dinsdag 31 mei 2016

Language learning with internships and volunteering

Think to combine language lessons with an internship or volunteering? Great idea! To be a volunteer or to do an internship changes your life. And learning a language is good for too many things to name here.

Volunteering makes you happy! ©
However, beware of internships for profit. Some very intelligent businessmen sell internships and voluntary work at very high prices. Want to intern in China for a month? Language classes, transport and accommodation included? The bill is $5000 (4500 euro), without flights. Volunteering a week in South America, same conditions? Please pay $900 (800 euro). Well you have to pay extra for the language classes though.

So before you book any programme: check the cheaper alternatives. A good indication is the quality of the website: the better looking, the more money they put into marketing. And the more money they want to make from you. One tip: Go Overseas compares programmes in a more or less decent way. And here are my favourite ways or tips:

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) has non-EU destinations as well. It takes some time to figure things out, but what you need is a local ngo and an ngo abroad where you can volunteer. Usually, you'll get accommodation for free, some pocket money and free language classes. Flights are also paid. One thing though: you have to be between 18 and 30 years old.

Youth organisation AIESEC has 100 000 members in over 130 countries. You can even find paid internships all over the world in the sector of your choice. It focused mainly on youngsters studying economics or business, but there are many other options. However, language classes are not guaranteed.

Did you think of doing an internship at one of your embassies? You'll have to figure a lot of things out yourself, like accommodation and transport. One advantage: usually embassies don't charge any fees for their interns.

How about contacting an ngo yourself, directly? Search for a list of ngo's in the country of your choice on the internet and ask if you can work there for a few weeks. They might even teach you their language for free.

And many international organisations have some kind of language classes for their interns. A number of them even pay their interns.

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