Planning a year abroad: how can a family make it work?
Gap years have become a trendy option for parents absorbed by their work, but what if this working arrangement simply isn’t enough to keep the travels going financially? Sometimes, the responsible parent has to take it up a notch and plan a tight schedule that will be foolproof for an entire year.
This is not like pressing a “pause” button on your life until now. It is a fresh take on the familiar situation, and you should never let your guard down as far as work is concerned. If you have any difficulty with planning a year abroad, here’s how a family can make it work.
The first steps
A decision that is taken lightly turns into a daunting set of obligations. The meticulous planning of the gap year can (and probably will) last longer than the journey itself. As responsible parents, you should take at least two years to plan out everything and prepare materially.
The reason this takes so much time is because you will have to juggle the preparations with your daily routine. The first crucial tool at your disposal is the internet. Countless families have been through this before and they have left the logs of their journey online for everyone to see. This should also present a point of consolation for you – if so many have done it before, you can do it too.
However, learning from the experiences of other people is not enough. Sooner or later, you need to get your financial situation in order. Save up and transfer your money to at least three separate accounts in order to create a financial “cushion”. This should “soften” the blow of unpredictable changes in your business situation while on the gap year trip. It should also make your return home and subsequent acclimatization breezier. Plan for both of these financial contingencies with generous margins and accrue money accordingly.
When it comes to working abroad, many parents rely on English teaching jobs as a way to earn a reliable paycheck based on the skills they already have. For example, it is completely normal that one parent in the gap-year family takes on an extra teaching job at a local privately owned school of English. You just need to find a school that offers a healthy and dynamic atmosphere, and the inventive Monkey Tree TESL school practices cutting-edge methods to create a stimulating environment for kids that are learning English as a second language. It is a sound career choice during the gap year, it will enrich your resume and bring financial stability to your traveling situation.
Other career opportunities
If you are interested in childcare, you should also consider the job of a nanny for bilingual children. If you are cut out for work with children, it is an excellent way to gain experience. However, make sure that you do not apply for an arrangement where you will be obliged to live with the host family because the entire point of the gap year is to spend more time with your own kids. Finally, job opportunities in the sphere of hospitality business and, at least tangentially, tourism offer a range of financial possibilities, depending on the amount of work you are ready to take upon yourself.
Prepare the children
Make sure that your children are prepared for the adventure ahead. Children can become quite enthusiastic about colorful destinations and different cultures if you make an effort to arouse their interest. Teach them about the destination and encourage them to express their creativity along the way. For example, you can purchase a cheap DSLR camera which they can use to snap photographs. You can teach them how to paint or purchase a diary which they are supposed to fill up with observations and interesting events throughout the year.
If you want intertwined aspects of your lifestyle to run smoothly, you have to make an effort to balance out your travels with your work and your family. If you want to take a gap year, you have to be prepared to turn this balancing act into an art form. It will not be easy but it might just be what your family needs and what you need.