Archive for the ‘volunteer travel’ Category

Best Destinations for Ecotourism

Montserrat Volcano

Montserrat Volcano

Ecotourism is no longer trend that started in the 90’s to describe responsible travel to largely untouched areas. Now, it has largely realized its aim by creating an industry of conservation that offers clear benefits to the local community.  Recently, it’s become even more popular as traveler demand has driven a desire for destinations that are eco-friendly and modeled after sustainable practices. Plus, there’s nature and for those who can afford it, they want to escape. These destinations also often offer a bit more in terms of cultural activities and a means to learn more about the soul enriching ways of a local community.

With this in mind, we’re featuring three destinations that inspire: Montserrat, Trinidad & Tobago and Costa Rica –  with unspoiled beaches, uninhabited areas, and archeological sites that can only be accessed by hiking, biking or kayaking.

Lime Tree Cottage 1

Lime Tree Cottage – Montserrat

MONTSERRAT

With its mountainous terrain, hiking the trails on Montserrat is the best way to see the untouched areas of the island. Additionally, diving excursions allow visitors the unique opportunity to see beautiful volcanic rock formations and vibrant marine life that now thrives after the 1995 eruption of the previously dormant Soufriere Hills volcano.

Montserrat’s villas offer prime accommodations for couples, families, friends and even colleagues who long for an affordable upmarket Caribbean getaway with all the amenities of home. The secluded destination provide visitors with the ideal opportunity to experience a traditional Caribbean vacation in tranquil surroundings and away from large chain resorts, crowded beaches and traffic-jammed streets.

Most of the villas offer airport and ferry transfers, car rentals, stocked kitchens, housekeepers, baby-sitting services, cooks, and  villa-specific organized activities during your stay.

http://www.visitmontserrat.com/villas/

Rates start @USD $1,000/per week

From mid-April through mid-November for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom villa with a housekeeper, swimming pool, wet bar, wireless internet, washer and dryer. These villas are perfect for visitors looking to immerse in Montserrat’s volcano-viewing experience (considered a modern-day Pompeii), rich Irish heritage, bird-watching, hiking trails, aquatic adventures and more.

Argyle Waterfall_Main Ridge Rainforest

Argyle Waterfall – Trinidad & Tobago

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

Unlike its Caribbean counterparts, Trinidad & Tobago’s biodiversity is most similar to that of Venezuela. The best way to see its local flora and fauna is by hiking through its many trails, especially the Northern Mountain Range of Trinidad that was once attached to South America and the Main Ridge Rainforest in Tobago, the oldest protected reserve in the western hemisphere. The underwater scenery in Tobago is just as spectacular as it boasts more than 300 different species of coral, especially the largest brain coral in the world.

brain coral - credit Oswin Browne.jpg

Brain Coral (c) Oswin Browne

Acajou Hotel, Trinidad

This small, eco-friendly, family run hotel is situated in a little fishing village called Grande Riviere located on the beautiful and dramatic northern Coast of Trinidad. Flanked by the wide expanse of vegetation on the steep hills of the Northern range, Acajou (the French for ‘tropical wood’) offers travelers the opportunity to be one with nature, view it’s beauty in its simple majesty, rest to the soothing rhythms of the ocean, meditate on its treasures or simply have a unique candlelight dinner. The hotel is built as a group of traditional cottages nestled between the beach, a crystal clear river and mountains covered by lush rainforest. Influenced by Indonesian, Polynesian and Japanese architecture, the cabins are made of local and imported woods, including bamboo and are designed to create a feeling of complete privacy.

www.acajoutrinidad.com or call 868.670.3771

Asa Wright Nature Center Lodge, Trinidad

The original estate house of the former coffee-cocoa-citrus plantation has been beautifully remodeled over the years as a comfortable headquarters where guests gather to watch the incredible bird-life from the fabled verandah. Your observation time there is punctuated by a high tea in the afternoon and ends with a traditional complimentary rum punch cocktail as the sun sets over the Arima Valley. This main house and its several cottages nestled nearby in the lush flower-filled grounds are your home for one of the world’s best birding adventures. Not your classic Caribbean resort, the Centre’s “swimming pool” is a natural grotto on a free-running rain forest stream where guests can relax and escape from the tropical heat. All of the cottages feature rooms with private verandahs and guests can also retreat to their private oasis to observe the brilliantly colored birds found on the Centre grounds.

