View Full Version : Creative (read: Cheap) Study Abroad?

09-18-2013, 11:25 AM
I have this relatively unique family situation, in that I basically have the summer to do as I please with my kids, while dh is stuck working in a climate where we don't stay because it's just too hot to ever leave the house--and we can't live more than a few days without going outdoors.

So I am ISO super cheap opportunities for us to practice foreign languages and learn about other cultures. The kids are still pretty young (will be 10 and 13), but are really capable for their age, with lots of farm experience.

I just sent an inquiry for a working vacation in France. I see there are probably opportunities through WWOOF (http://www.wwoof.net/) on organic farms, but I am just dipping in a toe and just subscribing to their site for France is $$. We're looking for a francophone opportunity, preferably in Europe.

Has anyone here done anything similar? I suppose we could rent a place somewhere and not necessarily do a working vacation, but it just seems that a 5-hour workday would be helpful for language skills, and covering room and board would help us extend our stay and get more out of it.

I was an exchange student in HS. It was definitely life-changing for me. I'd love to share a similar experience with my children.

Would appreciate recommendations. Thanks!

09-18-2013, 12:06 PM
We seem to have a lot in common... I was an exchange student in high school too. It was awesome and I'm still friends with the people I met while there. :)

My family is obviously in the same position as you re: summer and so please post anything you find that is affordable in Europe. I'm not stuck on a working vacation though that seems interesting considering free room and board! I'd like to spend a lot of June/July/August abroad but can't afford to do that if I have to pay 100 euros a night for an apartment somewhere. :/

09-18-2013, 12:19 PM
A friend of mine owns a small organic farm near here, and she has used "WWOOFers" on her farm. She raves about the program. She has had some great people come through, from a lot of different places. So, I don't know how easy it is to find a good place, but the program in general seems to be good. One difficulty here is that if you're out in the country, you're kind of stuck out there. My friend is able to drive her WWOOFers into the city pretty often. I would definitely think about what your transportation options are in your location before committing.

09-24-2013, 08:17 AM
So, I think we are going to take a serious look at WWOOF when we are settled in.

We are hitting the road back to UAE next week, but it is a roundabout trip. Kids and I will make a short stop in Paris for some sightseeing and then we visit the ILs in N Africa, but then we touch down and get back to business late October.

I think I'll pay for a WWOOF membership and see if anyone is willing to host me with my kids. My major concerns are two: people assume my kids don't know how and won't want to work, as this is often the case with novice kids and farm work; and maybe it's possible that labor regs could make it hard or impossible for the kids to be allowed to work.

I am not looking for the high-end farm stay experience, and this seems to be what is on offer for people with kids. We're old farmers (hence the username ;)) and we miss being a part of the action.

09-24-2013, 08:35 AM
Have also found workaway.info as a resource, but the same thing: membership required to get in touch with potential hosts.

09-24-2013, 11:51 AM
It seems to me like most of the people on the workaway site are looking for college/gap year kids to come and work for them. As much as I like the concept I wonder about the success in trying to find something that would fit a family.

Good luck with WWOOF and let me know how it goes!