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Old 03-12-2010, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
677 posts, read 1,391,162 times
Reputation: 630

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I currently live in Wisconsin and am incredibly sick of life in the U.S. I think that it would be very fulfilling to live in other countries and experience a different way of living.

I'm 19 years old, almost 20. I'm currently attending an in-state University. When I finish this semester, I'll have a total of 22 credits, which will still make me a freshman. (Had trouble committing to school the first time around) I'm wondering if I should stay in school for another 3 years or so and get a degree, THEN go explore the world or if I should just pack up after this semester.

I don't know what I want to major in so I'd probably just pick something random, this is one reason that I would like to travel before I finish school, so that I can have a better idea of what I'd like to do. I think that having life experiences outside of my boring life here would help me to decide what I'm most interested in. Also, I just plain am not enjoying college. I'm working and going to school and I could see it being worth it if I was pursuing something that I was really interested in, but honestly, I don't really care about it because I'm not pursuing something that I'm passionate about. It's more of a take it or leave it kind of thing for me. I'm just not incredibly interested in school or work right now.

However, I don't know how easily I would be able to find work in other countries without a degree. Does that even matter? I've never left the United States so I don't know very much about this topic. I have a few student loans that I would need to pay back (however, not many because of my limited time in school) so I would absolutely need to work. I am very interested in languages so I don't think that a language barrier would be much of a problem. I am fairly skilled in Spanish already but would love to pick up another couple languages. So I'm not looking at only English-speaking countries.

I am hoping to hear from some people who have lived and worked abroad. All countries are welcome, because at this point I'm not sure where exactly I would like to go. Every place that I look into seems to be incredible. The continents that I'm most interested in are South America, Asia, Europe and Africa. So..yeah. That doesn't narrow it down too much

Thank you so much for any advice or experiences that you can share. I really really appreciate it!!
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:58 AM
 
6,209 posts, read 9,443,687 times
Reputation: 7462
Quote:
Originally Posted by mchelle View Post
I currently live in Wisconsin and am incredibly sick of life in the U.S. I think that it would be very fulfilling to live in other countries and experience a different way of living.

I'm 19 years old, almost 20. I'm currently attending an in-state University. When I finish this semester, I'll have a total of 22 credits, which will still make me a freshman. (Had trouble committing to school the first time around) I'm wondering if I should stay in school for another 3 years or so and get a degree, THEN go explore the world or if I should just pack up after this semester.

I don't know what I want to major in so I'd probably just pick something random, this is one reason that I would like to travel before I finish school, so that I can have a better idea of what I'd like to do. I think that having life experiences outside of my boring life here would help me to decide what I'm most interested in. Also, I just plain am not enjoying college. I'm working and going to school and I could see it being worth it if I was pursuing something that I was really interested in, but honestly, I don't really care about it because I'm not pursuing something that I'm passionate about. It's more of a take it or leave it kind of thing for me. I'm just not incredibly interested in school or work right now.

However, I don't know how easily I would be able to find work in other countries without a degree. Does that even matter? I've never left the United States so I don't know very much about this topic. I have a few student loans that I would need to pay back (however, not many because of my limited time in school) so I would absolutely need to work. I am very interested in languages so I don't think that a language barrier would be much of a problem. I am fairly skilled in Spanish already but would love to pick up another couple languages. So I'm not looking at only English-speaking countries.

I am hoping to hear from some people who have lived and worked abroad. All countries are welcome, because at this point I'm not sure where exactly I would like to go. Every place that I look into seems to be incredible. The continents that I'm most interested in are South America, Asia, Europe and Africa. So..yeah. That doesn't narrow it down too much

Thank you so much for any advice or experiences that you can share. I really really appreciate it!!
Well why in the world would you do all that when you can just VISIT those countries instead? First of all, have you contacted or checked into study abroad programs in your university? Most Universities have them you know. You don't have to pack up ALL of your things. You can go to another country, study the language and culture for a few weeks, and come back to the University.

