Why Heading to Europe is Scarier than South America

People called me brave when I packed up and left at the beginning of 2012 to start a year abroad in Santiago, Chile. Alone, without any Spanish knowledge, no job or place to stay.


The truth is that I researched the hell out of that trip. There was almost nothing that I wasn’t sure of by the time I stepped foot on the plane. Except for Spanish.

  • I had a hostel booked for the first week.
  • I had a possible apartment lined up which eventually became my new home filled with my new family.
  • I had an invaluable contact who sent me a list of which English Institutes to work for and which ones to avoid. Coincidently she’s also the one who steered me in the direction of my apartment.
  • I was wanted there. Needed there. If I was brave enough to take the plunge, I would be rewarded with a job. There are more jobs than there are teachers.
  • No tourist visa required.

Apart from arriving in Santiago slap bang in the middle of their summer holidays with little to no chance of getting a job straight away, everything was good, easy. Except for getting my passport stolen.

After much debate, I’m going to The South of France. I’m joining the proverbial gold rush, except its hardly proverbial since its literally a rush of people to one place in search of riches. Just in the form of jobs on yachts. A month’s work as a lowly deckhand can get you around 2000 Euros with zero living expenses. After scraping by in Chile as an English teacher, I could now do a menial job in paradise and save. So why is it so scary?

  •          You’re illegally looking for work in a country that this time does actually care. Unlike Chile. 
  • While job hunting, you’re encouraged to stay at Crew Houses that can’t guarantee you a spot since they don’t take bookings. They also cost an arm and a leg.
  • There’s day work but it’s not guaranteed (too many people, too few jobs)   
  • Money might run out before I find a job. 
  • Obtaining a Schengen visa is unnecessarily stressful. South Africans- go to South America… it’s one of the few places you don’t need a tourist visa on a Green Mamba.

France is first world. Its close to home. I’ve been there a few times already. and I’m still losing sleep over it.                                                            


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2 thoughts on “Why Heading to Europe is Scarier than South America

  1. Justin says:

    Good luck! It sounds intense!

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