SWAP’s Summer USA 2015 program is now open!

Board meetings are better in Hawaii.

swap.ca/summerUSA

USA-surf-2015-1000px

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Travel: The Only Thing You Buy That Makes You Richer… But You Need Money to Make It Happen!

travelfund

Your feet are itchy. But luckily, it’s the kind of itch that needs to be cured with a plane ticket, not a foot cream. This trip, whether it’s for study, volunteer, or work, has been on your mind for the past few weeks, months, years. You don’t need any more convincing, you’ve decided to go abroad and you know it will be the best experience ever. Now, just one small detail – how do you get started?

They say that “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” While this is true, let’s keep in mind that you need money in order to make that travel dream happen in the first place. No matter where you decide to go, getting the ticket and spending money is going to involve some work. That means you’re going to need to save some money – pesos, yen, euros, you name it, and you’re going to need plenty of it! If you’ve been a student before, you probably have the frugal living thing down pat. You know you can trade in your car for a bike (hey, it even doubles as exercise!), browse the free section on Craigslist or shop at thrift stores (for second-hand footwear, remember to always wear socks, otherwise you’ll need that cream afterall). You can get into extreme couponing, cut your own hair, avoid shopping malls at all costs, find free events in town, tone down your caffeine intake, drinking and partying, and eat at home more. It’s possible to cut down your living expenses by getting a roommate, turning down your heating and layering up, and negotiating your utility bills. In order to make more money, there’s always the option of getting a second job, taking on random gigs, or selling some of your worldly possessions. One helpful money tip is to think of things in terms of wants and needs. Before you buy something, ask yourself which category it fits into and go from there. That simple question and a little pre-purchase pep talk can seriously help curve impulse spending.

By now, you may already be on your way towards saving, but what if you’re not sure where to go and what to do? There are just so many options out there and it can be really overwhelming. One great place to start your trip is to attend the Study and Go Abroad Fairs taking place in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, or Calgary between Feb. 25 to March 1. There are study, work, and travel abroad options to over 100 countries! The Travel Zone has exciting opportunities for volunteering, language travel, internships, and something that we know a thing or two about – work abroad programs. So make sure you stop by and say hi to the friendly SWAP staff in attendance. Pre-registering will save you time and score you a chance to win big in the Grand Prize Draw, including a trip of a lifetime (some serious money saving right there!). The best part is you don’t even have to decide if it’s a want or a need because it’s FREE to attend. See you there!

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Talk to us this month at the Study and Go Abroad Fairs!

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This month, we’re coming to you (well, 4 cities that you may or may not live in or be near) for the awesome Study and Go Abroad Fairs! Come say hi and ask us anything about working abroad.

VANCOUVER – February 25th
OTTAWA – February 27th
MONTREAL – February 28th
TORONTO – March 1st (our hometown!)

Check out this link for all the details and we’ll see you there!

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We have 3 NEW South Africa volunteer programs!

We’re excited to announce our 3 NEW South Africa volunteer programs! They are unique opportunities where you can help: research and care for lions, protect rhinos and elephants from poachers, or make a difference at a children’s orphanage.

SWAP South Africa Ukutula Lion Research Project: http://swap.ca/out_eng/destinations/south-africa-ukutula-lion-research-project.aspx

SWAP South Africa Soweto Children’s Orphanage Project: http://swap.ca/out_eng/destinations/south-africa-soweto-orphanage-project.aspx

SWAP South Africa Mutogomeli Rhino and Elephant Initiative: http://swap.ca/out_eng/destinations/south-africa-mutogomeli-rhino-elephant-initiative.aspx

South-Africa-Ukutula

South-Africa-Orphanage

South-Africa-Mutogomeli

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Guest Post: To gap or not to gap? That is the question!

gap

While the gap year or “year out” has been a common and popular rite of passage in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and many countries in Europe for decades, traditionally North American students have ridden the academic conveyor belt all the way from preschool to university without a break. Now the tides are changing and many soon-to-be high school graduates are saying they’re burnt out, and need more time before deciding what they want to take at university. Instead of packing for their first year, they are now booking their flights to go volunteering in Africa, or work on a yacht in the Caribbean.

North America is starting to catch on to the “gap year” syndrome, and for good reason. Amid concerns about drop-out rates, researchers now say that students who go straight to university often find themselves in a program that doesn’t interest them, and are more likely to change programs, thus prolonging their degree and increasing their debt level, and they are more likely to quit. Experts now say that going straight to university may be short-sighted for some and a year out is the way to go.

Taking a gap year has never been easier. Many universities are now willing to defer start dates for a year – York University is embracing this gap year phenomenon with its Bridging the Gap program and “celebrates” a student’s choice to take a year off to gain work experience, do community service or go on an international exchange and will reserve the student’s admission spot for up to a year provided he or she is accepted into the program. Harvard University, one of the top universities in the world, has always been ahead of its time and for the past 40 years has proposed that students take a year out in its letter of admission.

