Broke-Ass Travel Contest

Has the slim job market gotten you down these days? Are you almost done with school and don’t really know what to do with yourself after wards? Ever thought about traveling abroad to expand your horizons? Sometimes the only way out of this downward spiral is to get the heck out of the U.S. of A. Trust me, I left the country once upon a time and didn’t come home for eight years! You never know what you are going to find on the other side – new cultures, ideas, music, fashion, art, landscapes, lovers, food, drinks…the list goes on.
If you consider yourself an adventurous soul – sign up for this bad ass “I’ll Go Anywhere” contest on Facebook that was made for broke-asses who have a passport and aren’t afraid to use it. The contest will grant one lucky winner an opportunity to live with a host family in a foreign country on a volunteer abroad program called English Conversation Volunteers Abroad (ECVA). The winner will get a FREE one-month program (airfare not included) in some random country you probably would never visit otherwise. I mean – most people would probably give up sex for an entire month to get to stay in Mongolia for a month for FREE. Well, maybe not if you met a hot Genghis Khan lookalike while you were there…

 

Here’s how it works:

1) Go to www.facebook.com/ecva.chi

2)Like the page

3) Write on the wall where you would like to go and why to enter the contest

The contest is put on by a non-profit organization called Cultural Homestay International. They’ve been running cultural exchange programs all over the world for over 30 years. So, don’t worry – they are legit and want to send YOU on the adventure of your lifetime. But remember, beggars can’t be choosers – so they get to send the winner to any of the 27 countries available for the ECVA program. That’s right, from the tip of Chile to Siberia, from across the Pacific in Japan to across the Atlantic in Brazil, to the rice fields of Thailand to the top of the Eifle Tower in France – the program can take you anywhere.

 

And just what exactly do you have to volunteer to do on this ECVA program? That’s easy. It’s pretty much spelled out for you in the name. Basically – in exchange for getting a FREE room and three-meals a day with your host family, you need to tutor one or more members of the family in English conversation for a maximum of 15-hours-per-week. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a professor to do this. You don’t even need TEFL certification. Actually, it is a great way to gain some work experience abroad while having fun at the same time. You job is to teach conversational English. You don’t need to be an expert in grammar. You just have to hang out with your student and talk to them. Teach them some American slang. Watch Friends with them and teach them some things about our culture. Teach them the English words for the sights of their city. You name it. The world is your classroom.

When you are not tutoring, you can do whatever you like in your spare time. You can take language classes, you can meet the local people or simply be a tourist and go to the beach. It’s up to you. But the one thing you do have to be is adventurous. Nobody is there to hold your hand and show you around. You need to be independent and culturally savvy to ensure you make the most of your trip. You don’t need to speak the local language, but it would definitely make for an easier travel experience if you did. ECVA runs year round and participants can go on one, two or three month programs.

For a full overview of details check out: www.chinet.org/ecva

The winner of the contest will be chosen on January 15, 2012. Make your New Year’s Resolution to do something different with your life and explore the world! ECVA will take you there…

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About the author

Heidi Smith - The Ultimate Scavenger

Originally from San Diego, Heidi migrated north to study journalism at SFSU and interned for the SF Bay Guardian writing music stuff. She later embarked on a study-abroad program in both Denmark and Holland, and basically never came home. For six long years, she froze her ass off in Oslo, Norway, pretending to be a viking princess, trying to figure out how to survive in the most expensive city in the world. The other two years were spent frolicking on the beach in Spain - sipping on sangria in between being tossed around Europe working as a stressed-out journalist. Heidi currently works at for a non-profit cultural exchange program, helping others experience life from a different perspective. She is thrilled to be back in SF, magnetizing the obscure, and scavenging the city for fun, free things to do.

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