Information for Parents
For those of you whose son or daughter is looking into taking a gap year, or spending some time overseas on a Changing Worlds placement, trip or tour, we are here to help and answer your questions to ensure that your are safe in the knowledge that your loved ones are travelling with a reputable organisation offering a personalised service, genuine advice and complete in-country support, as well as value for money.
As an experienced and reputable organisation in the travel market, we have facilitated amazing trips abroad for people since 1999, and in this time we have learnt a lot about the key factors that influence a successful trip for both the travellers, and those they are leaving behind. If you are about to wave your son or daughter off to travel the world and experience the freedom that comes with it, we think it is important that you are involved in the preparation process. By involving yourself in the preparation for their trip, it will, in turn, help to prepare you for their departure; and through regular contact while they are away, they will be back on home soil within what will feel like no time at all!
It can be an incredible daunting prospect to leave your home country for an extended period of time, and we understand that it can be equally daunting for a parent to say goodbye! That is why we have compiled a list of questions and useful information to help those who are a bit anxious about the prospect of letting a son or daughter travel overseas on their own (possibly for the first time).
Who Are We?
Changing Worlds is an exciting travel organisation that aims to provide life changing travel experiences for individuals looking to take part in placements overseas during a gap year, career break or as part of a constructive trip abroad.
With placements ranging from career development, internships & work experience, courses & qualifications, paid work options, summer camp work and community volunteering, to fascinating cultural and adventure tours, we provide travel opportunities to suit all interests!
We see travel and adventure as an essential part of career development, playing a key role in building on life and work related skills that will help people to make crucial career decisions, which will without doubt benefit future prospects.
Changing Worlds was founded in 1999 with the aim of finding some top placements from all over the world, and offering people the opportunity to work in a variety of different environments and settings, with the purpose of providing them with the appropriate balance of independence and support to facilitate personal growth and development, as well as providing some amazing life experiences!
How To Help Your Son or Daughter Prepare?
When planning a constructive trip overseas with Changing Worlds, there is a variety of things that need to be considered which your son or daughter will need to take into account before departing. You can help out with this, and you will find that if you are sure that your loved one is prepared for travel, you will feel much less anxious about saying your goodbyes.
Financing their trip
As with any large trip overseas, there are always financial obstacles that will reveal themselves before and during the experience, this is why we encourage parents to help out and go through the financing of the trip with your son and daughter to ensure that they have budgeted enough for the destination(s) that they plan to visit, as each country have different requirements when it comes to food and accommodation budgets, visas, vaccinations, insurance etc. This is particularly a consideration when your son or daughter is planning to find paid work overseas to help fund their trip, as it is likely they will soon find that the monthly pay in developing nations is in stark contrast to the level of pay they are used to back at home.
There are many methods of payment that are accepted abroad, however sometimes it is a little difficult to know which is the best and safest to use while travelling in unfamiliar countries. One of the most popular and generally the most effective method is to obtain a pre-paid travel card, which can be loaded up with money prior to travel, and if your son or daughter runs into some financial issues whilst overseas, you can re-load the card with additional funds to keep them going. There are a whole host of pre-paid travel card options, however the most popular are offered by Travelex, Caxton FX and the Post Office. Take into account which cards are free of withdrawal fees, as some can hit users with quite large fees when withdrawing cash abroad.
Others choose to use the Credit Card option, and the same information applies to these cards, as there are so many out there, with banks always trying to out-do their competitors with lower withdrawal charges, be aware that it is best to shop around and find the best deal.
Staying Safe Overseas
Staying safe and keeping money and belongings secure is absolutely crucial and an essential part of ensuring that your son or daughter have an enjoyable and trouble free trip overseas. We all know that travelling the globe can provide you with some amazing friendships and memories, but as we are sure you are aware, it can sometimes be all too easy to fall into a false sense of security and become a target for criminal activity. So do make sure that you stress to your son or daughter to keep personal belongings, expensive equipment, money, and bank/travel cards concealed in public, especially in disadvantaged communities in developing nations
Preparation is Key
It is always best to be over-prepared than under-prepared when it comes to travelling overseas, so even though your son or daughter may see you as being overprotective, it is important that both you and your loved one understand how important effective preparation an understanding of responsible travel is to ensure that they have the best experience possible!
