Work Abroad: Hostel Work

There are a million ways to work overseas. Jobs available range from corporate office slave driving to bar work and manual labor. If you’re looking to boost your resume and sell your soul to the international corporate devil, be our guest. But if you’re looking for some fun and interesting work overseas to kill time, meet people, and have a blast, we suggest you consider working abroad in a hostel.

Hostel work overseas may not be for everyone, okay, it’s certainly not for everyone. Chances are you’ll be cleaning toilets, changing bed sheets, and standing around behind the front desk. You’ll probably have to scrub a floor or two and you’ll be doing it for almost no money, but don’t fret Cinderella, it’s all worth while in the end. Because while you’re working, you’ll also be meeting groups of beautiful young women from Scandinavia and charismatic young men from Italy. You’ll be boozing and hobnobbing with the hip young travelers of the world, and living the adventure together.

Sure, you’ll be working in a hostel, and sure you’ll only be making enough money to fund the further destruction of your liver, but the people you’ll be working with will make it all worthwhile.

Remember, you didn’t come overseas looking for a job abroad that will make you rich and famous – you came to have a good time and experience life in another country. You’ll be hanging with fun, young travelers like yourself, who happen to be looking to meet (read: hookup) with other hip young travelers. And where is the nexus of travel socializing? The Hostel Bar.

So go forth, my young traveler, my aspiring overseas worker, and head straight to the nearest hostel for some fun, some debauchery, and maybe a little bit of work overseas.

Next Time: Work Abroad – Teach Abroad.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
  • Student Travel Hostels

    The idea of the animatore is interesting. The fact that you can be a party planner overseas is very interesting. I guess because so many travelers speak English, it makes sense.

  • Daniel

    The whole world seems to think that knowledge of English and/or Computers can make them and their whole village rich – and if you’re reading this blog you must know a little bit about both. Teaching language and computer skills can be a great way to make money while traveling, especially in Asia and India.

    Another way to “work abroad” is to buy her a drink. Forgive the bad pun.

    If you’re female and Europe-bound, I know a girl who’s had great experiences living in Holland and Germany as an Aupair (live-in Nanny). You get the real cultural exchange thing happening, living in a local’s house instead of at a hostel. I’m sure there’s also some male aupairs out there, but I’ve never met one. Culturally advanced as it may be, Europe just doesn’t seem ready for the male aupair.

  • Ilana

    And here’s something else to spark up with… if after your hostel experience, you decide that some cash in bulk is an equally worthy goal for the years to come, selling your soul to the corporate devil can be digested more readily if you think of it as a career move; one that opens creative doors for you worldwide. Sure, you might need to have a desk, and answer to a boss. But in my 10 years of living and working abroad, I have chosen some fantastically colorful desks with spectacular city views, had brilliantly talented colleagues from whom I learned so much, and enjoyed being the right hand of bosses who became both mentors and friends. Oh, and now I can afford to take a year off and pursue whatever delights me… traveling, writing, visiting friends across the world, and exploring budding business ideas. Yeah, it was hard work. But it’s paid in much more than a generous salary. I’m proud of what I’ve done, of whom I’ve met, and of where I’ve lived. If you don’t call that selling your soul, then it’s an experience I recommend with excitement and passion…

  • arden

    When Jean-Jacques, a regular, first uttered the words “un demi-pression de Kro s’il vous plait”, I thought to myself I’d be quitting the job before the day was out. Eventually I learned how to pour the perfect beer and to decipher the lingo Toulousains used for a half-pint, un demi, and Kronenberg, a popular German beer. Working at an Irish Pub in the South of France was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had! Mingling with the locals or chatting up the lonely traveller is a great way to learn more about what any city has to offer, while earning enough money to see the sights and meet tons of new people along the way!