www.asawright.org

Cuffie River Nature Retreat and Ecolodge, Tobago

Located on the island of Tobago, this small yet intimate lodge is equipped with ten rooms, two of which are executive suites. Each has been tastefully furnished with private balcony. The design of the building has been carefully chosen to facilitate natural lights and air currents. Low wattage bulbs and solar lighting are also used throughout the grounds.  Conservation of water is of great importance given that the property uses rain and spring fed systems and successful practices have included short flushing toilets, rationalized washing and towel changes only when indicated by guests. To further maintain its natural ambiance smooth faced clay blocks and tile are used while furniture and other fixtures are all made from locally manufactured products. The lodge is situated on the edge of Tobago’s forest-the oldest in the western hemisphere. It is surrounded by bamboo groves, fresh water springs, exotic flowers and wildlife.

www.cuffieriver.com or call 868.660.0505

Footprints Eco Resort and Spa, Tobago

This 62-acre property is a designated nature preserve with hiking and bird watching trails galore. With the use of materials such as teak, wallaba slabs, and native recycled hardwood the resort has maximized the consumption of local, yet natural building materials. All rooms are equipped with solar water heaters, gas stoves and photovoltaic lighting. The hotel grows fresh organic herbs and vegetables throughout the property and prepares breads, ice creams, cakes, sauces, and even condiments, fresh daily. Surrounded by the virtually untouched Culloden Reef that begins a few feet from the shoreline of the property and is available for guests to snorkel and scuba dive, the resort offers the comfort of a modern hotel in a purely natural setting.

http://footprintsecoresort.com 

Footprints also makes properties as environmentally sensitive, and in connection with our environment, as possible by:

• Using traditional architecture, and reclaimed, recycled and local materials to a maximum

• Waste management  for grey water, runoff water, sewerage waste, and solid waste

• Fresh water conservation measures including sea water pools

• Kitchen waste and yard waste composting to reduce solid waste and provide organic fertilizer for gardens

• In-house organic garden produces fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, chicken, and honey for restaurant use to reduce food miles

• Bird and butterfly gardens with local wildflowers, fruit, food, and forest trees to attract wildlife and support the recovery of beneficial insects, such as butterflies and honeybees

• Support for local fishermen and farmers by showcasing local ingredients and traditional cuisine.

As they say, “Food shares the story of our culture through a medium that everyone can enjoy.”

Kariwak Holistic Haven Hotel, Tobago

A holistic haven and hotel, Kariwak Village has carved a distinctive niche with its award winning 2 acre garden bursting with tropical shrubs, foliage and flowering trees filled with bird song, dominated by the thatched roof ajoupa and its teak floor … the venue for Tai Chi, yoga, gentle stretching exercises, Buddhist meditation sessions and similar holistic activities. The Kariwak kitchen is supplied with abundant fresh herbs from the garden, those same herbs are lovingly transformed into delicious Caribbean meals which are served with a friendly smile in the open air restaurant.

www.kariwak.com or call 868.639.8442

Diving in Costa Rica

Diving in Costa Rica

COSTA RICA

Costa Rica’s ecotourism is one that enthusiasts cannot miss, featuring lush forests, thriving ecosystems and breathtaking waterfalls only accessible by foot. Just like Montserrat, Costa Rica has underwater volcanic rock formations which are home to various species of fish, rays, turtles and white-tip reef sharks alongside vibrant coral reefs.

