In the News

Kick Off Your Career Break with the Ultimate Train Challenge
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Is a career break on your agenda for 2013? Are you still figuring out where exactly you want to go and what you want to do? Do you want to push yourself far beyond your comfort zone and embark on an unimaginable journey?

Well, here’s an idea – join other travelers in the Ultimate Train Challenge, racing from Saigon or Lisbon — or Lisbon to Saigon — in the month of May. All by train.

31 days of travel. You make your own schedule and choose your own route. You decide much you are going to push yourself and how many places you are going to try to hit.

Although it is about 15,000 miles (25,000 kilometers) to navigate, you will still have enough time to stop and do a lot off the trains. Barcelona, Paris, Venice, Berlin, Prague, Moscow, Beijing, Hanoi – so many great cities to hit along the way.

What do you get for your entry fee? They explain it all in full here. In short, you can blog your trip on their website to keep family and friends up to date with your journey; they have a live-mapping feature on the site, so you can everyone can keep up with you in real time; Intrepid Travel is offering two fabulous 15-day tours to the first ones to cross the finish line in each direction; they are going to throw a fun pre-launch party in both locations; Eurail is offering up at least four of their Global Passes that they will be raffling off and giving away as prizes; HostelWorld is offering two free nights’ stay in each city beforehand and… more.

In order to keep up with the latest developments on new sponsors, prizes and other news, you can sign up for their free newsletter. As an extra bonus, they will be doing a drawing from all the newsletter subscribers in February and will be giving away a new Samsung Galaxy SIII to one lucky subscriber.

♦ If you register by February 15th, the entry fee is $295 US.
♦ If you register from February 16th to April 30th, the entry fee is $395 US.
♦ And because you are entering from this post, you will get $30 off your entry fee. You just need to enter the code MP13UTC on the “Referral” line on the entry page to get the $30 discount.

But really, it’s not about the prizes. It’s not about the pre-event party we are going to throw in both cities for everyone. It’s not about the stuff…

It is about having an adventure you are going to talk about for years. It is about challenging your limits and doing something that very few other people have done. From one corner of Europe to the far corner of Asia…. all by the best mode of transportation you can use to experience the vastness and wonder of the planet we live on.

The Charity Aspect to it All

They also have partnered up with Blue Dragon’s Children Foundation in Vietnam to raise some needed funds to help out their cause. We are asking each participant to raise $500 and Intrepid Travel has been generous enough to agree to match each donation dollar for dollar, up to a $10,000 total. So not only are you doing this whole adventure to challenge yourself, the entire group is going to do a small part to make the world a better place.

On the Your World, No Rules website, they explain everything you need to know about this event. They have also put together some resource pages for you to help decide on your route and work through your visas.

This is doable, with friends or on your own. Live your life with no regrets. If you’re already making the leap to take a career break to travel, why not push your boundaries even further?

Sign up. This will be the adventure that will change your life.

And don’t forget… when you sign up, enter MP13UTC in the “Referral” box to get $30 off your entry fee and tell them that you found the UTC13 from here.

enter UTC12

The Best “How to” Advice of 2012
Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Over the last few weeks, we’ve recapped some of the best posts about preparing to take a career break to travel from 2012, as well as the best from career breakers on the road. Today, we look back at some of the most valuable “how to” posts – practical advice that you can use before, during or after your career break!

How to Stay in Shape on the Road

Five years out of college, Matt Sussman could no longer ignore his constant itch to travel. Leaving his stressful financial job in New York behind, he is following his dream of traveling the world. Meandering solo since July, Matt has made it a priority to find time to exercise and shared his tips for staying in shape on the road.

As I started planning my career break, I struggled with how I would manage to stay in shape on the road without a gym to go to every day. I had been looking for a theme to keep me sane in my travels and thought what better challenge to keep me motivated than trying to stay in shape while traveling around the world?

Searching online for how other travelers dealt with this dilemma yielded little useful advice. Sure I could just run every day but that would quickly get boring, not too mention the pounding my knees would take. Pulling what I could from crossfit sites and conversations with trainers, I started to assemble a word document of body weight exercises and routines that I could do on the road. Continue…

How to Land a Crewing Job at Sea

Kelly Wetherington has been traveling since she first escaped her cubicle in 2007. Her insatiable curiosity for the world and thirst for adventure have led her to trek, dive, sail, zip, surf, climb, and paddle her way through 25 countries across Central America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. In this post, she shared her tips for finding a crewing job at sea.

