5 Creative Ways to Spend Time Abroad

These five international opportunities may help you expand your world in 2016
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When the New Year began, you probably made a resolution. Some of us aspired to live healthier lives or to read more books. Others chose to spend more time with family or quit a bad habit.

While all of these resolutions are admirable, why not set your sights even higher this year? Consider expanding your worldview by living abroad. We’ve compiled a list of five interesting ways to help you begin your journey to live internationally. Don’t just see the world through a tourist’s eyes, but rather aim to experience what it’s like to live within another culture and grow as an international citizen.

1. Cross Cultural Solutions

Are you passionate about helping to create a world of tolerance and global awareness? Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS), an international non-profit organization with no political or religious affiliations, can help you travel to countries such as Brazil, Guatemala, Ghana, India and beyond where you’ll volunteer in programs including public health, nursing, social work and child development.

In May of 2003, the United Nations recognized CCS as an important leader in international volunteering. Through volunteer and internship programs, this organization contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development goals such as ending poverty and hunger, ensuring healthy lives and inclusive and equitable quality education, and achieving gender equality. For more information and to begin, visit crossculturalsolutions.org.

2. UBC Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver

The UBC Sauder School of Business has 71 exchange programs in 29 countries and boasts 37,000 alumni located in 75 countries. Students at UBC Sauder are looking to expand their worldview and gain experience working and living internationally.

Here, the MBA program includes a mandatory Global Immersion Experience (GIE), in which full-time MBAs spend time abroad in countries such as England, Japan, Chile and India. While there, they’re busy consulting on business problems for local organizations and learning the cultural ropes.

"The program is nothing like a traditional student tour or exchange," says Liz Starbuck Greer, assistant dean at UBC Sauder's Robert H. Lee Graduate School. "We’re taking students somewhere they’ve never been before--into a different culture--where they learn how to do business there and solve real problems within that environment.” The point of the program, she notes, "is to show that business is global but not the same everywhere and that being able to work within a different business culture is essential for any business professional today.”

There's also the UBC Sauder School International MBA, a 20-month program partnering with the Antai College of Economics and Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. In this program, students study and work in the shining metropolis of Shanghai, one of the most important business and financial centers in China.

For hands-on learning and even teaching in developing communities, UBC Sauder's Social Entrepreneurship program provides an opportunity to use your expertise to make a lasting impact by teaching business fundamentals in Nairobi, Kenya.

To find out more information on Sauder School of Business and the amazing opportunities it offers abroad, visit sauder.ubc.ca/Programs.  

3. Outdoor Recreation Internship in Kalu Yala Panama

Strap on your backpack, grab your hiking boots and get ready for a seriously outdoorsy lifestyle. Kalu Yalu is a self-sustained community run by locals using only the resources available to them. Located in a secluded valley down a rough dirt road and nearly an hour from Panama City, you’ll be surrounded by the beauty of the landscape and delighted by the friendliness of the community members.

If you have a passion for the environment and sustainability, sign up for Kalu Yala’s outdoor recreation internship, in which the main objective is to create recreational opportunities for the residents and visitors to study land management and to raise awareness of environmental sustainability. Imagine spending your time hiking, rock climbing and living life to its fullest every day. Submit your application at goabroad.com.

4. Treetop Country Volunteer Program in Thailand

Teach English and live among the treetops at Treetop Country, a volunteer program in the village of Wiang Pa Pao, Thailand. Here, you'll spend your days working closely with a number of schools for underprivileged children in rural Thailand, who without the English language, will have limited opportunities for the future. As for your nights, you'll retire to your furnished, wood-and-bamboo tree house elevated 10 feet above the ground.

As a volunteer, not only will you be teaching English, but you'll also have the opportunity to be a part of Treetop’s organic farming initiatives. These initiatives help ensure that the community members of Wiang Pa Pao are provided with a sustainable source of nutritious foods. Treetop is always looking for volunteers skilled in art, music and sports. Additionally you will be given the chance to contribute ideas for projects and initiatives of your own, and leave your mark on Wiang Pa Pao.

Expect the opportunity to experience real life and culture in Northern Thailand, meals prepared by Treetop’s founder Sasi Meechai, and adventure and exploration tours--like helping with rescued elephants or visiting Buddhist temples--all facilitated by the local Treetop staff. To begin your next adventure, go to treetopcountry.org.

5. Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals

The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange is an exchange program for young professionals (ages 18 to 24) between the U.S. and Germany wherein the chosen YPs will have the opportunity to learn, live and work within the German culture (and perhaps enjoy a little German beer and Schnitzel) while acting as ambassadors to help strengthen international connections between the two countries.

Expect German language training, an internship in a German-speaking work environment and lodging in a German home or student housing. For a challenge and the opportunity to learn about German culture and its language, consider applying at cbyx.info.


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