Environmental sustainability is at the heart of Costa Rica’s tourism industry. For that reason, the Costa Rica Tourism Board introduced the Certification for Sustainable Tourism program in 1997. This program differentiates businesses of the tourism sector based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural, social and economic resource management. Visitors who choose to visit CST designated tourism companies such as hotels, tour operators and car rental companies support businesses that take proactive measures to avoid the negative impacts on the environment, culture and society. There are currently 346 hotel, tour operators, car rental agencies and theme parks certified under the program here, so check it out!

http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/sostenibilidad.asp?tab=0

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Volunteers Rebuild Nepal, Brick by Brick

nepal travel

One year has passed since the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April last year. While Nepal is doing everything it can to recover and rebuild, the country is still in need of significant aid and resources.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, Projects Abroad initiated a Disaster Relief Project to assist with the recovery process. Since the project began in June 2015, hundreds of Projects Abroad volunteers have made incredible progress in helping with the organization’s goal of restoring a safe learning environment for children in the Kathmandu Valley. Currently volunteers’ efforts are focused on reconstructing Yashaswi Gurukul English Secondary School, the sixth Disaster Relief site to date. Their help has been invaluable.

volunteer nepal

When the work at Yashaswi Gurukul is completed, the new building will also serve another purpose. As aftershocks continue even nine months later, and the fear of another large-scale quake remains, the school building will be able to serve as a safe gathering space for the local community, in case of further disaster. Projects Abroad staff estimate that work at this site will conclude in the next month or so, and then volunteers will move on to the next site where they are desperately needed.

Projects Abroad has made a commitment, not only through Disaster Relief but also through Teaching and Care Projects, to restore stability to the education of young students. In working with dedicated local experts and volunteers, the organization is striving to get Nepalese communities back on their feet, brick by brick!

For more information on how to get involved yourself with Disaster Relief work in Nepal, have a look here:

www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/building/disaster-relief/volunteer-nepal

 

Tribewanted, Adventure Needed? Look No Further, My Fine Friends

umbria

Who doesn’t want to be a part of a tribe?

Welcome back, cronies! Yes, we’ve been off the grid for a few weeks jaunting around Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Maui, but we’re heading back to home base and feeling better than ever. We also had a morsel of eco-travel awesomeness to share with our loyal adventurers.

Having already built a successful eco-tourism project on a beautiful and barely inhabited Fijian island and then created another sustainable project alongside a Sierra Leone beach community, say hello to Tribewanted because now they’ll be opening a new project, Monestevole, in the Italian region of Umbria.

Monestevole was originally built in the 15th century as a watch-tower for the nearby Monestevole castle. The 38 hectare hamlet was bought in 1997 by Alessio Giottoli and Valeria Cancian as a ruin, but was then restored over the next three years.

Now, travellers are being invited to join the community either as visiting tourists or as “tribe-members,” as they participate in turning a 15th century hamlet into a sustainable community. The project is open to everyone, and for those who prefer a more relaxing holiday, they can enjoy activities such as horseback riding and walks through the stunning surroundings, as well as the unique Umbrian food and music.

The family-friendly project, which opens in a few short weeks on March 21st, will welcome Tribewanted members and non-members.

So, want to be a Tribe Member?

Check out: www.beta.tribewanted.com/join, members become part owners of Tribewanted and will have the chance to directly impact the direction the organization takes by taking part in online votes on future locations and will receive 20% discounted accommodation rates.

Ahhh... Umbria

Ahhh… Umbria

From €60 ($77) a night or $457 a week for the bunk room, to between $127 a night and $762 a week for an apartment for non-members, including all meals and house wine.

www.Tribewanted.com

Go on an Eco-Expedition!

Welcome back from 2012, kiddies. We’ve been in hibernation mode, but we’re back in action now. We hope you got over what felt like a funky 2012, to welcome what is sure to be a better 2013. We can feel it. How do we know? Because we WANT it, guys. To that end, this just in…

Earthwatch volunteers use a dugout canoe to access parts of remote Kirindy Mitea National Park, on Madagascar. The volunteers are helping Dr. Luke Dollar (Pfeiffer University), a 2007 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, research the ecology of endangered carnivores on the island

Earthwatch volunteers use a dugout canoe to access parts of remote Kirindy Mitea National Park, on Madagascar. The volunteers are helping Dr. Luke Dollar (Pfeiffer University), a 2007 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, research the ecology of endangered carnivores on the island