Learn as much as you can before you seek a position.

Go sailing, practice tying knots, familiarize yourself with yachtie terms.

Learning to sail is like learning to speak a foreign language. If you aren’t willing to ask the dumb questions like “What does to reef mean?” then you will never learn the lingo (reefing is taking in a sail). Continue…

How to Account for a Career Break on Your Resume

One of the most common questions we get about re-entry is “how do I explain my career break on my resume?” This post offered some valuable tips and examples.

You arrive home at the end of a life-changing travel experience and one of the biggest questions facing you likely will be how to find work again. Whether you traveled as part of a career break, gap year, or sabbatical, you will need to figure out how to best represent the time and experiences on your resume.

Where should it go on my resume?

It depends. Do you think the experiences you had traveling apply to you finding a new job in your field?  If so, then place it in the main part of your resume. If you don’t feel like it applies, then it probably belongs in a section reserved for Additional Information or Hobbies. Continue…

How to Make Career-Related Connections on the Road

Bethany Rydmark is a landscape architect by trade and a lover of the world by nature.  She and her husband Ted left their beloved home state of Oregon in 2012 to travel South America, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand. She made a point to make career-related connections before she hit the road and shared this advice.

Though I left my job behind to travel the world for thirteen months, I did not abandon my career.

Intentional preparation allowed me to harness my professional skills, expand my experience and qualifications as a landscape architect, and add value to my travels. By laying groundwork before departure and remaining engaged on the road, I’ve connected with relevant projects and opportunities, and as a bonus, I’ve leveraged my skills to offset traveling expenses. While my story is connected to landscape architecture, the concepts apply to careers across the spectrum: nursing, construction, sales, finance, writing, painting, teaching…you name it!

As you plan your career break, consider these eight tips for making career-related connections on the road. Continue…

How to Make Processing Part of the Re-Entry Process

Cate Brubaker helps all kinds of travelers navigate intercultural, personal, and re-entry experiences in her work with TrekDek, SmallPlanetStudio.com, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

You’re probably familiar with the terms re-entry and reverse culture shock. While some people sail through re-entry problem-free, most say they feel more lost upon returning home than they ever did abroad. This actually makes a lot of sense. When we go abroad we’re constantly in the “new.” We’re seeing new things, having new adventures, hearing new languages, trying new food, considering new perspectives.

It’s exhilarating. Euphoric. It’s why we travel!

Back home, we’re no longer in the “new.” Back home, we are the new. On one hand, we’re happy to be home with family and friends, speaking our native language, eating our favorite foods, and even sleeping in our own bed. But we also feel like something is a bit off. It’s not necessarily bad, just…off. Continue…

How to Accrue Frequent Flier Miles

Mike Choi is known as the resident world traveler in his office and blogs about his travels at thefitworldtraveler.com.  With his knowledge of FFM, he runs a part time frequent flyer mile consulting shop at iflywithmiles.com to help those with miles see the world. He provided a great two-part series earlier this year about how to accrue and redeem frequent flier miles. Here is an excerpt from part one:

Frequent Flyer Miles (FFM) can be an excellent way to subsidize airfare costs during your career break.  For those unfamiliar with FFM, they are a unit of rewards earned through an airline’s loyalty program by flying.  The objective of these loyalty programs is to retain customers by rewarding customers with miles, which translate to free flights with enough accumulated miles.

In the United States, aside from flying, there are numerous ways to earn FFM such as purchases with co-branded airline cards and a slew of other promotional offers. Unless you have a lot of reimbursable expenses, purchases with a co-branded airline credit card will not generate enough miles for a flight in a timely manner.  This post will focus on flying, assuming there are some future career breakers who travel for work and are allowed to accumulate FFM for personal use. Continue…

How to Redeem Frequent Flier Miles

The second part of Mike’s series on frequent flier miles focused on how to redeem those valuable miles.

As discussed in Monday’s post, How to Accrue Frequent Flier Miles, earning and redeeming miles can be a great way to save money on your career break.

