Top Travel Tips

Working abroad, on a programme like Workaway International, requires a lot of hard work and dedication.  Your free time is treasured so it is important that you make the most of it!
Using your free time constructively will make you feel more productive and accomplished in all that you do – be it exploring your own creativity, indulging in new hobbies, or learning unique things outside the workplace – which is why it is important to travel, and to see and do as much as possible.
Charlotte Quenet-Meintjes, head of Workaway International South Africa, has seen thousands of young South Africans venture overseas and have the experience of a lifetime.  Workaway International is a successful recruitment agency that places South Africans in five star country clubs in the US to work in various hospitality-related fields.
“Our recruits work extremely hard on the programme, but they also take full advantage of their free time and create the most unforgettable memories while in the US,” says Quenet-Meintjes. “Six months may seem like a long time, but before you know it, your journey s over and it’s time to come home.  This is why we encourage all of our recruits to make use of their free time in the best ways possible.”
Quenet-Meintjes shares some all-important dos and don’ts for making the most out of your spare time while working abroad:
DO: Keep fit and healthy – No matter where in the world you might be, exercising and looking after yourself is important. “Try new and exciting ways to exercise that aren’t boring or mundane – that way it will help you feel more inspired to get out and do it,” says Quenet-Meintjes. “Shake things up by taking a dance class; swim in the ocean or at the local gym; or get a group together and go running, walking or cycling so that you can explore the natural surroundings.”
DO: Volunteer – Spending some time doing volunteer work is the best way to give something back to society, especially when it’s for a good cause. “Volunteering will benefit both you and your community as it helps you gain experience and build your knowledge, while also helping you to grow as a person,” says Quenet-Meintjes. “Having volunteer work on your resumé also shows qualities that can set you apart from the rest,” she adds.
DO: Socialise – Socialising is another important way of spending your time constructively. “You want to meet as many people as possible when abroad, so it is best to start with making friends with the locals – they will play a big part in helping you get to know the city,” advises Quenet-Meintjes. The opportunity to learn from different people is vast and one should always take advantage of this.  Get to know some of the people you work with, and get to know people they know, too.
DO: Travel and step out of that comfort zone – “Travelling is one of the best parts of working abroad because you are blessed with the opportunity to experience so many different and exciting places,” explains Quenet-Meintjes. You should always try new things you wouldn’t normally do back home: “Go see, do and experience whatever you can for as long as you can!” she concludes.
DON’T: Let homesickness ruin the experience – The combination of culture shock, new people and a new home can create homesickness. “This is completely normal and naturally you will feel it from time to time, but try not to let it get the better of you,” says Quenet-Meintjes. Keep in contact with family and friends which will give you the comfort you need when in a foreign place.
DON’T: End up on the wrong side of the law – The last thing you want is to land yourself in trouble when you are hundreds of km away from home. “Be very careful not to break any laws when you are overseas – if something were to go wrong, one night of fun can easily turn into something extremely serious, so it is best to avoid situations that can take a turn for the worse,” advises Quenet-Meintjes.
DON’T: Be afraid to not have a plan – It’s okay to not have planned every moment of every day when you’re in another country – sometimes it is best to do things you never would have thought of doing before. “Try exploring the city independently and finding your favourite spots around town,” suggests Quenet-Meintjes. “Often it’s good to just go with the flow and see what unfolds.  You never know what may be in store for you!” she adds.

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