Foreign Work for Teens

Izon is a Canadian travel journalist covering youth budget routes.

For years college students have had a variety of sources for information about work, study and travel abroad, but high school students haven't been as lucky.

That's changing. A major youth travel service has produced a travel guidebook specifically for the 12- to 18-year-old group.

"The Teenager's Guide to Study, Travel and Adventure Abroad" was put together by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). The CIEE has had 40 years experience in youth and student travel and is affiliated with student travel services around the world.

The first section of the book deals with choosing and evaluating programs and tells you the kinds of questions you should ask. It also offers advice on how to read between the lines of promotional material to understand what is really being offered.

Who Selects Families?

For example, if you were considering a type of home-stay program, the book helpfully asks: Who selects the participating families? What criteria are used to select the families? Do program representatives visit families before they are accepted into the program? Are the families compensated? (Is it a home-stay or a paying guest arrangement, which may be less personal?)

Do you have contact with the family before you leave home? What are the provisions if you don't get along with the family? Will there be someone your age in the family? Is a foreign representative available for support? What if you must cancel? How much of the time is structured and how much is free? How much spending money will you need?

The second section of the book includes a list of more than 150 foreign opportunities open to teen-agers. Listings include information about the program, the sponsor, pre-trip preparations, supervision, requirements, living arrangements, finances, deadlines and where to get further information.

Programs include working on an archeological dig in Israel, living with a family in Japan, working on a community project in Haiti, studying French in Quebec City or joining a Canadian wilderness canoe trip.

International Connection

Through the guide you will learn that there is an organization called the Experiment in International Living that has helped arrange study programs and home-stays around the world for more than 100,000 young people during the past 50 years.

You also learn that groups such as the National 4-H Council arrange international travel and home-stay programs during June and July for the 15- to 19-year-old age group.

You'll find out how to join a summer camp at Castle Rock College in Dublin or who to contact about a sailing program in the Virgin and Leeward islands. The Sail Caribbean program operates for two to six weeks and is open to non-experienced participants aged 14 to 19. One instructor is provided for every five students. Accommodation is on the boats.

"The Teenager's Guide to Study, Travel and Adventure Abroad" is published at $8.95 by St. Martin's Press.

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