If you’ve been there, done that, perhaps you are ready for a different kind of travel experience, one where you quit being a tourist and actually contribute something to the people and places you are visiting. Some folks have found an outlet lecturing and teaching on cruise ships in exchange for the voyage, which could be a good way to get your feet wet, so to speak. But if you think cultural immersion is more your speed, consider these examples.
Susan and David Cooper, 60-something world travelers, recently spent a week in Spain, helping a motivated group of business people hone their conversational English skills with Pueblo Ingles. One week of accommodations and food (both rated excellent) in exchange for their services; they paid their own airfare. Barcelona or Madrid, anyone?
Global Volunteers is an organization that puts the skills of experienced professionals to use in the developing world in what it calls a volunteer vacation abroad. Goals are similar to those of the Peace Corps: an interchange of ideas and cultures that enable volunteers and their hosts to learn from one another, but for shorter stays. World travel enthusiasts Herbert and Phyllis Goldberg are active Global Volunteers. Their first assignment took them to Vietnam for three weeks, where they “taught conversational English, advised in the hospital and medical clinics (Herb is a former plastic surgeon, Phyllis, a marriage and family therapist), taught medical and psychological policy and the American way of life.”
Your English language skills could also get you a job abroad for a longer period of time. The Oxford Seminars TESOL/TESL Teacher Training Certification Course offers a 60-hour in-class course. Graduates receive an internationally-recognized certificate and six months of free job placement assistance through its teacher placement department.
Where in the world would you like to teach? asks World Teach, a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded by a group of Harvard students in 1986. World Teach “provides opportunities for individuals to make a meaningful contribution to international education by living and working as volunteer teachers in developing countries.”