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Working as an activity leader abroad
As the holiday season draws near, you might be looking for a student job which will allow you to see the world… If you enjoy being around children and are able to speak a foreign language, work abroad as an activity leader! Your main duty will be to make sure the summer camp or language study abroad program takes place smoothly. Though salaries often are rather low, many employers will pay for all travel and living expenses. Spotlight on the perfect job for students looking to travel the world while gaining valuable experience!
What does an activity leader abroad do?
An activity leader’s responsibilities do not especially depend on which country you are heading to. Your daily tasks will mostly be related to what type of program you are taking part in: if you work on a summer camp, you will probably spend a lot of time supervising outdoor activities whereas if you are employed by a language school, you might be expected to prepare afternoon workshops.
Activity leaders are responsible for supervising a group of children or teenagers during the entire duration of their stay abroad. They ensure the program participants enjoy themselves and plan visits, excursions or other activities such as sports, crafts or night events. To prepare a walking tour or a quiz night, excellent organization skills and creativity are a must!
Programs abroad usually last between 1 week and 2 months, in many locations worldwide. Conditions can vary greatly depending on the company your work for. Don’t just check how much you will be paid; take a close look at what your employer will be paying for. You should expect the cost of the round trip tickets and of food & accommodation to be covered. In some cases, the company will also pay for:
- international insurance,
- visa fees,
- airport pick-up, train and bus transfers…
Your activity leader salary will sometimes depend on your age and whether or not you hold a specific qualification (such as a life guard certificate) or are a returning staff member.
Do I meet the requirements?
To work as an activity leader abroad, being fluent in English is often compulsory. A good knowledge of other foreign languages also might be required, depending on the location. All activity leaders must be at least 18 years old (21 years old in some companies) and have a clean police record. There may also be other requirements such as:
- having a first aid or life saving qualification,
- having a sports or youth coaching qualification,
- previous experience of working with children or teenagers.
Last but not least, having an energetic and enthusiastic personality is essential: you need to actually enjoy working with kids!
How do I secure an activity leader position?
Though activity leaders mostly work during the holiday season, many companies hire all year round. Various specialized websites such as summer-jobs.co.uk, seasonworkers.com or bunac.org publish a number of job offers.
During the application process, you will frequently need to supply references and copies of some or all of the following documents: passport or ID document, work permit, diplomas and certificates, police certificate. Before going abroad, activity leaders usually must attend a pre-departure meeting or orientation day.
Want to be an activity leader in a language school abroad?
Find a language school on the IALC website.