  • Deb

    Set aside all fears of confirming stereotypes of which nationality is the smelliest in a first hand way and opt for the luxurious bottom bunk of a twelve person dorm room. A correctly rigged sarong provides all the privacy needed because odds are you won’t be spending much alone time.
    In my time as a bartended for a popular Turkish hostel I learned how to belly dance, say “I love cheese” in several languages and wrote some of the worst poetry in the world. They say that knowledge of the English language can increase the depth of your traveling experience because of it’s popularity across the world, but I learned many invaluable lessons in nonverbal communication. For example if a disgruntled Turkish patron gives you the “eyebrows” when your pouring his vodka and coke, it is probably because instead of vodka you might happen to be pouring a similarly clear alcoholic spirit, Raki, because you’ve had to many of the latter. Have no fear. People are always eager to politely correct a semi drunk bartender.

  • bridget

    Being an English teacher in Prague is an unusual existence. Every morning, I was the first person awake in my apartment building, rising in the pitch black so that my lawyer student could have a review of modal verbs before his regular work day started. My work day, though, was anything but regular. I spent hours a day on Prague’s extensive network of metros and trams, shuttling myself around the city to have conversation with a group of accountants or to introduce the past perfect tense to the vice president of sales at a communications firm. With some students, I felt like a homework-assigning nuisance, to others, I felt like a ray of sunshine in a dull cubicle-trapped work day. I was an instructor but sometimes I felt that my job title was more aptly described as confidante/cocktail party hostess/entertainer. That time in my life was tiring, varied, and utterly unique.

  • Isomer Plum

    Teaching English is an excellent option, because as previously mentioned, people seem to feel that English is a magic ticket to work and wealth. With so much international business, that’s not entirely untrue. Young people also want it badly because they have to pass certain exams to study abroad in English-speaking countries, which, according to my Italian friends, is also a gem in your CV. Here in Italy, students can also bypass required English courses at university if they pass the FCE (official British Council exam). Some schools (usually public middle and high schools) will want a degree and years of experience, but most private language schools will just want a TEFL or CELTA certification. The school I worked at didn’t even require that. There are many organizations that offer certification courses in cities all over the world. I did one for a month, passed an exam and bam! TEFL certified. I have mixed feelings on the worthiness of such a course because it opens some doors, but there are others that open without one. Apart from schools, many people simply offer private lessons because you generally get paid more, can schedule at your own convenience, and use your own lesson plans. Also, being self-employed can (though not always) make the visa process easier. I see ads every single day looking for English teachers and there are many websites dedicated solely to teaching jobs abroad. They are in very high demand. My boss was kind of insane, but my other colleagues were really great people and I had a lot of fun. I had never taught before and I was amazed by how fond I grew of my students and how much work is involved in the profession. I got to know some of them pretty well and got to watch them really improve (because of me! incredible) and I learned so much about English grammar and about myself and will forever view my own teachers in a new light. I no longer work there as my studies have taken over my life, though I’m thinking that having an income again would be nice. I’d like something different though, after all, being abroad is all about trying new things. Could be fun to work at a pub – I’m a native English speaker in a high tourist area who’s also fluent in the local language, so I’ve probably got a shot. Considering the stories I can tell from being a patron, I can only imagine what I might be able to share from working at one. We’ll see…

  • alena

    Ahh, hospitality: the catch-all industry for travelers trying to work, play, and gain a bit of insight into their new home. In spite of my assurances to friends and family that I would just “be a bartender or something!”, I arrived in Australia without an ounce of experience and a resume that said things like “literary magazine” and “sailing team.” Luckily, a local café took pity on me, and I got my Reef-clad proverbial foot in the door. That’s honestly all it takes. Among other things, I learned to make an extra dry cappuccino, properly chop an onion, pronounce “tomato basil soup” without being mocked, mix a mean Rusty Nail, pinpoint various UK accents, and carry three hot, heavy plates at one time. These skills have brought me across Oz and New Zealand, ensuring that I always have a way to support myself and fostering the confidence and freedom that comes with that knowledge. All over the world, people like to eat and drink. Wherever they do, I’ll be there, apron in hand, ready to make some cash to enjoy on the opposite side of the bar while I’m exploring the opposite ends of the earth.

