BY 沈容安(Bernice Shen)
In recent years, more and more people consider working abroad or applying for the so-called “Working Holiday Schemes.” The “International Volunteer Programme” is also getting very popular for youngsters because they can not only travel to different places but also can raise money for those in need.
The Trend of Working Holiday
Working holiday scheme is a fantastic option to the young people as it offers a way for them to earn some money to cover some travel expense while travelling around in foreign countries. Once signing up a contract with a contractor, participants could choose to work in Australia, New Zealand or even the United States.
“I studied the animal science in University, so my plan was to explore various farming systems in the world. Therefore, I joined WWOOF（世界有機農場機會組織） Australia to work in some organic farms,” said Candy Hung, an office staff who had went to Australia for working holiday for 11 months. During this period, Hung did quite a few jobs, such as working in a tomato farm, a carrot factory, and a chicken farm etc.
Once mentioning about the most interesting part of her journey, Hung replied, “It was my first time abroad, which means I was away from my family and had to cook by myself.” However, she thought “one should never easily surrender to any difficulty no matter what it is”, which is extremely crucial to her.
Even though working holiday had been a lure for striplings and makes them crave to go, we also learn from some cases that the young workers were mistreated there and some even were sexually harassed or verbally abused by the local there. Moreover, according to the media report, the majority of Taiwanese youngsters had been treated as “under-class labors” since they had to do some menial work in a poorly conditioned working environment. “From my perspective, I think one should adjust his mindset no matter the work he or she does is hard or not. One’s mindset always determines who you are in your life,” replied by Hung.In another case, Johndy Chang（張瑋珉）, a student who is now having working holiday, provided a quite different viewpoint based on the experience that he gained during working holiday in Australia. “One year ago, I just graduated from college. I had no money, no job, and no social status. I barely had anything. Since I got nothing to lose, I thought, why not take a chance to experience the work environment outside Asia?” So he took only his passport, air ticket and a few pocket money, then embarked on his own journey. Johndy’s first job was to work in a freezer of lamb factory. On average, he needed to move about one thousand cargos each day. Even he had to work in such a nippy place for 9 hours a day, But the efforts he made were paid off. The salary he got there was almost four times more than he could get in Taiwan.
Against the issue of “under-paid labor force”, Johndy indicated that he had never been treated in that way. His boss and colleagues could understand why he chose to work aboard and took this action as an “adventure.” “It all depends on your attitude,” said Johndy, “Working holiday scheme is extremely different from the general trip to a country. Once you step on this island, you have to stay for about one year and do everything on your own. It will help you to be more independent.”
Though the opinions about working holiday scheme are polarized, there’s no doubt that it opens a new way to explore the world. “Taiwan is my hometown, and Australia is more like a workplace, both places mean differently to me. I’ve learnt a lot in this trip and I was very happy that I was brave enough to leave my comfort zone,” said Johndy.
Love without Boundaries to Volunteers
AIESEC（社團法人國際經濟商管學生會）is the biggest youth leadership training platform in the world and it also has a branch in Shih Hsin University（世新大學）since 2012. Ching-hsin Lin（林清心）, the current president of the club said that the advocator of the club found that students in the campus were short of international perspectives. Therefore, she was trying to set up the AIESEC club in Shih Hsin University to provide a platform for students who are interested in the oversea training project to know more about their voluntary programs.
Lin mentioned that the club will regularly hold some speeches for students. The club usually invites those who have rich experience in traveling overseas or in volunteer’s projects to share what they saw and did in their trips. Lin said that AIESEC provides volunteer work and internships for Taiwanese going abroad or foreigners coming to Taiwan.Due to the limited resources of every university, branches at different universities provide different projects.
As an experienced international volunteer, Tien-hsin Wen（温甜歆）, a student who studied in the Department of Digital Multimedia Arts in Shih Hsin University（世新大學數位多媒體設計學系）, went to Hungary to teach high school students about the culture of Taiwan for one and a half months alone. When Wen mentioned about the difficulties she had in this trip, she replied that the hardest part is the language.
However, she learned a lot and gained some great experiences compare to the tiny problems she bumped into. “It’s a good chance to meet foreigners and know more about their cultures,” Wen said. After the volunteer project, she still keeps in touch with them. She also gives some suggestions to people who are going to be international volunteers, “Be brave to overcome the language problem and pay attention to your safety when you are in a foreign country.”
Sonia Chu（初庭瑩）, a student who studied in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures in National Chengchi University（國立政治大學斯拉夫語文學系）, will take part in an international volunteer project in Thailand this July. It was a coincidence that her Thai language teacher is one of the leaders for the project of international volunteers in Thailand, so she decided to take part in the plan. Sonia’s parents didn’t allow her to go at first, but she tried to persuade them and finally she had obtained her parents’ permission. Now she is looking forward to sharing the culture of Taiwan with the students in Thailand.
The project of international volunteers meets enthusiastic response nowadays. Those who are interested in the project can find many platforms through the Internet or even can get some information from their school clubs. Now, you can easily make your holidays different with these new choices.