All frequent flyer mile (FFM) programs publish an awards table for the required miles needed for a flight redemption.  The exact number, of course, depends on your origin and destination countries.  For instance, at the time of this writing, U.S. Airways, a Star Alliance member, requires 60,000 miles to fly round trip from North America to North Asia while United Airlines, another Star Alliance airline, requires 65,000 miles for the same round trip flight. Continue…

 

Announcing the “SunChips on the Road” Photo Sweepstakes
Monday, December 17th, 2012


Hey travelers, SunChips® brand wants YOU to have a taste of home while on your next career break!  Show us where you are traveling this holiday season for the chance to win a SunChips® travel pack. All you have to do is share a Twit pic showing “SunChips® Snacks On the Road”, using the Twitter hashtag #SunChipsGiveaway.

♦ Eligible entries must use the hashtag #SunChipsGiveaway

AND answer the question – “Where are YOU taking SunChips® snacks this holiday season?”

OR share your photo via Twitter that shows SunChips®  snacks while you’re away from home.

The SunChips® travel prize pack is worth $75 USD and includes travel speakers, a SunChips® collapsible travel picnic basket, 3 bags of SunChips® , 2 tumblers, a flier and a recipe book.

To view the full set of sweepstakes rules, please click here.

Passports with Purpose 2012: Prizes We Love
Monday, December 3rd, 2012

As travelers who have also tried to make a difference in some of the communities we have visited, we love the idea behind Passports with Purpose (PwP) – travel bloggers coming together to raise money for a great cause. This year, that cause is working together with Water.org to build clean water wells in two communities in Haiti. PwP’s lofty (but very reachable) goal is to raise $100,000.

We also love that, in raising money for a great cause, bloggers partner with travel companies around the world to offer amazing prizes to raffle off to people who donate at least $10. Prizes include travel clothing, electronics, tours, hotel stays, gift certificates and more!

Donate $10 to a great cause. Win an awesome, travel-related prize. What could be better?

We took a close look through the prize list and thought we’d highlight some of our favorites – prizes that could really help you jump start your career break travels!

Weekend Apartment Stay in Europe: Kick off your career break in Europe with a $500 voucher for an apartment stay in your choice of Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Florence, Vienna, London, Prague, Venice or Berlin.

Context Travel walking tours: With these tours for the “intellectually curious,” you can get an in-depth look at cities like Barcelona, Istanbul, New York, Paris, Athens and more! This prize includes 2 spots on any 2 of Context’s small group walking tours – a total value of $330!

European Travel Prize Pack: Europe may be a little pricier than, say, Southeast Asia, but this great prize pack will help! It includes a Eurail Global Pass 1st Class, $500 voucher with Only-apartments.com and a $200 gift card to Viator.com.

GoPro Camera: The perfect gadget to capture every moment of your career break! Take professional quality video and great photos with this waterproof camera that is also wi-fi enabled!

26-day Silk Road Tour: Get off the beaten path with this tour that follows the Silk Road through China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Kindle Keyboard 3G: Not only can you use this prize to store a plethora of reading material for those long flights, bus or train rides, but you can also use it to keep in touch while you’re on the road with free 3G internet access around the world.

Women’s Scotteevest: Trying to pack ultra-light on your travels? Try this women’s travel vest with 17 pocket and electronics compartments.

$150 Chaco’s Gift Certificate: Keep your feet comfy as you travel with a pair of Chaco’s sneakers, sandals or hiking shoes/boots.

Visit Passportswithpurpose.org/donate before 11:59 p.m. ET on December 11, 2012 to see a complete list of prizes and enter to win!

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Career Break Traveler
Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Still looking for holiday gifts ideas for the career break traveler on your list? Or are you dreaming of taking a career break to travel and looking for additional advice or inspiration?

Here are a few of our favorite career break and travel resources to get you started. And as an added bonus? They’re almost all ebooks – no gift wrapping involved!

How to Become a House-Sitter and See the World, by Dalene and Pete Heck.

Dalene and Pete Heck have spent over half of the last three years house-sitting in places like Ireland, Belgium, Turkey, Spain, Honduras, Canada, London and New York. They estimate they have saved at least $30,000 on accommodation costs in the process and now they have poured all of their experience into their ebook, How to Become a House-Sitter and See the World. They analyze the various house-sitting websites out there, recommend how to create a successful profile, tips on how to be a good house-sitter and a variety of resources to help plan for your first house-sitting gig. You can read more here.

* * * * *

Dream Save Do, by Betsy and Warren Talbot.

