Maracas Beach. Shark and bake. Doubles. An ice cold Carib. Crossing the stage on Carnival Tuesday. Feting till the sun comes up and crawling into bed at 6 am. Sunday lunch with family. Liming with friends who you’ve known all your life. All of these things make Trinidad a beautiful and blessed place to live.
But, for some people who have itchy feet, these things are sometimes not enough to keep you there for ever and ever. Some just feel the need to get out, whether for a few months, a few years, or for good.
If you feel a desire to spread your wings but don’t know where to start, I have compiled a mother load of information and links on things you can do to get yourself overseas exploring the world. I hope you will find them useful.
1. Going abroad to study : If you happen to have generous parents, this is an easy option, and a good opportunity to try to stay somewhere long term by finding a job during or after graduation. If you aren’t blessed with parents with deep pockets, don’t despair. There are a number of countries in Europe that offer free or very low tuition even to international students, such as Germany, Spain, Finland, and more.
2. Join the JET Program : Already got a degree? Consider joining the JET Program – Japan Exchange Teaching — run by the Embassy of Japan in T&T. The job entails teaching English in Japan at a Japanese high school for a year. This job has pretty good benefits — housing, flights, good salary, good holidays. You must apply in October-November, interviews are held in Jan-Feb, candidates are chosen in April, and off you go to Japan in July.
3. Teaching at international schools: If you are a qualified teacher with a Bachelors or Masters degree in Education, there are many jobs at international schools all over the globe. The hottest place to work these days is in Asia and the Middle East where there is a large young population, fast economic growth, and an ever increasing number of international schools. Think Dubai, Bahrain, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Turkey.
4. Cruise ship jobs : How about a life at sea? Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean regularly employ Trinis to work on board in hospitality jobs. Can be a great opportunity to see a lot of different countries in a short period of time. I’ve been told you have to get used to living in small quarters with a roommate, and quite long work hours. It is a good option for saving cash, as you’re stuck on board anyway and don’t have much to spend it on. The only recruiter I know in Trinidad is called Shipmate Services. You can visit their office to get an application.
5. CARICOM visa: If you don’t want to go too far from home, you could apply for the Caricom single market and economy scheme which allows for free movement of skilled people in any Caricom member state. A good friend of mine is working right now in Barbados on this and loves it, and I know people who have been to Grenada, St. Kitts, Barbuda and Jamaica for work. At least you will be closer to home!
6. Become a flight attendant: Many flight attendants take up this job for the sole purpose of travelling the world (or at least as far as CAL flies). You could soon be snapping pictures of Big Ben in England, or shopping in Times Square in New York. But don’t just limit yourself locally. In the papers recently, there have been many job ads for airlines in the Middle East, particularly Qatar and Dubai, which are poaching flight attendants from smaller airlines. These are very big and prestigious airlines that will provide transport, housing, and benefits, and give you the chance to literally fly everywhere, from Paris to Tokyo to Rio de Janeiro. Just be mindful of the local laws and customs when living in a Middle Eastern country.
So, in conclusion, if you are a determined young Trini, there are obviously many ways to ship yourself abroad. Just start doing research, and start saving money. Take a course, if necessary. It may take many months to finally get the opportunity you want, but patience is a virtue. The day that you get that letter saying that you have been accepted to the program/job/course will be a happy and exciting day. Leaving home for a foreign land is a scary and wonderful experience, but well worth the risk.
In closing, I’d like to share my favourite quote, from the movie Big Fish:
“Kept in a small bowl, the goldfish will remain small.
With more space, the fish can grow double, triple, or quadruple its size.”
Hope these tips will help you find that bigger bowl out there…