Second, like I mentioned before, you can always visit. EF Tours has a particular program made for college students. It's called College Break (http://http://www.efcollegebreak.com/ - broken link). College kids from all around the country travel on these trips to different countries to learn about and experience the culture. They go to Japan, Spain, Greece, France, etc. Your in a group and you get to go there and learn all about it. I have been only on EF Tours to France with a majority of high school students. It was great fun. You might want to consider College Break. You can go practically anywhere.

Third, it's too much of a hassle and heartache to move to another country while your still trying to hold down your college career. You just started! Wouldn't you rather get your bachelors first and then consider moving? Or better yet wait until you finish college period!

Fourth, your in Wisconsin! If you really are tired of it so much, there's 49 different states you can visit or move to! If your willing to move to another country, I'm sure you can move across the states. Most states just require you become a resident to qualify for in-state tuition charges for college. So move there, get a job and work for a year and get your state license, and go back to college. You can visit anywhere. California, New York, Texas, Florida, etc. All of those states have young and hip cities for you to reside in.
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
677 posts, read 1,391,162 times
Reputation: 630
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenk893 View Post
Well why in the world would you do all that when you can just VISIT those countries instead? First of all, have you contacted or checked into study abroad programs in your university? Most Universities have them you know. You don't have to pack up ALL of your things. You can go to another country, study the language and culture for a few weeks, and come back to the University.

Second, like I mentioned before, you can always visit. EF Tours has a particular program made for college students. It's called College Break (http://http://www.efcollegebreak.com/ - broken link). College kids from all around the country travel on these trips to different countries to learn about and experience the culture. They go to Japan, Spain, Greece, France, etc. Your in a group and you get to go there and learn all about it. I have been only on EF Tours to France with a majority of high school students. It was great fun. You might want to consider College Break. You can go practically anywhere.

Third, it's too much of a hassle and heartache to move to another country while your still trying to hold down your college career. You just started! Wouldn't you rather get your bachelors first and then consider moving? Or better yet wait until you finish college period!

Fourth, your in Wisconsin! If you really are tired of it so much, there's 49 different states you can visit or move to! If your willing to move to another country, I'm sure you can move across the states. Most states just require you become a resident to qualify for in-state tuition charges for college. So move there, get a job and work for a year and get your state license, and go back to college. You can visit anywhere. California, New York, Texas, Florida, etc. All of those states have young and hip cities for you to reside in.
Well, my idea was to initially visit places that I'm interested in and then when I find a place that I really like, just settle there or find more permanent lodgings. I have thought about study abroad but it's pretty expensive and I feel like it wouldn't be as free of a trip as if I could go there alone or with my fiance. I'm more in it for the adventure aspect and getting fully immersed in their culture than just going to see the sights.

And for that reason, I'd probably just forget about college for a while if I end up living abroad. I really don't care if I have a degree or not, unless it's really going to significantly hinder my job prospects. I was thinking that there would be other jobs available for people to work, but I could be wrong. I suppose this varies TREMENDOUSLY between countries but was still hoping to get some input here.

I suppose that I could live in another state, but it would still feel so familiar overall. I think that it would be a truly life altering experience to explore different countries and gain insight to their people, customs and culture firsthand instead of through a book or movie.

I could definitely be getting ahead of myself with not wanting to finish college, but if it is possible for me to get a job doing something that doesn't require a college degree, I would be more than happy to do that. I don't need to make a ridiculous amount of money, just enough for necessities. However, if there's no way in hell that I'm going to get a job without one...it would probably be better to get that out of the way first.

Thank you for your suggestions.
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:53 AM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
5,132 posts, read 10,379,469 times
Reputation: 3924
Quote:
Originally Posted by mchelle View Post
I could definitely be getting ahead of myself with not wanting to finish college, but if it is possible for me to get a job doing something that doesn't require a college degree, I would be more than happy to do that. I don't need to make a ridiculous amount of money, just enough for necessities. However, if there's no way in hell that I'm going to get a job without one...it would probably be better to get that out of the way first.
keep in mind that there is an end to everything, even college, so hang on for a few more years. After that, you will say: *wasn't that bad ....*

Yes, you may find work, without having *that piece of paper*, but sometime after, you will get stuck and no advancement after that, simply because of that piece of paper.

