If you're thinking of working abroad during summer vacation, keep these tips in mind:
Don't leave yourself so short of funds that you'll have to settle for an unpleasant situation. Take advantage of special programs designed to help students cut through red tape to get work permits. Be prepared to be flexible. And take along your sense of humor.
Here's what happened to one student who headed off to work in Great Britain last summer.
Judy, a 22-year-old veterinary student, had arranged for a work permit through a summer work-abroad program. When she got to London she was told she would only be able to get work in the hospitality industry. She really wanted something career-related, so she headed up to Scotland to seek the help of a veterinarian she knew.
'Needs a Baby Sitter'
"I spent a week and a half going on calls," she says. "We'd ask if there was any farm work for me and they'd look at me and smile and say 'Mrs. Han up the road needs a baby sitter, why don't you ask her?' "
Judy now laughs--but, she says, "at first it made me really mad. But eventually I had to admit I was going broke and I had to get a job." So she went back to London, bought some blouses, skirts and a one-way ticket to the Lake District. There she picked up a job as a waitress in an old Victoria hotel. Was it worthwhile? "Definitely," she says. "I wasn't disappointed at all; I probably learned something very valuable."
One way to get help arranging to work abroad during your vacation is through a program operated by CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange).
The CIEE is a private, nonprofit membership organization active in international education and student travel since 1947. The CIEE has negotiated reciprocal agreements with the governments of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Costa Rica, New Zealand and West Germany, allowing U.S. students to work in those countries on a temporary basis.
Snips Out Red Tape
The CIEE work-abroad program help you cut through red tape. You receive authorization to work in the country or countries you have chosen to visit. You also get a handbook containing general information on the country, tips on employment, a list of possible employers to contact and hints on housing and travel.
In each country the program is offered in cooperation with an overseas national organization whose staff is available to advise you on job-hunting, how to obtain suitable accommodations and an informal orientation when you arrive.
The programs are open to students (undergraduate or graduate) who are at least 18 years old.
The Great Britain program costs $72 and the documentation you get allows to you start work any time of year and continue for up to six months.
The fee for the France program is also $72, and you can start work anytime. You can work for a maximum of three months and you must understand and speak French.
To participate in the $72 West German program you must understand and speak German, have adequate medical insurance and be returning to a U.S. college. You can start work anytime between June 1 and Oct. 1 and continue up to four months.
The $72 New Zealand program allows you to work for up to six months, starting anytime between April 1 and Oct. 1.
To participate in the $150 Costa Rica program, you must understand and speak Spanish. The fee includes an airport transfer and a night's lodging with meals in a San Jose youth hostel. You can start working anytime between June 1 and Oct. 1 and work for up to four months.
Further details on programs and qualifications are covered in the free brochure "Wanted Abroad," available from CIEE, 1093 Broxton Ave., Los Angeles 90024.
Another source of information is "Transmissions Abroad--Guide to Study, Work and Travel." It's a quarterly magazine started nine years ago by Clayton A. Hubbs, foreign studies counselor at Hampshire College.
The magazine includes stories and information and its summer editions are loaded with a detailed directory of more than 250 sources for information concerning student-style study, work and travel.
Copies can be ordered from Transitions Abroad, Box 344, Amherst, Mass. 01004. The annual price is $9; two-year subscription, $17.