The most common perceived obstacle to taking a career break is financial – people fear how much it might cost and assume you need to be rich to take a career break to travel. You definitely don’t need to be rich, and in Dream Save Do, Betsy and Warren show you how to save money for career break travel – or any other dream. They provide concrete ways not only to save money, but to change your life and find the inspiration to follow through. You can read our full review here.

* * * * *

Negotiating Your Sabbatical: The Ultimate Toolkit for Writing and Presenting a Killer Sabbatical Proposal That Your Boss Can’t Refuse, by Barbara and Elizabeth Pagano

This mother-daughter team took a career break several years ago and now work full-time running yourSABBATICAL.com – a firm that partners with businesses to develop programs that attract, retain and accelerate top talent through the use of structured leaves of absence. This ebook is aimed at employees – providing advice for wanna-be career breakers on how to successful ask for a sabbatical. But, it is even more than an ebook – it is an entire toolkit to help you build a foundation, create a proposal and engage in the negotiation. Check out our full review here.

* * * * *

The Traveler’s Handbooks, by multiple authors

This series of books, available in paperback or electronically, focus on the idea that travel is about more than just the destination – it’s about how you choose to experience the world. Several books in the series may be of interest to potential career-breakers, including The Career Break Traveler’s Handbook by Jeff Jung, founder of Career Break Secrets; The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook by Shannon O’Donnell; and The Solo Traveler’s Handbook, by Meet, Plan, Go! Toronto host and founder of Solo Traveler, Janice Waugh.

You might also check out The Food Traveler’s Handbook by Jodi Ettenberg or The Luxury Traveler’s Handbook by Sarah & Terry Lee.

* * * * *

The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down, by Andrew McCarthy


Actor-turned-travel writer Andrew McCarthy’s new memoir is kind of a love story to travel. It’s about how travel can help us discover our truest and best selves, while expanding our minds and souls and shaping us into different people. In the book, McCarthy travels to the far ends of the earth while trying to understand what is holding him back from fully committing to his fiance of four years. From Patagonia to the Amazon to Mount Kiliminjaro, he brings the reader along as he finds a deeper meaning in each experience. You can hear more from McCarthy about the book and his travel philosophy here.

 

Top photo by Jennifer C.

Product links above are affiliate links; we will earn a small commission from any books purchased.

Volunteer Abroad with a Microfinance Organization
Monday, November 26th, 2012

Fatuma is a talented local carpenter in Makeni, Sierra Leone. His work is extremely popular but his workshop space is small and lacks proper cover, making work in the rainy season very difficult.  He also lacks some basic equipment that could help his business to grow.  Fatuma does not want a hand out, he wants a microloan that will give him a small cash injection to expand his business.

Microfinance as a concept has been around since the 1970’s. It aims to reverse the age-old vicious circle of low income, low saving and low investment, into a virtuous circle of “low income, injection of credit, investment, more income, more savings, more investment, more income.”

In its most basic and earliest form, microcredit is a single-development intervention, with loans being the sole service provided by a non-governmental organization (NGO) or bank. When microfinance began, the extension of financial services to the poor was truly radical. For the first time, conventional financial tools were made available to populations that were previously denied such access and were often blatantly discriminated against. The concept has since rapidly evolved and expanded. In 2007, 3,500 Microfinance Institutes reported that they were reaching nearly 155 million clients. According to a CGAP survey in the same year, nearly US$12 billion was committed by donors in support of microfinance.

Despite the development of microfinance, Fatuma currently does not qualify for a loan because he is illiterate and has not been keeping records of his accounts.  He knows his trade and how to run the rest of his business inside out, but he is lacking the business training to qualify for a loan.

Capacity building organization The Collective – Sierra Leone has partnered with Salone Microfinance Trust (SMT) to try and change this. They are bringing talented professionals on a career break to Makeni to train and mentor clients like Fatuma so they can gain access to finance. Volunteers work alongside local staff to deliver a training program to provide skills such a basic book keeping and quality control. Once the loans have been awarded, they will provide a mentoring service so these can be best utilized. Volunteers will work closely with loan officers to ensure that these services can be provided long after their departure.  By collaborating with SMT on this pioneering new mentoring and training program, The Collective – Sierra Leone is utilizing the skills of professionals around the world who want to make a positive change.  This will expand SMT’s services beyond being just a loan provider, increase their potential client base and reduce the likelihood of people defaulting on their loans.