People live .... and that means, they change ....
What you feel like today may be 180 degrees off in a few years.
What is *a ridiculous amount of money*, anyway ?????
*Just enough for necessities .... ????*

Just remember how many are NOT able to receive a college education.

Now here my take on living and working abroad.
It took me 17 long years to get my Masters, but all I can say is that it paid off in the long run.
I was asked to come to the USA, because I had an education and experience needed here in the USA.
Then because of knowing/learning other languages, I was also asked to work in other countries.
All because I stuck with it !!!!
We have 5 kids, and our only claim to fame, is that they ALL have their degrees now.
It has cost us (as parents) a fortune, but I live very comfortable now since they now *support us*.
Where are our kids now ??
All over the world, because of their degrees and knowledge of other languages.

All the best in your quest for *a better life*.

Last edited by irman; 03-13-2010 at 11:04 AM..
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Old 03-13-2010, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
13,295 posts, read 12,259,289 times
Reputation: 6622
The best age is whatever age you are at this exact moment. Not the age you'll be next year, or the age you'll be tomorrow, the age you are NOW. You might not get to the next year or even the next day.

I've been lucky enough to have spent time in 9 countries on three continents and I don't appreciate it EVERY day, but just about.

You can always teach English abroad

Dave's ESL Cafe
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Australia
8,010 posts, read 2,695,841 times
Reputation: 38412
I moved from the UK to Australia at the age of 21 (looking for adventure and decent weather), expecting to stay a couple of years... 40 years later I'm still here. Not so many adventures these days, but I still love the decent weather!

My daughter had a gap year (after school/before college) because she didn't have her heart in the idea of yet more years of studying. During that year she and I travelled for several months in UK, Europe and USA ... and then she went to college with a bucketful of enthusiasm for it. After getting her degree and a couple of years job experience, she headed back to the UK where she's been working for the last four years. She plans on returning to Australia for good some time this year (the weather has finally gotten to her)!

I really recommend that young people travel as much and as often as they can - and heartily believe that saying - "travel broadens the mind". So I say go for it!

One option you could consider is a 12-month student visa in Australia (I think they also have something similar in New Zealand). I understand it's really easy to get this visa, and it allows you to work here and there while you travel round the country. You won't be lonely - there are gazillions of students from all over the world backpacking around, picking up casual work when they need to bolster their $ kitty, gaining new experiences, learning about life ... and having a ball. Google Australian student work visas if you're interested.

Good luck!
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:36 PM
 
2,665 posts, read 3,715,772 times
Reputation: 2794
If you go to only English-speaking countries, and before you earn any academic credentials, then you will be nigh unemployable. I suggest the following:

1. Take a vacation trip to the area in which you are interested.
2. Get rid of the English-speaking only requirement. There are many English speakers around the world, even where the major local language is different.
3. Go back to school after the vacation and take a degree in a field that is useful. Engineering comes to mind.
4. For elective credits, take a foreign language. Spanish, if interested in S & C America; Mandarin or Japanese or Korean, if interested in East Asia. Hindi, if interested in South Asia. Malay or Indonesian (nearly the same), if interested in SE Asia. Thai, if interested in Thai prostitutes.
5. Try also to fit in one of those Teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language (TEFL or TESL) certificates. Training can be as short as one month (Cambridge U/Language House).

It has worked for me. Fifteen years working overseas; only two of those years teaching English (which I hate); the rest teaching engineering subjects in the local language.
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:55 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
740 posts, read 1,715,890 times
Reputation: 530
Teak, I think you misread her post.

" I am very interested in languages so I don't think that a language barrier would be much of a problem. I am fairly skilled in Spanish already but would love to pick up another couple languages. So I'm not looking at only English-speaking countries."

