Gen is currently living a pretty nomadic lifestyle and working her way across the globe, getting lost in every single country and worrying her mom sick.
Why did you choose this program?
I chose this program because I had been in Asia for more than a year at that point, and Chile seemed like a good change of pace – a way to get me back into culture shock. As a bonus, StepAbroad is a Canadian company, and it's always good to encourage our own. A Working Holiday also shows up pretty well on a résumé, won't lie!
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
StepAbroad did most of the planning. They found a program that worked with the time I had available. They sent me a novel's worth of information on the country so that I'd know what to expect; they booked my in-country flight and got me airport pickups and the likes. The only thing I had to do really, was book my flight to Chile, and even then, if I had asked, they would've probably done it for me.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
You can prepare as much as you want and the company can have prepped you to no end, but there will still be surprises, and that's okay. South American culture is very different, and we're just along for the ride.
I think the biggest thing people should know is that as amazing as it is to be in another country and fully experience it, there will still be bad days and mishaps. But at the end of the trip, it will all be more than worth it!
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
In the Working Holiday Program in Chile, there are many different jobs. For me, I worked a couple of hours a day, usually early morning or late evening at the front desk of a hostel. I checked people in and checked people out. Whenever I had free time, I walked around my city or hopped on a bus to somewhere new.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
I go into trips pretty mindlessly, so I didn't really have any fears. However, the language barrier had never bothered me in Asia but in Chile it was extremely difficult for me to understand pretty much anything.
The fear of sounding stupid is there for anyone learning a language (I should know; I teach English) but you have to keep in mind that most people are just happy that you're trying to power your way through an encounter even if it's with very mediocre Spanish.
What would you tell people who are thinking about going on a travel program?
Just go for it. Find a way to make get on that plane and live out that crazy experience. I'm not saying every step will be a piece of cake but when it's all done, it will have been worth it. Bonus, you'll have great stories to tell people that will make you seem way cooler than you've ever actually been!