Sundowner\'s Holidays: apply for a work camp abroad
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One of the best choice ever that Iâ€™ve done in my life was applying as volunteer for a workcamp abroad. Itâ€™s probably one of the cheapest way to travel, meet new cool people and, in the same time, help our planet.
Iâ€™ve done two work camps, one in Germany in 2006 and the last one in Spain in summer 2008 and they were both wonderful experiences.
The best thing is people that you are going to meet because work camp is for young people (some camps have an age limit to apply, in Germany usually is 26 while somewhere else is 30 but you can also find camps that accept every age) so you are sure that you are going to meet students, usually the average age is around 22-23. People of course, from all over the world. In my camps Iâ€™ve met students from all backgrounds and from many countries, usually from Europe but Iâ€™ve met also Japanese, Korean, Americans and people from Africa.
These camps promote a multicultural environment because in many cases just two people from the same country can apply.Camp leaders also have this mindset so they promote dinners where every team (usually there are at least two people from each country) have to cook their local dishes.
As I mentioned before people are great because they have all the same expectations: having a lot of fun and help our planet in some ways. People that you are going to meet there are all travelers and itâ€™s quite common that you will meet them in the unexpected situations.
I remember that when I was in Paris on July 2007, Iâ€™ve logged in my Messenger account, Iâ€™ve striked a conversation with a Japanese guy that Iâ€™ve met the summer before in Germany and Iâ€™ve discovered that he was also in Paris so we met for a beer and for remembering our great summer.
If you are good with networking you will end up the camp with lot of new friends ready to help you when you are gonna visit their country, so this is another great point that should convince you to apply for this kind of experience. Itâ€™s really great to visit a city with people that live there because they can explain how the things are working there and give you some tips about what it worths a visit or not.
People that go to a work camp have also the same interests, usually are people passionate about something that enjoy life and good conversations. I canâ€™t remember how many nights I have actually slept because of the great parties that we were throwing.
Another thing that I really loved are the activities. You have to work for few hours in the morning, usually until lunch time, and then you have spare time for the rest of the day. Camp leaders are cool people and provide a lot of things to do. In Spain we were connected to the local community so we had a night of catalan dances (and catalan drinking), few football matches against the catalan guys, a night of catalan games, an afternoon of handcraft activities.
These camps are really cheap because you pay a fee (around 100-15o euro) and you get accomodation, meals and weekend trips included in this little price. Every weekend you leave the town where the camp is to visit the nearby zone. In Germany we visited Heidelberg, Stuttgart, a brew in Mannheim (with unlimited pints of beer), we went hiking in the forest with a German guide and we visited the local liquor factory (a small house in the forest that gave us free shots of different german spirits). Quite a good deal for a so small ammount of money. Then, of course you have to pay by yourself the travel bto get there and few other things (like extra drinks, gifts, postcardsâ€¦), but if you move on time you could find pretty good deals (check Ryanair and Easyjet).
Another tip is to choose a location close (or at least not so far) from an important city and plan to visit the city after the camp: itâ€™s quite possible that a lot of volunteers will spend their time in that city also. When I was in Spain, I was close to Barcelona, so at the end of the camp I spent 3 wonderful days in that city with 10 people from my camp. Then everyone was inviting their roomies so at night we were partying with more than 30 people from all over the world. Definitely, one of the craziest experience of my life.
There are a lot of different kind of workcamps and many issues to explore so Iâ€™m not going to write a list of the associations that organize them, just check on Google.
(this post is from my personal blog: thesundownerslist.com)