For those of you who don’t know, while studying abroad I will be juggling a few classes and also a sweet gig at a hostel in the city center of Utrecht, Netherlands.
A hostel is similar to a hotel, but travelers can stay there cheaper because the rooms are set up “dorm style.” You will have your own locker for personal belongings, but share a large room with other travelers.
When I tell my coworkers and friends this, they always have two questions: How did you land a job like that? Have you seen the movie Hostel?!
For starters, I am not a scary movie fanatic, nor do I plan to be, so please don’t scare me out of working there!
And secondly, I came across this job through a website called workaway.info.
I was scrambling to find a place to stay for the semester because the student housing through my university was so expensive! Yes, I know I’m studying abroad and will need to splurge once in awhile, but I was also up for a unique experience so I began searching for alternative (cheap) housing. I looked into the possibility of a home stay, but couldn’t find anything close enough to the city, or anything that allowed me to have some free time to explore my new surroundings.
And then fate worked its magic and workaway.info fell right into my lap (metaphorically, of course).
Workaway.info is a website that allows travelers to work part time in the country that they’re traveling to, typically in exchange for a bed and some authentic cuisine. You can work in so many different countries for as little as a week, or as long as months on end.
You can even sign up as a single person or with your significant other! The only catch was paying a fee for creating your account, but the fee covers a membership for two years. ($29 for a single person or $38 for a couple)
After creating my profile that detailed my skills, interests and hobbies, plus a few pictures so interested hosts would know I’m not a robot, I was ready to reach out to possible hosts.
I searched for opportunities in Utrecht, Netherlands, where I will be staying, and found nine options. After reading each profile, I sent a message to three hosts, two of which were volunteer positions at hostels.
I didn’t hear back from any of the hosts for two weeks, and I almost lost hope. But if I’ve learned one thing from the process of studying abroad, it would be to never give up!
I received an email two weeks later from the owners of the hostel and they offered me a position!
In exchange for working 12-16 hours a week, I will be sharing an apartment with four other female workers and I will have my groceries paid for (basic ingredients to make breakfast, lunch and dinner).
I will primarily have reception duties, in addition to making sure the hostel is clean and up to the guests standards.
In no way will this be the typical study abroad experience, but I’ve always been open to new things and I’m excited to see what this opportunity will bring me.
Disclaimer: This is not intended to be an advertisement or promotion for workaway.info. This is simply me sharing my experience through their website.