Earthwatch Institute, the international environmental nonprofit and pioneer of “citizen science,” is launching six new expeditions in 2013. Whether you’d like to track chimps through the Ugandan forest (who wouldn’t?), climb aboard a boat to photograph dolphins of Costa Rica, or help unearth the ancient artifacts of Colorado’s earliest inhabitants, Earthwatch offers new ways to get involved in critical scientific research around the world. Earthwatch also offers hundreds of expeditions to about 60 research projects across nearly 40 countries. Since 1971, they’ve enabled people from all walks of life to join leading scientists in making a real contribution to the long-term research that is necessary for a healthy planet.

Earthwatch Expedition: Animals of Malawi in the Majete Wildlife Reserve

Animals of Malawi in the Majete Wildlife Reserve

Earthwatch inspires connections between people and the environment and provide a source of funding and people-power to those scientists carrying out crucial environmental research. For more than 40 years, they’ve pioneered the involvement of people from all walks of life in peer-reviewed scientific research worldwide, and inspired changes in mindset and organizational culture based on hands-on field research experiences.

Among the new expeditions is Animals of Malawi in the Majete Wildlife Reserve. On this 12 day experience, you’ll walk among elephant and eland – and perhaps even rhino or lion – in this spectacular ecosystem of savannah, woodland and rivers. You’ll track and count animals and assess predator-prey relationships to understand the effects of animal reintroduction and Reserve management.

Cynthia Evans, who joined Earthwatch expedition Trinidad’s Leatherback Sea Turtles in 2012 said, “This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I cannot wait to get my passport renewed and start planning my next expedition!”

Hanging with the sea turtles in Trinidad (c) All rights reserved by ubcgrs

Hanging with the sea turtles in Trinidad (c) All rights reserved by ubcgrs

Tom Wyatt said of Canopies, Climate, and Critters of the Ecuadorian Rainforest, “Like all valuable experiences, the best are the unexpected and unpredictable, from stumbling across a brace of toucans, to playing multi-lingual football in the clouds.”

A full list of new projects include:

  • Animals of Malawi in the Majete Wildlife Reserve
  • Tracking Chimps Through the Trees of Uganda
  • Safeguarding Whales and Dolphins in Costa Rica
  •  Investigating Whales and Dolphins of the Norwegian Arctic
  • Uncovering the Mysteries of Colorado’s Ancient Basketmakers New
  • Wildlife of Australia’s Cloud Forest

http://www.earthwatch.org/requestguideform

Some teen teams are available in addition to the standard teams, but for those looking for something truly unique… this is your jam.

Eco-Adventure in Costa Rica

Rio Celeste, Costa Rica

Rio Celeste, Costa Rica

Anyone looking for adventure in Costa Rica? One of our contacts recently told us about Endgame Adventures, founded in 2008. Featuring four programs and a full-season summer expedition based on health and wellness, academics, surf and performance fitness. Camp programs offer natural excusions and personal growth to restore mind, body and soul. Think: mountain hiking, waterfall tours, stand up paddle boarding, surfing, boogieboarding, canopy tours, boxing, yoga and even Capoeira. All adventures include healthy meal plans, full access to beachfront surfspots, 24-hour chaperones and hosts, local guides, wellness training, Spanish immersion, two 60-minute daily sessions of essay writing, revisions and editing, photographic opportunities, and exploring indigenous communities. Each adventure camp is held in one, two, three and four-week intervals and feature a plethora of activities coupled with new experiences of raw nature.

A group of young adventurers chillin' after dinner

A group of young adventurers chillin’ after dinner

Surf and service adventure camps allow individuals to partake in Costa Rica’s natural surf and assisting primary school students.  From providing 21 hours per week of service in a Costa Rican Sea Turtle hatchery to servicing students to become more responsible, define future goals and build self-confidence, individuals are exposed to the synergy of service and the connection to the environment. Held in singular or group formats, guests can select from four programs: health and wellness, academic, service and surf or performance fitness.