Is there a downside to taking a gap year? Not really, according to a 2008 Statistics Canada report published jointly with Canadian Policy Research Networks. The report found that students who delay postsecondary education don’t face a disadvantage in the labour market later on – as long as they actually complete their program once started. In fact, a Canadian Council of Learning study found that students who took a gap year were eight per cent more likely to be employed upon finishing all their studies.

Understandably, many parents are a little nervous that their son or daughter will be side-tracked and destined to remain degree-less forever. However, even though there are no formal studies on the actual number of gap year students who do make their way to university, admissions staff say that only a few drop off the radar. On the contrary, a year out can make you more focused, better prepared for university life and more likely to complete at least one university degree. After all, it’s not getting into university that counts – it’s getting the degree at the end of the line!

“To gap or not to gap… that is the question.” Students who have taken the year out, universities, and the latest statistics are saying “Yes, go for it!” Although it may be a daunting prospect for parents and students to divert from the “safe” bound-for-university-after-high-school route, the rewards and benefits are well worth stepping out of that comfort zone. To find out more about gap year options, come and visit the Study and Go Abroad Fair and meet universities from around the world as well as student travel organizations.  For more information, check out www.studyandgoabroad.com.

Contributed by:

 Katie Idle, Director of Sales and Marketing
Study and Go Abroad Fairs
katie@recruitincanada.com
www.studyandgoabroad.com

1024x512_swapSWAP Working Holidays is thrilled to be at each stop of this year’s Study and Go Abroad fair. Stop by, say hello, ask us questions, get information!

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Meet us at the Go Global Expos in Toronto and Montreal!

We’re excited to be at the Go Global Expo – Work, Study, Volunteer Abroad this fall! If you’re interested in doing a working holiday and have some questions, come talk to us at our booths (and pick up our new brochure)! Can’t wait to talk to all of you!

Blog-Slider-640xany Blog-Slider-640xany2

(Sorry, Boston, maybe next time)

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SWAP’s coming to you for the Study and Go Abroad Fairs!

1024x512_swapWe’re thrilled to be seen all around the country  during the Study and Go Abroad Fairs in five cities (we didn’t forget about you, West Coast)! Come say hi and ask us anything about working abroad.

VANCOUVER – September 27th
CALGARY – September 28th
EDMONTON – September 30th
OTTAWA – October 2nd
TORONTO – October 4th and 5th (our hometown!)

Check out this link for all the details and we’ll see you there!

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#Throwback Thursday: 90’s SWAPPERs Reunion!

When moving abroad, the first thoughts tend to be what you have to leave behind – family, friends, pets, your job, your routine, which we know can be a bit overwhelming! But there is also the exciting opportunity to think of what you’ll get to bring back with you (and we don’t just mean souvenirs for your folks.)

One of the best things about a working holiday though is that not only do you get to experience a whole new lifestyle, but you also get to meet people you never would have if you stayed at home – and these friendships can end up lasting a lifetime.

Scott, a former UK SWAPPER, got in touch with us recently to let us know that he was organizing a reunion for his friends that he met on SWAP – back in 1998! Not only did Scott have an amazing time in the UK, he also met some amazing people, and their friendship is now 16 years strong. With one of the gang approaching the big 4-0, they decided to throw a SWAP reunion to celebrate their time in the UK.

We were thrilled to be a part of their reunion and our awesome marketing department designed some pretty retro t-shirts for the big day:

SWAP-shirt

The gang was nice enough to rock the SWAP t-shirts and send us a group picture. Looking good, everyone! We hope you had a great time!

SWAP-reunion

Visas have their time limits, but the experiences, memories, and friendships you’ll bring back home with you last much longer!

SWAP has been sending Canadians abroad for almost 40 years now, so we’re sure there are many more friendships that all started out with a dream and a plane ticket. Share or make new memories with over 6,000 SWAPPERS on our Facebook group or tweet us @_SWAP_

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#ThisIsYourYear to live, find work and make new friends in an exciting new country!

SWAP-Australia-ThisIsYourYear

www.swap.ca/destinations

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SWAP Takes the ALS #IceBucketChallenge!

We were challenged to the ALS #IceBucketChallenge by USIT Ireland and we did it! This is a great fundraising campaign for important ALS research, so please go to http://www.als.ca/icebucketchallenge and give what you can!

We are nominating: IEP New Zealand, the SWAP Vancouver office, and Samesun Backpackers in Vancouver! You are challenged to donate for ALS research or dump a bucket of ice water on your heads!

SWAP-ALS-thumbnail

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5I8oMHyDV4A

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USIT Ice Bucket Challenge

“Sure what else would we be doing on our lunch break!? We’ve decided to take part in this challenge for an amazing cause, supporting the MND Association and have all donated our €2 by texting MND to 50300. Now, are you up for the challenge Fitzgeralds Bar SWAP Working Holidays and Ryanair???! #IceBucketChallenge
We accept this challenge! We’ll donate / film it this week and pass it on to three others! So remember everyone, this is not just for awareness but also fundraising – go to http://www.ALS.CA/ICEBUCKETCHALLENGE and throw in a few bucks if you can!
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Our 2014 SWAP Experience Contest Winners!