Volunteering with a microfinance organization provides the perfect opportunity for career breakers to step out of their comfort zone while still utilizing the skills they have gained in the workplace. Projects can give volunteers the chance to meet small business owners, and provide training and mentoring to help their business grow. You do not have to be an ex-finance director to be successful either.   Our current microfinance volunteer believes that the ideal candidate should have a banker’s brain and a social workers heart. The most important thing is to have empathy and understand the client’s problems which are often personal rather than financial. A successful microfinance project can also provide invaluable transferable skills and assist you in a change in career path. It will show future employers that you are willing to do something out of the ordinary and are capable of thinking outside the box in a totally different environment.

A career break is about stepping out of your comfort zone to experience life from a different perspective and rediscover what makes you happy. But you often find out most about yourself when you set out to help others. A career break is a chance to utilize your professional skills in a place where you can really make a difference and give people like Fatuma the chance to build a business and support his family.

For more information on microfinance or to learn how you can support business owners like Fatuma, visit www.thecollectivesl.co.uk.

Giving Back: It Starts with Kids
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

There is nothing more powerful and educational than getting out and seeing the world with your own eyes.  For many of us on a career break it’s the first time that we have gone beyond vacation and really traveled – spending time in locations and cultures beyond the high level ‘passing through.’  We are able to soak up the world around us at a whole new level and pace – forming our own opinions about culture and challenging what we have learned from media outlets.  This is one of the many beauties of career break travel.

In a recent interview with AFAR Magazine online, I talked about the fact that I didn’t really have a travel mentor as I was growing up and coincidentally didn’t have a passport until I was 30 years old.  Luckily, I have learned that it is never too late to start traveling; however, I also do recognize the importance of adding travel to your life at a young age.  Change and understanding in the world will need to start with our youth.

This is why Meet Plan Go! has taken an interest in supporting Learning AFAR – a youth based program run by the AFAR Foundation (the philanthropic arm of  AFAR Magazine).  Learning AFAR grants international travel scholarships to students who would not otherwise be able to explore the world.

Learning AFAR is designed to promote cross cultural exchange by sponsoring international travel for students who cannot otherwise afford to experience another part of the world. In partnership with Global Explorers and with support from the Pearson Foundation, Schlumberger and Wimmer Solutions, Learning AFAR integrates science, service, leadership, literacy and culture in a 3-phase program that includes pre-travel curriculum, a life-changing travel experience, and a follow-up service leadership project.

As students prepare for the journey of lifetime, they learn journalism skills from AFAR Magazine staff members, so they may document their travels through writing, photography, and videography. Through their Pearson’s We Give Books, Learning AFAR students engage younger students in the learning process and collect books to create libraries in the communities they will visit on expedition. Learning AFAR prepares young people to act on the passions they discover and equips them to share their passion with their home community.

To celebrate the season of giving this week, for the second year Meet Plan Go! has decided to work with the AFAR Foundation by donating a portion of our ticket sales from our October event to the foundation in San Francisco.  This year our San Francisco host Kristin Kent organized the fundraising and happily delivered a check for $1,000 to the AFAR’s Co-Founder Greg Sullivan.

 

We hope you have a special Thanksgiving holiday wherever you are traveling in the world this week.  Give thanks for the ability to travel – it’s a privilege – one you worked hard to make happen, but not one that everyone gets.

See what the some of the Learning AFAR students did on their big trip to Costa Rica:

If you are interested in learning more about Learning AFAR or making a donation, please check out the following:

AFAR Foundation on Facebook

AFAR Foundation Website

Make a Donation

Why You Should Add Antarctica to Your Career Break Itinerary
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

For many career breakers, extended travel is also an opportunity to reach out-of-the-way “bucket list” destinations.  Though there are many extraordinary places to take a career break, Antarctica stands apart from the pack.  How many destinations truly offer a once-in-a-lifetime adventure like stepping through the cover of a National Geographic Magazine?

Reaching a Travel Goal Together

Three years ago, Meet, Plan, Go! co-founder Sherry Ott and her 76-year-old father could be found hiking Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit.  Her father had once traveled halfway around the world on a freighter, so adventure travel was in their DNA. Inspired after crossing the high altitude Thorung La Pass together, it was only natural for both to start thinking about where they would travel next.  Sherry’s father had his eyes set on the next great adventure —Antarctica— and of course, Sherry said, “let’s do it!”