We worked for a similar program after college graduation and have to say…  it was life changing. So why not monkey around too?

Programs range from $2,500 for one week to $10,000 for the entire summer.

http://www.endgameadventures.com 

Rough It in One of Panama’s Largest Indigenous Reservations

LOCATION: Soloy, Panama

The Ngobe People of Panama

The Ngobe People of Panama

ORGANIZATION: Medo

WHAT VOLUNTEERS CAN DO: Teach English on an indigenous reserve, Build latrines and install drinking water systems, Develop a small village’s potential for ecotourism, Create their own projects
COSTS: Volunteering – Free!, Accommodations – US$36 per week (meals included)
MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS: Two-week time commitment, Intermediate Spanish, Medical insurance
This opportunity just flew into our inbox from the BarefootAtlas.com. We think it sounds pretty life-changing and just what you might need to transition into the fall. And when we say ‘roughing it’, we mean it. This isn’t Glamping for ladies who lunch.
The Ngöbe Indians who call Soloy home lack safe water, latrines, and adequate housing. Many cannot read or write, but they know well the value of their ancient culture and of the natural beauty that surrounds them. The Ngöbe are taking the reins of their own development, careful to grow slowly and not pay too high a price for it. With visionary grassroots leadership and a real need for volunteers, a local organization, Medo, is helping the community make the transition.

To volunteer with Medo is to live a life far different from any you’ve known. It’s not only a step into another culture but also a step back in time. Proud of their vivid culture, the Ngöbe people live today much as they did a century ago, farming small plots of land to feed their families, piously worshipping their native god, and celebrating their colorful traditions. Without electricity or running water, this volunteer opportunity cannot be called comfortable. However, for anyone looking for a meaningful cultural experience (and up to the challenge), living amongst the Ngöbe is the opportunity of a lifetime.

ORGANIZATION & BACKGROUND

Everyone knew Adán Bejerano was bright. Still, it was an exhilarating surprise to the community when he was offered a two-year scholarship to study natural resource management in the United States. Adán studied hard, and when he returned in 2003 he began using what he’d learned abroad to better his community.

In 2005, with the help of Canadian and American friends, Adán founded a non-profit. He called it Medo after a local legend who freed the Ngöbe people from oppression. Its mission is both simple and broad, fitting of a truly homegrown organization: to improve the lives of Soloy’s people. Over the years, that mission has lead to a variety of small-scale projects in agriculture, health, business development, education, women’s issues, and more. Whatever community needs arise, Medo responds with whatever resources it can muster. The organization’s ultimate vision is an economically developed Soloy that has preserved its environment and Ngöbe culture.

Panama (c) Ryan Lash Photography

Panama (c) Ryan Lash Photography

VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS

Medo is a tiny organization with incredibly limited staff and resources. Volunteers are vital to the organization’s success. In fact, many programs cease entirely when there are no volunteers to take charge of them. The limited resources also constrain them to hosting only four volunteers at a time. Therefore, it’s critical that every volunteer they accept be independent and capable of taking on a great deal of responsibility. Medo volunteers can choose to work in several different areas:

ECOTOURISM
Medo envisions a future where Soloy has become an ecotourism hotspot. With vast untouched forests surrounding it, the tiny village clearly has potential. But Soloy has a lot of work to do before it can take full advantage of Panama’s booming tourism industry. Volunteers in the ecotourism program help local families set up hostels, restaurants, and tourism activities as well as market the village as a tourist destination.

ENGLISH
Soloy has a charming cinder block school with a little over 100 students (aged 6 to 12) that welcomes volunteers to teach English classes. Experience, while not required, is preferred because this post is not a particularly easy one. Class sizes are large (up to 30 children) and the students’ level of proficiency is low. But Adán, in addition to running Medo, heads the school’s English program so volunteer teachers receive plenty of oversight and support.

Typically, volunteers in this program also hold English classes in the evenings for adults. Teaching resources are in short supply, so bringing an ESL book with sample lessons is encouraged.

