Having been born and raised in Utah, I became accustomed to seeing friends and family leave to serve missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some serve in exotic locations (South Africa, Taiwan, Peru) and others go to not so exotic locations (we still love you, Ogden). However, a mission is simply not for everyone. And for those who either cannot, choose not to, or are searching for another way to serve or go abroad, I present these ways to go discover the world beyond our beloved state of Utah.
#1 STUDY ABROAD
Hello, obvious. Studying abroad is the proven and tried method. But don’t take this option for granted! The fluidity of having a predetermined process makes the jump abroad simpler and well organized. You can continue your education while having experiences others only dream about.
Curious what’s out there? Click the following universities to be redirected to their study abroad sites.
University of Utah Utah State University Utah Valley University Weber State University Brigham Young University Provo (BYU Idaho HERE & BYU Hawaii HERE) Southern Utah University Western Governers University Dixie State University
Still not convinced? McKel Miller, a student at Dixie State University, studied abroad in Italy through Utah Valley University. Check out her instagram feed and try telling me that you DON’T want to be her right now.
#2 TEACHING ENGLISH
Becoming increasingly popular, teaching English is a uniquely challenging but incredibly rewarding opportunity. With countless programs to choose from, where do you begin? Check out International Language Programs who works with schools in 8 countries across 3 continents. Well known for their service oriented spirit of adventure, a semester with “ILP” is one that you will never forget.
Not convinced? Paul Bowles, author of this article, taught with ILP in Moscow, Russia Fall 2014. Surrounded by adorable children, supportive co teachers and a continent at his fingers tips, Russia was in his mind the perfect choice to get a taste for life abroad.
#3 HELP INTERNATIONAL / YMAD (SERVE ABROAD)
HELP International originates from Utah but has such a wide reaching impact. With volunteers spread across 4 continents, they’ve been empowering locals and fighting poverty for almost 20 years. They truly embody the idea of being a citizen of the world.
Youth Making a Difference (also a Utah based organization) makes a similar difference with youth going on trips to India. While in India, “teaching English, giving medical exams to the children, playing games, and doing large service projects,” become of the focus in this incredible cultural exchange. YMAD is directed at juniors in high school however college and adult applications are available.
Not convinced? Kirsten Moffat, a BYU Idaho graduate, served in Nepal with HELP International. She’s discovered how fulfilling serving abroad is and how quickly those you serve find a place in your heart. She currently works at HELP International HQ in Provo, Utah. Kirsten does not have an Instagram but look up @helpintl to see more volunteers and the change brought about by this extraordinary organization.
#4 AU PAIR
For those unfamiliar with the term, an “au pair” is basically a live-in nanny who works in a country that is not their native country. Popularized in Europe, and still very common today, many young adults (hey hey, Generation Y!) are finding this to be their ticket abroad. Situations differ from family to family but it’s a pretty sweet set up if you’re looking to live abroad, learn a language, discover a city, and experience a culture.
Not convinced? Katelyn Vogel from Tooele, Utah is living the dream in Paris, France where she blends her work with international travel. Here’s some advice on how to score a job in Paris.
#5 NANNY WITHIN THE USA
If going abroad is maybe too big of a first step, why not jet over to another part of the US? Nannying can provide all the benefits of being an au pair, but while still within the comfort of the USA. Ever considered LA or San Francisco? Or do you lean towards NYC? Your Child’s Nanny is an agency that places nannies and personal assistants all across the US. They even offer the option of being placed with an LDS family.
Not convinced? Rachel Allred, currently a student at the University of Utah, has worked on both coasts in San Francisco and NYC respectively.
Well, there you have it. Now, go! Be brave. Be adventurous. Create incredible memories. The beautiful phenomenon about wanderlust is that once you’ve set the spark, it’s ignites something inside that is simply unquenchable. That’s why I continue to travel, and that’s why I believe that you should too.
All photos have been used with the direct consent of their respective owners for this publication.