This December,  Sherry and her dad will reach their dream destination —the great White Continent!  This has been a bucket list item for both of them and they are excited to set foot on their 7th continent together.  They’ll embark on the 126-passenger Expedition for 13 days, departing from Ushuaia, Argentina on December 10, 2012 and sailing to the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula.

Antarctica Sooner Rather Than Later

A wonderland for the eyes, Antarctica is the most pristine, awe-inspiring, wildlife-rich destination on our planet.  Visitors are swept off their feet by serendipitous whale encounters, thousands of penguins bustling about, and towering blue icebergs rising hundreds of feet out of the water.  At times, Antarctica can feel like an out-of-this world dreamy experience, where a bleached white skyline can stretch for miles.

December is optimal for visiting Antarctica since penguins arrive ashore in November to build their nests, so chicks can hatch in December.  This is also when the sea ice breaks up, providing visitors greater access to fluffy penguin chicks, narrow fjords and inlets, and iceberg-strewn beaches.

Like our ever-changing planet, Antarctica is not immune to the effects of climate change.  In fact the ozone hole was first discovered by scientists working on the Antarctic Peninsula and in the last few years, there have been marked changes in the climate and animal behavior. Antarctica is a destination we recommend visiting sooner rather than later. Antarctica is not the easiest location to travel to, which is why small ship cruises are the best way to explore the continent.  These intimate expeditions are often guided by experts who are seasoned naturalists, lecturers, and National Geographic photographers.

Put Antarctica on Your Career Break Itinerary

An expedition to Antarctica requires a significant time commitment, which may be a challenge to many North Americans with limited vacation days.  While a trip to the Antarctic Peninsula may be done in two weeks, expeditions including the Falkland Islands and South Georgia range from 17-24 days. Without time constraints, career break travelers can also experience some of the highlights of South America before and/or after an Antarctic expedition, such as a week in Buenos Aires, a tour of Iguazu Falls, or trekking through Patagonia.

Taking a travel break before retirement can actually propel the direction of one’s career.  There are always adventures to be had, insights to be gained, and lessons to be learned.   Most seasoned travelers would agree that the best education is the world’s cultures.  We certainly do.

Career break travel changed Sherry’s life.  Including an expedition to Antarctica on your career break itinerary just might change yours, too.

Tune in December as Sherry and her father head south to the end of the earth via Twitter (#OttAntarctica), Facebook, Ottsworld.com and Pinterest.

ExpeditionTrips specializes in trips of a lifetime to extraordinary destinations, including Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands, Alaska, Africa, the Arctic and beyond. The world’s leading specialist in expedition travel, we offer a one-stop resource for expert advice, trip planning and outstanding service.  Founded in 1999 by former expedition leaders, naturalists, and guides, ExpeditionTrips’ mission is to help our clients experience the trip of a lifetime. Our award-winning website, offering more than 350 trips, has been voted ‘Best of the Web’ by Forbes annually since 2000, and we have been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Newsweek, Coastal Living and Men’s Journal, and highlighted as ‘The Antarctica Travel Planners’ by Travel + Leisure magazine. For more information, visit www.expeditiontrips.com.

Immerse Yourself with Personalized Spanish
Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

If you are thinking about taking a career break to travel and Latin America is on your itinerary, you might consider taking a few days to learn the language and to learn more about the environment you will be visiting. Personalized Spanish in Costa Rica offers a language and cultural immersion program that gives you the opportunity to do just that.

We invite you to take this first step with us!

Traveling in Latin America needs some preparation. Learning how to communicate in Spanish while exploring Latin countries will open many new opportunities for personal growth. Our program allows you to have a meaningful experience that will be key during the rest of your trip, allowing you to better understand and participate in local cultures.

Personalized Spanish is a school that goes beyond any other Spanish schools; class sizes of three or less allow us to provide maximum personalized attention. You will not only learn vocabulary, useful expressions and grammatical aspects of the language, you will have a real experience into Latin American history, culture, and flavor.

Our typical day begins with morning coffee and discussion of Costa Rican expressions, current weather and news. After a couple of hours of class in the morning, everybody comes together to socialize in the main patio over tropical fruit drinks and snacks. We return to classes for another two or three hours and then enjoy lunch together. Afternoons are used to visit nearby historical and cultural places of interest guided by of our school teachers.