WATER & SANITATION
Many homes in Soloy’s nearby rural communities lack access to clean water and basic sanitation. The health implications of this are profound (and depressing). When it can find funding, Medo works with families to install rain catchment systems and build latrines. Medo provides the materials and know-how, and recipients of these life-saving home improvements participate in the process by donating the necessary labor. Building a latrine takes two full weeks. During that time the recipient family is educated on water safety and sanitation as well as a number of other important health issues. Volunteers in this program hike to the rural communities each day to help with construction and provide basic health education.

traditional-ngobe-dance

Traditional Ngobe Dance

OTHER IDEAS
Volunteers with their own project ideas are welcome. Adán figures himself a good judge of what projects have the potential to succeed in his community. If a project is worth doing, he can get the community behind it. Note: If your project requires funds you will have to secure them yourself.

WHAT TO EXPECT

ORIENTATION
Incoming volunteers receive a tour of the village and an informal presentation on the Ngöbe history, culture, and language. Work-related training happens on the job.

SCHEDULE
There’s not much electricity in Soloy, which makes for early nights and early mornings. Workdays always start at 8 a.m. Some volunteers choose to contribute just two or three hours a day; others work a full eight. It’s your choice. The work week is Monday through Friday. Volunteer teachers should be aware that school ends at 2 p.m. and is closed on Fridays, leaving three-day weekends for exploring Panama.

ACCOMMODATIONS
Medo arranges homestays with local families for their volunteers. They cost US$36 per week and include all meals. People in Soloy live in very simple wooden shelters without electricity or plumbing. While rustic, many volunteers list living with a traditional Ngöbe family as a highlight of their experience.

A second option is to live in the Medo office with Adán and his brother. The office has a tin roof and cement floor, easily making it the nicest place in Soloy. Volunteers pay only US$5 per week for the spare room that they share with, at most, one other volunteer. Meals are not included and there is no kitchen, so volunteers who stay at the office have to eat out for every meal.

Regardless of which housing option they choose, volunteers can expect bucket showers and outside pit latrines. Bathing in the river is also common. Note that bathing suits on women are considered culturally inappropriate. Ngöbe women bathe in the river fully dressed and female volunteers are asked to do the same.

FOOD
Homestay arrangements include three meals a day. The cuisine is traditional Ngöbe, meaning simple plates of rice, beans, and seasonal fruits or vegetables. Meat is expensive and therefore rarely served. A few humble restaurants sell fried chicken if you need a treat.

TIME OFF & SOCIALIZING
The pace of life and work in Soloy is slow. Volunteers have a lot of downtime. Hiking to other villages, horseback riding, and learning the Ngöbe language are the most popular pastimes. The Peace Corps has two members in Soloy who are good at welcoming new volunteers to the area. It’s common for volunteers to take the bus to the beach or David on the weekends, especially since drinking alcohol in Soloy is forbidden.

STAYING CONNECTED
Soloy only recently received cell phone coverage. Volunteers can pick up a prepaid phone in David or Panama City for US$20. Getting online requires a bus trip to David.

WHAT TO BRING
Soloy is not an easy place to stay healthy. Volunteers should bring a mosquito net and lots of iodine tablets for purifying water. Bug spray is worth its weight in gold. Also important to remember are a flashlight and, for women, conservative clothing.

VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS

Volunteers are asked to commit a minimum of two weeks with Medo. Applicants should hold a college degree (or be working toward one) and speak intermediate Spanish. Volunteers are also required to procure health insurance for the length of their stay.

COSTS & DONATIONS

Volunteers do not pay any fees to volunteer with Medo. They must, however, cover their own living and eating expenses (approximately US$40 per week). Anyone coming from abroad is encouraged to bring school supplies. Cash donations are also welcome. To make a financial donation from abroad, writecloeweatconcern@earthlink.net for detailed instructions.

GETTING THERE

Adán is happy to meet volunteers in David if they need it. Those who are comfortable taking the bus to Soloy are met at the bus stop.

HOW TO APPLY

Download the volunteer application from the web site and fill it out. Along with the basics, it asks some open-ended questions about what you hope to accomplish and why you are interested.

