make a difference in my packing. If your like me, after one minute of looking through your suitcase, it soon looks like a bomb as hit your bag and your clothing is everywhere. Packing Cubes are the ultimate travel organisers because they help you maximise the space in your bag so you can fit all your belongings in an organised and efficient way using minimal space.
  3. Facing Reality
    You know that dress you’ve had in your closet for almost 5 years now? the top that has been your favourite since you were 15 years old and you just can’t bring yourself to throw it away? It’s time to face reality, because these ‘precious’ items we have had since we can remember, wont be making it into your suitcase.
  4. 3 Month Rule
    If you haven’t worn it for more than three months, you most likely wont wear it while your away.
  5. If you can get it at your destination, don’t take it with you
    When it comes to things like toiletries, or your favourite shampoo and nail polish, you can most likely purchase the same items at your travel destination – this will save you loads of space and take off a few kilos from that heavy suitcase.