Staying In Touch
In many cases when parents wave their son or daughter off as they embark on their trip of a lifetime the main worries and anxiety can come from a lack of communication. It can sometimes be difficult to maintain consistent communication with loved ones who are on the other side of the world having the time of their life, so it is always good to establish a method of communication, and make an agreement on how often they will get in touch to let you know they are safe and having an amazing time.
There are many ways that you can stay in touch with your son or daughter whilst they are overseas, so there can be no excuses when it comes to staying in touch, as we see this is an important part of the travel experience.
These days, the most popular method of parents staying in touch with sons and daughters is through the use of emails and more recently social media. With the dramatic advances in the internet over the past few decades means that email, and more recently social networking, have become an extremely easy and accessible way of communicating with loved ones on the other side of the world. Most cities and towns will have internet cafes, which are cheap, and provide much needed internet access. Emails and social network sites give your young travellers the chance to send you messages telling you about all the fun things they are up to, and also an opportunity to upload some choice photos from their great adventures!
Another great method for staying in direct contact is by mobile phone. Most service providers now offer their customers roaming SIM card services. These allow the user to take their mobile phone with them whilst they travel, giving them the flexibility to make calls and send text messages back home with a little round-up of the exciting things that they have been up to during their time overseas. Most service providers have special offers and options for those travelling overseas, who still want to use their home SIM card, making life just that little bit easier when the international phone bill comes in!
Those who are keen to document their travels in a bit more detail may be interested in starting a travel blog on one of the many blogging websites that have come to the forefront in this digital age. Your son or daughter could have their very own web page, which you would have access to, on which they can write, in great detail in some cases, the extent of their travel experiences, with the opportunity to upload images and videos to supplement their diary style articles which are posted. The blog can be edited and updated throughout their time overseas, so this would be an excellent way of making sure they are having a fantastic time, without feeling as though you are imposing on their trip. On many blogs, readers can also comment on the articles posted, so you can send quick messages to let them know you are reading what they have been up to, and sharing some quick stories of home and to let them know that you miss them!
Emergencies are situations that we just simply cannot see coming, so Changing Worlds see it as an important part of any travel experience that there are measures in place to deal with these unforeseeable circumstances. Whether your son or daughter has an emergency whilst travelling overseas or there is an emergency at home, communication is an extremely important element that you both need to agree on.
When your son or daughter is travelling with Changing Worlds, there are precautionary measures and methods of emergency communication that we have in place to ensure that we can always get in touch with them if you have an emergency at home, and your son or daughter can always get in touch with Changing Worlds if they have an emergency overseas. Changing Worlds are on hand to act as the middle man and pass on any information in a professional manner and keeping all personal matters private.
Changing Worlds has a 24-hour emergency contact number, which is supplied in the Travel Centre information for each trip. This phone is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is in place as a precautionary measure so that any of our travellers can get in touch with a member of the Changing Worlds team should they have any problems whilst in country.
Should there be any problems at home, all members of the Changing Worlds team have direct contact with the in-country representatives and staff at ground level, so any urgent messages that need to be relayed to your son or daughter, can be done so in a professional manner.
In any case, Changing Worlds is here to help, so if you have any questions about your son or daughter's placement, trip or tour, then do not hesitate to contact a member of our team!
We feel the best way to ensure that you and your son or daughter have done everything they can to prepare for their time overseas is to make a quick checklist, which is basically a list of all the essentials that you will both need before the departure on what could be a truly life changing experience. From our experiences of travelling the world, we have a few ideas for you to include on your checklist:
1. Make sure your son or daughter is aware of the laws, customs, visa and vaccination requirements and recommendations, and also recommended kit lists, for the destination(s) they are travelling to. All this information is available in the Changing Worlds Travel Centre.
2. Make sure that flights and travel insurance are booked.
3. Make sure that your son or daughter has sorted out their financing, and understands the various methods of payment which can be utilised in their destination(s). If using a bank card, ensure that they have informed the bank that they will be making transactions abroad, so that the bank does not see the international transactions as suspicious and freeze the card.
4. Make sure you go through their travel route if they plan to be travelling around a country, or through multiple countries, and establish a method of communication and possibly an agreement on the frequency of communication.
5. Ensure that your son or daughter has all the documentation they need, such as emergency phone numbers, travel documents, and has photocopies of all essential documents, such as their passport, visas, tickets and insurance policies.
