Some may take the time to plan out every single minute of a trip without realizing that something can happen, but you know what, that’s ok. When it comes to traveling, its essential to create options for yourself. Just in case if something goes wrong, there should always be a backup plan. And although my trip was pretty set on what I was going to do, anything and everything can happen.
Two weeks ago, I got a message from the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in DC stating that I signed up for both the TUSA Program and the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. Both of these programs are funded under the government, and “technically” I can only choose either of the two. Mind you, I received notification that I got both scholarships in February, but they didn’t notice until this May. Since I planned to stay in Taiwan for a year, I chose the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. But here is where the problem lies:
The Huayu Enrichment program is a 9-month program beginning in August. TUSA, on the other hand, is from June till August, and my flight was already booked for June. There’s no way to cancel or change my flight due to the type of flight I booked, so instead, I will be doing something else in the meantime.
There’s this website called Workaway where you can volunteer and help a local people (or hosts) in countries around the world for free in exchange for accommodation and sometimes meals, even some give you a small amount of money. The work can vary from cleaning rooms in a hostel, working on a farm, teaching English to kids, working on an art project, etc. This is a great way to learn from locals and live in a country on a budget and a chance to learn a new language. The only catch behind it all is in order to send messages to the hosts is to pay a yearly fee of $36. Once you pay this amount to the website, you can do as many Workaway jobs within that one year. Many Workaway hosts may require certain skills or desire for those who know their language or even people who are more flexible with their dates or want to stay for longer times. Each volunteer typically works max 5 hours a day 4-5 times a week giving volunteers a lot of free time to explore the places they’re visiting. This is a great option for those who want to live abroad for a short period of time and save money or get a feel for a certain location.
On the site, you set up a profile with pictures of yourself and write about yourself to a potential host. Keep it short, straight to the point, and simple. And when you start your search out for hosts, you can go by country or by availability. Most people go by country due to their preference. It’s important to read each profile, check to see which months they’re free and what they’re looking for. And when you’re ready to contact them, make sure to mention a little about yourself, your dates, along with what you can bring to them that will help in their daily tasks. The most important of them all, you can read reviews of other volunteer experiences and that will be the main determining factor in you deciding to work with a host. Some hosts may not have reviews, which is a risk that you can take if you find that what they posted on their profile is enough in applying.
I highly recommend you don’t copy and paste the same post to different hosts for its lazy and it shows that you’re not putting enough effort into your write-ups. Try adding something that they mentioned in their profile along with adding the name of the place. It shows that you genuinely care and want to be a part of their team. Try staggering the amount you send out per day. Wait a few days to see if anyone responds, if they don’t, it may indicate that what you’re sending to the hosts isn’t what they’re looking for and maybe your profile/write-ups need some tweaking. Maybe you need to add more photos to your profile? Maybe you need to attach your Facebook to your account? Make sure to fill out your profile in its entirety to maximize your chances of receiving responses.
I plan on doing 2 (possibly 3) different Workaway positions this summer working in hostels and I begin my first one on Monday. More info on these experiences coming very soon.