You only live once, mchelle. I say go for it. Seeing as you have Spanish down well, an English teaching job would be fairly easy for you to get. Another option might be a creative writing course in the US, and use it as a travel writer. That would allow you to work abroad, and still make an okay living. Just another option.
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
1,110 posts, read 3,300,619 times
Reputation: 1211
I was checking into teaching English abroad, a few days ago, and I found the following was a common statement:

Companies looking to hire foreigners usually hire people between the ages of 22 and 35.

Any younger or older, and it's a tough sell.

Now, whether or not that applies JUST to the teaching field - I doubt it. I'd say it's a pretty good blanket statement.

You will have a MUCH easier time finding a job if you have a degree. In fact, most countries WON'T let you in just to do service industry work. Also, if you're skilled, they will be much more likely to overlook a language deficiency. On the other end of the spectrum, unless you're working in a business that caters to English-speaking foreigners, you'll have a hard time finding a service job unless you speak the native language.

The advice of someone who is on his way out, and to South Korea in the future;

Decide WHERE you want to go. What place catches your eye, and captures your imagination?

Research the HELL out of it. If you don't, you will probably regret it.

Stay in school - But switch majors; If there isn't anything that 'calls' to you, continue your research, and pick something that will be HOTLY in demand where ever it is that you want to go. It'll make things that much easier for you.

At the same time, don't pick a major that's so far out there, that you couldn't find a job here in the US if you had to.


And lastly, always have a Plan B. (or in my case, Plans B - Z)
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:14 AM
 
1,956 posts, read 4,656,386 times
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Okay, here's a bit of perspective from a 31-year old who's been in your situation and "done it".

First, FINISH YOUR DEGREE before moving away indefinitely (more on why below)

Here's my story, in brief:

I got incredibly interested in language-learning and living abroad when I was exactly your age - 19. I had some German under my belt and by the time I graduated, I had picked up a pretty good understanding of Russian. I was fluent in neither language, although I could communicate reasonably well in both, so settling in either a German- or Russian-speaking country was doable.

Professional and academic interests, as well as a number of personal factors led me to living in Russia for nearly five years. I was lucky enough to have had a government grant to fund one year of study in Russia, and the economy was good enough several years later that getting a job was fairly easy (albeit far from straightforward).

I came back to the U.S. several years ago for several reasons, among which included general fatigue at the lifestyle my family had in Russia (crowds, expense, pollution, etc.) and a desire for my Russian wife to establish U.S. residency and citizenship. I also missed being in the U.S. and wanted my wife to have the same experience living here that I had had in Russia. Same for our daughter.

Now, she's about due to get her citizenship and we're toying around with the idea of moving abroad again. I'm self-employed with a client base that allows me to work remotely, so it doesn't matter where we live...

Now fluent in Russian (German has slipped quite a bit..), I'm very interested in learning Spanish and French...

My advice:

Again, FINISH YOUR DEGREE. Living abroad is an incredibly enriching experience, but it's incredibly distracting as well. Things can go in so many different directions for you personally and professionally that it might be difficult to "get back on track" should you want to move back to the U.S. Educational credentials do matter abroad to all kinds of employers, so you'll definitely want your degree. And I agree that you're a bit too young for the good jobs abroad, so there's no sense in rushing.

Try to find a way to spend a lot of time abroad while studying. There are TONS of summer language programs around the world to fit every budget. Surely your university has study-abroad programs. Depending on the country you move to and how difficult the academic program is, you could probably get under-the-table work tutoring people in English to bring in a little cash.

If you're a good student, research what kinds of grants you could apply for that would take you abroad. Fulbright is the biggest and best known, and depending on what country you apply for, it could be relatively easy to get one. Look into the Peace Corps for after you graduate.

Finally, I would rethink your lack of interest in school and work. Those aren't healthy attitudes, and they won't do you much good abroad. Think about changing your course of studies in the U.S. and making it more internationally-focused. You might be surprised at how interesting things become.

Good luck to you!!
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