There is no Internet access in Soloy so it may be several weeks before you receive a response. If you don’t hear back after a month, follow up with a phone call. Medo has been able to accommodate walk-ins in the past, but prefers applications be submitted four months in advance to allow time to arrange housing. Medo accepts no more than four volunteers at any one time.

medo.awardspace.com
medovolunteers@gmail.com

Australia: A Work Travel Experience Program

Working Hard Down Under

Diana Chowdhury of Alliance Abroad Group, ‘working’ hard to enjoy herself on the Great Barrier Reef

Normally, I’m happy to be over the age of thirty as the twenties sure were fun, but I have little desire to go back to the days when I had such self-doubt and concern over making a living and having a future. Alas, I have reached an age where I am much more zen and content, but when I read about a program like this… it makes me yearn for the days when I, too, could get a job Down Under and sail through my youth (or lounge on Bondi Beach). Ahhhh…

Alliance Abroad Group’s Work Experience Australia Program has just launched and we wanted you to be the first to know about this exciting new program for anyone under the age of 30 years old. Just in time for Summer 2012, this program is a perfect opportunity for hospitality and tourism professionals and young adults to have a guaranteed job placement while gaining international paid experience. The first of it’s kind to guaranteed jobs prior to leaving the U.S., you’ll meet with all of the employers and experience staff lifestyle first hand – familiarizing yourself with the working and social environment each employer has to offer.

Dancing with the locals

Dancing with the Aborigines. She sure is cute!

In partnership with Tourism Queensland, the Alliance Abroad Group (AAG), a 20-year-old cultural exchange organization, is expanding its offerings to the South Pacific. Launching this spring, AAG’s Work Experience Australia program offers American students and young professionals an opportunity to enrich their lives with a cultural exchange to gain valuable, paid work experience and international experience on the pristine beaches of the Great Barrier Reef.

This first-of-its-kind program guarantees participants a job placement in advance of their travels as well as travel insurance and assistance with visa paperwork, transportation and in-country needs while abroad. These components provide ease of mind to those participating as the place of work and wage will be secured before departure in addition to on-the-ground support throughout their stay. AAG actively recruits and pre-screens potential candidates nationwide and matches them to appropriate tourism and hospitality employers to ensure employment expectations are met on both sides – employer and employee.

Surf's Always Up for Aussies

Surf’s Always Up for Aussies and Those Who Love Them

One of the many participating employers in AAG’s Work Experience Australia program is Hamilton Island’s luxurious resort, qualia, considered one of the finest resort properties in the world. When not gaining invaluable professional experience with international clientele at four- and five-star resorts, students spend time experiencing the beauty and wonder that the magnificent Great Barrier Reef offers. Additionally, the tax refund students earn will likely provide enough monetary means to account for the program fee and airfare to Australia.

Profile of Work Experience Australia Candidate
• Students, recent grads and young professionals
• Under the age of 30 upon entry into Australia

Work Experience Australia Program Types
• Signature –train and work with world-class, award-wining hotels and resorts, learning from some of the finest in the industry.
• Horizons –for those who want to work in a variety of departments and get a full-picture of the industry with exposure to a number of facets of the hotel business.
• Specialist –enhance specialized skills for those who want to build upon a specific skill set such as massage therapy.

$2500 Program fee includes:
• Guaranteed Job Placement in Tourism/Hospitality (Paid on average $18 a hour)
• Facilitation in paperwork for Visa
• 24/7 support before, after and on the ground support while in Australia
• Travel Insurance
• Assistance finding housing, flights and support adjusting to the local culture

Time Frame:
• May, June, September 2012 departures
• 3 -6 month positions (with the option of two 6-month positions)
• Travel within the country for up to a total of 12 months

Example Job Description:

• Service attendant – island resort, Great Barrier Reef. Weekly Earnings: 38 hours+ @ $18.20 p/hr = $691.60 minus tax/housing/utilities = Net Pay $544 p/week. (a proportion of taxes are refundable upon after departure from Australia)

Apply here: http://australia.allianceabroad.com

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