Journalism and Media Internship
The Ghana Experience
Sports Coaching Volunteer Project
TEFL and Paid Teaching Placement
Thai Animal Adventure
Zoo Volunteer Placement
Ski and Snowboard Experience
The India Experience
Panda Conservation Project
Outback Ranch Training & Paid Work
Buenos Aires to Rio Adventure
Work, Travel and Learn to Surf
South American Adventure
"I had such an amazing gap year! this project was challenging but completely worth it."Francesca Le Poideven , Business & Law, Kenya
"Lake Nakuru National Park is just incredible. The game rangers were so friendly and helpful, going out of their way to make sure I had an amazing time during my placement. I would love to do it all over again!"Maria Rossi , Wildlife & Conservation, Kenya
"It was great fun because the kids want to learn and everything you do is such a novelty to them. I was moved by what I saw, not for sentimental reasons, but because the teachers and the children were so keen and worked so hard."Katie Godfrey , Teaching, Kenya
"This was such a heartwarming project, the children have so little but are so greatful. I met some amazing people and will remember this experience forever."Sylvia Amani , Teaching, Kenya
"What a fascinating country. I not only learned so much about the healthcare system and gained some great experience to help with my degree, but got to visit some amazing places in Kenya. The Masia Mara trip was just unreal."Aaron Leyman , Medical & Health, Kenya
"The kids were so amazing, it was such a heartwarming experience and i'm just really glad that I could help out."Gemma Bracknell , Care Work, Kenya
"What a great project! I am so greatful to have had this opportunity and it is certainly something I will never forget."Suzanne Hart , Care Work, Kenya
"I really enjoyed my time on the Galapagos Islands. This tour is such a great way to see the islands. Everyone I met were so welcoming, and they helped to make this an unforgettable experience. Seeing giant tortoises up close was awesome!"Jocelyn Whitehead , Wildlife & Conservation, Ecuador
"This is was certainly one of the most unique and fulfilling trips I have had. From helping out the kids with learning the game of tennis, to seeing the smiles on their faces, these moments gave me a new light on my career and my way of life."Peter Kung , Sports, Argentina
"The experience of living with other volunteers and students was a great! An unbelievable sports experience! As a football fan I really couldn't imagine a better place to visit."Joseph Berry , Sports, Argentina
"Working in the orphanage with these adorable kids was a great way to do something really good with my time abroad on my gap year. I would recommend it to anyone who is keen to work with children. A magical experience! I cannot wait to go back to Argentina and see how they are all getting on."Jade Garcia , Care Work, Argentina
"I loved this volunteer project in the orphanage in Buenos Aires. So many great kids, who love to play and learn from you. I really enjoyed the cooking lessons in the bakery, and the kids really liked to do face painting and arts, which was really fun, it was great to be able to put smiles on their faces. I will treasure my memories of my trip to Argentina for a long time."Susan Tanner , Care Work, Argentina
"Football coaching in India was awesome - from the day I arrived to the day I left. The people, especially the children, the culture, the food, were all great!! It was an experience that I will never forget!! If you have the opportunity travel and coach sport... especially in India....then just go for it! .... Sanj"Sanjay Thanki , Sports, India
"The experience I had in Ecuador was without doubt the greatest experience of my life so far. I would recommend the programme to anyone who has even the slightest interest in playing or coaching football."Craig Lawlor , Sports, Ecuador
"My time in Quito was amazing. I had a wonderful experience working with the kids, and partying in the Mariscal. My homestay was also fabulous and I made amazing friends with my other housemates and the family. I look forward to returning sometime soon."Francesca Ioffreda , Sports, Ecuador
"Overall it is such an enjoyable placement and very good for helping my German and communication skills. It’s really fun and everyone is really friendly. The kids are lovely and there’s never a dull moment!"Stephanie Memory , Teaching, Germany
"The experience of becoming a ski instructor was out of this world. The group bonded and we all met friends for life! The local people were the friendliest and most welcoming people I have ever come across."Phil Nolan , Sports, Canada
"The experience of becoming a ski instructor was out of this world. The group bonded and we all met friends for life! The local people were the friendliest and most welcoming people I have ever come across."Samantha Platt , Sports, Canada
"I am extremely passionate about this project and being a professional photographer, meant I could teach a wide range of skills to the kids".Remy Whiting , Art & Craft, South Africa
"Having the in-country contacts to work on my own photography stories was perfect. Thanks to all involved".James Burton , Art & Craft, South Africa