If you choose to stay with a local family, your host family will be waiting for you with a nice cup of coffee, delicious dinner and conversation when you arrive home in the evening. We offer weekend trips to enjoy the rest of the country, including visits to historic sites, national parks, volcanoes and beaches.

Costa Rica is well known for its stable democracy and peaceful traditions. It is also safe for travelers to visit and is one of the planet’s most biodiverse countries.

Stay with us at least a week to get you started, or stay for a longer period in order to get deeper into our cultural experience.

Before jumping into Latin America, we recommend you:

♦ Learn historical, cultural, and basic languages concepts.
♦ Learn about fiestas, social, political and religious life.
♦ Sample a variety of our food and drinks.
♦ Recognize the many cultural differences and patterns in Latin America.

Other school services may include:

♦ Airport pick up, internet access and wi-fi and international calls.
♦ Specialized services related to volunteer placement in local organizations such as schools and churches.
♦ Home stays, including two hearty meals, laundry, private room and wi-fi.

For more information please contact us:
Email: info@personalizedspanish.com
Phone: Miami (786)245 4124 or Costa Rica (506)2278 3254
Web: www.personalizedspanish.com
Facebook: Personalized Spanish

Special offers available through March 13, 2013:

♦ Personalized Spanish offers you the opportunity to register for two weeks in our Standard Spanish and Cultural Immersion program and receive a free adventure weekend for one person that includes: visiting the world famous Arenal volcano, relaxing in a hot spring and feeling the adrenaline rush of a zip line.

♦ Get two free hours of  online Spanish classes when you sign up for our 10 hour Spanish Online Program (12 hours of classes for the price of 10!)

Good Health: Don’t Leave Home Without It
Thursday, October 25th, 2012

You’ve heard them: stories of woe from your friends and family.  It was a vacation derailed by diarrhea.  Or a business trip sabotaged by jet lag and food poisoning.  Or maybe a spring break trip undone by dehydration, “Montezuma’s revenge” or worse…

You’ve worked too hard to prepare for your travels.  Don’t let a few preventable health issues ruin your time abroad.  Instead, keep these simple precautions in mind, and you’ll be free to enjoy the trip of your dreams!

Beat the Bugs

♦ Tropical insects like mosquitoes carry malaria and other serious diseases.

♦ Wear insect repellent containing DEET and reapply it after swimming or heavy sweating.

♦ Wear protective clothing like pants and long sleeves when practical.

♦ Sleep in air-conditioned, well-screened areas.

♦ Limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.

♦ Use bed nets permeated with a permethrin insecticide.

♦ Use coils and insect sprays containing pyrethrum to kill insects in living or sleeping quarters.

You are what you eat (or drink)

Almost 50% of travelers come home with diarrhea, but contaminated food and water can give you more than that.

♦ Only buy commercially packaged water bottles and soft drinks.  Be sure to break the seal yourself!

♦ Consider various water purification methods, such as filters and boiling.  Be wary of ice cubes, unless you know they’re made from purified water.

♦ Eat food that’s well cooked and served hot.

♦ Avoid leftovers, food from street vendors, unpasteurized dairy products, raw shellfish, cold cuts, salads, watermelon, puddings or canned food if the tin appears swollen.

♦ When it comes to fruits and vegetables: peel it, boil it, or forget it!

Give your trip a shot in the arm

Your best defense against many diseases is vaccination.  Before you step on the plane, you should step into a travel clinic to receive your recommended shots.

♦ Your destination country may require you to get certain shots.  That’s a great place to start!  However, these requirements are in place to protect the citizens of that country, not you.  To find out what shots you need to protect your health, visit a travel clinic.

♦ Some vaccines take time to work.  Schedule your appointment four to six weeks before you leave.  (Procrastinator alert: if you’ve got less than four weeks to go, it’s still worth it to make an appointment.  Some shots start to work much faster and even partial immunity is better than none!)

♦ Remember to include the price of vaccines in your budget.  Like travelers’ insurance, a little expense now can save you big bucks in health care costs later.

More tips!

If you found this article helpful, check us out on Facebook and Twitter for daily travel health tips.

Passport Health is a trusted name in travel medicine with over 200 locations across the United States.  We would love an opportunity to talk to you about your trip and provide any supplies or vaccines you may need to stay healthy.  Make an appointment today!

 

Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go