  • Franny

    Japan is often referred to as the country where traditional culture meets modernity, where the old meets the new. Never has this edict been so true as in Gunma prefecture, a sparce sprawl of countryside an hour and a half northwest of Tokyo proper. I recently wrapped up a stint teaching English there.

    Sounds glamorous, right? Maybe even romantic.

    The landscape and travel most certainly were. Gunma houses Nikko, a heavily touristed, but worthy destination for travelers of Japan. This seasonal tourist trap is spotted with shrines, waterfalls, surreal viewings of changing leaves, some notable ancient temples, as well as some “onsen”, or hot springs, which Gunma is notorious for.

    Unfortunately, the work, teaching English, was much less desirable. I taught for a large English language school (not the biggest) which was advertised as light work load and long vacations. Realistically, I was at the school around 50 hours a week, usually staying until around 10pm. My boss almost never said thank you and my breaks were frequently taken by extra work or assignments. I was typically exhausted and my weekends were often spent sleeping in, grocery shopping, doing laundry, and cleaning, all of which the work week caused me to be lagging behind in.

    The select times I was able to see the country, it was magnificent. A view of the red and yellow leaves of late October near Kusaki Lake in Eastern Gunma literally took my breath away. I certainly learned how to appreciate these moments, but they were so uncommon that I wonder if there isn’t a better way.

    If you want to see a country (or countries), I recommend saving your pennies in a profitable American enteprise and then setting off on a proper vacation.

  • Kwan

    Got hands? Will work in Barcelona.

    We sat around the table nursing beers and hangovers. Partying on La Ramblas to bad Spanish Punk Rock will do that to you. Heads hung low, we whispered a plan for cash. The details were fuzzy and the reasoning complicated but the resulting action was solid: we would call home.
    Just as we were fishing into our sacks for the international calling cards Simon drags himself-all 300 dreadlocked British pounds of him-over to our table. As I’m getting up to make the call he begins to complain: his family has a plot of land about an hour and a half south that needs some work done. Work? Did he say work?
    As in Paid Work?
    Sliding back to my stool, we hear Simon’s plight and nod sympathetically. Construction? I see. Yard work? Hmm, I understand. Well maybe we can help… After some negotiations and planning, it was agreed that me and my compadre would spend a few weeks helping Simon fix up the property. In return we’d get free room and board and enough cash to get us back up to Paris. Boom Bam Bing. Problem solved and “parent get out of debt free” phone call sparred. The moral: regardless of your preparation, a lot of gigs on the road come from just keeping an ear open, reacting in the moment and not being afraid to get your hands dirty. That’s one of the best thing’s about travel: Resume’s aren’t required.

  • joanna

    Glasgow is home to over 800 pubs and clubs, tucked around every corner, stacked along every street, firmly entrenched by the Scots’ unwillingness to acknowledge the concept of socialisation without that necessary accompanying pint. Odds are good that if one so much at takes an unfortunate spill on the sidewalk, they will fall on a job opportunity at at least one of these establishments, experience or no.

    As an exchange student, I was granted 15 hours a week in which to make up for the 2.1 exchange rate burning a whole in my carefully cultivated savings. Glaswegian accents are thicker than tar at times, but I was up to the challenge. From bearing witness to the liver torture inflicted on notorious “1 Quid per Drink” nights, to faithfully Febrezing the smoky stench out of my clothes every night, working in a Glasgow bar was definitely an experience. While some nights left me one ass-grab away from snapping, for the most part it was an experience I do not regret. Student programs often cluster you with other internationals, but this was a way to escape the organisation and simply exist among the locals. My original awkwardness faded, and eventually I could understand even the most inebriated of orders. And the smoke? It disappeared around March with the installation of a fantastic little no-smoking-in-public-buildings law, so any potential servers/bartenders can happily pull pints and rake in the Pounds without sacrificing their shiny pink lungs.