We are thrilled to announce the 8 winners of our 2014 SWAP Experience Contest! After receiving entries from all over the world, we randomly drew the name of our grand prize, and had separate competitions for the best photos and stories.

Congratulations to MADEEHA ($500 grand prize), MYRIAM (cover photo prize), and RYAN, ERIC + BRITTANY, EMILY, ROBYN, and LAUREN (story prizes)!

We loved seeing everyone’s amazing experiences through SWAP. SWAPPERs in 2013-14 gained permanent careers, found themselves, connected with new loves, and created unforgettable memories. Thank you, thank you for sharing it with us!

Let’s do this again next year!

2014-1st

2014-photo 2014-survey

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You’ve imagined living here, being a local with a nice job. Now stop imagining. #ThisIsYourYear

SWAP-Imagine-ThisIsYourYear

www.swap.ca/destinations

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Enter the 2014 SWAP Experience Contest!

Hey! Are you doing your SWAP working holiday right now, or have finished one recently? If so, you can enter our $750 SWAP Experience contest! All we want is for you to tell us about your experience abroad, add some photos of your working holiday and send it in. That’s it! All the details can be found here: http://swap.ca/news/june-2014/

2014-SWAP-Experience

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#ThisIsYourYear to live more green in the Emerald Isle

SWAP-Ireland-ThisIsYourYear

www.swap.ca/destinations

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Throwback Thursday – It’s an Old SWAP Brochure from 1984!

#TBT Throwback Thursday! We found a bunch of our older SWAP brochures and we wanted to share them with you. This one’s 30 years old, from the year 1984 (beside our newest 2014-15 brochure)! SWAP would’ve been in business for 9 years at that point.

Some fun facts about SWAP in 1984:
- We used to participate in a mixed softball league in London!
- There used to be “organized evenings of discussion with British Members of Parliament and local government officials”.
- Back then, you could only enter New Zealand at two points in the year. Only one arrival time for Belgium. That’s crazy.
- At that point, SWAP was an acronym (Student Work Abroad Program). Now we’re simply SWAP Working Holidays!
- Of the 11 office locations listed in the 1984 brochure, one is still in the exact same place now in 2014 (the University of Alberta office)!

SWAP-brochure-1984-1 SWAP-brochure-1984-2

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#ThisIsYourYear to kick-start your career with an internship in the USA

SWAP-USA-ThisIsYourYear

www.swap.ca/internshipUSA

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#ThisIsYourYear to write the next chapter of your life’s story

SWAP-UK-ThisIsYourYear

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SWAP Talk in Saskatoon!

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The ROI On Studying Abroad

Studying abroad can be an exciting opportunity to travel and live in another culture. However, depending on the destination, it may be considerably more expensive than staying at home in Canada – especially for those students still living with their parents. The costs can add up – tuition fees, accommodation, food, transportation and other living expenses. The big question is … is it worth the extra expense?

Studies say: YES. Studying abroad can have a positive impact on your career goals, marketable skills and general employability.

According to the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE)’s World of Learning: Canadian Post-Secondary Students and the Study Abroad Experience report, 91% of employers thought that studying abroad was an advantage and identified an extensive list of benefits, including a better understanding of cultural differences inside and outside the workplace, and more world experience which makes for an easier adaptation to unfamiliar environments and enhanced life skills.

In today’s economy, it is more important than ever to “stand out from the crowd’ and time spent studying abroad can give graduates that competitive edge which will improve their chances of landing their dream job.

An online survey conducted by Higher Education Strategy Associates of 2,742 Canadians enrolled in an undergraduate program in a degree-granting institution during the 2009-10 academic year revealed that more than half of the students had either studied abroad, or were at least considering it. Of these, 93 percent felt that their studies abroad had improved their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment and had increased their knowledge of international affairs and that these two factors were important in getting a job after graduation.

Many universities in Canada now have partnerships with international universities and encourage students to participate in study abroad and exchange programs.  Classrooms around the world are becoming ‘global’ and offer a plethora of opportunities to learn about other cultures and to form long-lasting friendships and potential business contacts across borders.

At the Study and Go Abroad Fair in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, universities from around the world will be showcasing undergraduate and postgraduate degrees as well as Certificate and Diploma programs abroad.  Check out the Travel Zone for Gap Year, work abroad, internships and language travel opportunities.

- Katie Idle

Study and Go Abroad Fair, Canada’s largest international university and student travel expo www.studyandgoabroad.com

StudyGoAbroadSpring2014

SWAP Working Holidays will be at the Study and Go Abroad Fairs in Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto. Come talk to us about any of our fantastic work and travel abroad programs! #ThisIsYourYear #GoSWAP

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