"I got into the hosting centre within hours of landing in London. One hour later I had a UK phone number, had started the process of getting my National Insurance Number, and was on my way to open a bank account with a reference from SWAP. My first few days in London would have been extremely difficult if it wasn't for the support I received the moment I got into the city."
"I chose SWAP because my older brother had gone to Australia using one of their programs when he had finished University, so I knew I could trust the program. I also chose SWAP specifically because of the Teach in Thailand program, knowing that my stories from Thailand would be far crazier than his Australian adventures ever were."
"They are your life line if you ever have any questions about anything Thai. They are very easy to get in touch with and if you ever don't know how to handle a situation at work, or are just wondering what to do for a weekend they are there to help."
"I had been looking at the program for about 4 years before the timing worked for me. When I was able to travel/work abroad, SWAP was still the program that stood out as the most secure, informative and the best fit for me. It's a support system that allows you to use it as much or as little as you want to, which creates endless possibilities."
"My first day in Ireland was a day that all of us on the program meet at a pub in Dublin once a week. I met about 15 people that night, many of whom became good friends while here. SWAP was also a great resource anytime I had tax questions, needed advice for a safe neighbourhood to live in, where to buy different items, and printing off my resume. The staff were super friendly and so were the other travellers. It was great to have a built-in family on the other side of the Pond." (pictured second from right, middle row)
"I work as a Digital Communications Manager at a translation company. No two days are the same: I do everything from editing videos, write blogs, and engage clients on social media, to designing all sorts of material for print and online. It's my first job out of university and it's been a great experience to learn new skills and put my design background to use. I work in the City of London which is very cool as there is always something going on and it's full of history."
"You got nothing to lose, just unforgettable memories made with amazing people from around the world to gain!"
"I wanted to feel secure at all times since it was my first time traveling abroad by myself. The SWAP staff were always there to answer my questions or had advice and recommendations to give me.ou have made in your life so far. Living and working abroad not only broadens your mind but allows you to grow as a person." (pictured on left)
"When I first considered going to New Zealand it was right out of university. I chickened out and took the "safe" route and went right to work instead. A year later I still couldn't stop thinking about doing the year holiday visa, so I quit my good paying job and took the risk. I have never regretted it once and I would do it all over again. Going with SWAP is an investment in yourself."
"[The London hosting centre] was and continues to be a valuable resource. From providing discount tickets to parties and general help, they have been so amazing. They take the time to learn about you as a person and make sure you are doing okay. They helped us with job hunting too. Knowing there is a place to go when things don't work out as planned is a comfort that gave me comfort. The first few weeks can be intense but once you get settled the experience is everything you dreamed of."
"I'm working for MacCoole tours and Viking Free tours/Viking Pub Crawl! I am doing an internship (english immersion) where I help the managers of the companies. It's so cool because every day is different. I touch to a lot of things like guiding; promoting our tours in few hostels and English school in Dublin, guiding Pub Crawls, meet wonderful people, going in the West part of Ireland to see breathtaking landscapes! In fact, my job is to meet nice people and tell them about our tours that I find amazing, so I couldn't have found a better job! I consider myself really lucky!!!"
"GO AHEAD!!! It's so much easier to get your visa with SWAP and it's SO FAST! Furthermore, they will help you at destination; their team got a lot of tools to help swappers at much as they can. Also, there is a brilliant orientation tour in Dublin and we can go at the office whenever we want for any questions, the staff is awesome and so helpful!" (pictured on right)
"The entire journey has enriched my life. If I wasn't here, I would have never made so many international friends including people from France, Sweden, Italy, England and of course Germany. I also would have never have known that I am capable of moving to a new country alone and being successful at it. This is new confidence that I only attained by living abroad."
"It helped me meet a lot of Canadians who were coming abroad that were spread out over New Zealand so with every different stop I was able to meet up with people I had spoken through SWAP so there was always a friendly face no matter where I went. SWAP was really helpful when I had any problems too when it came to taxes as they were quite confusing to do, but they were there to help me with any questions that I had!" (pictured on right)
"SWAP's partner in Thailand were beyond helpful to me. When the teachers first arrive in Bangkok they complete a really great week-long orientation session which includes information about the Thai culture, language, how it is expected to teach English in Thailand, and also excursions to really cool tourist locations like the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The orientation period is also where you meet all your friends for the next year - because everyone ends up travelling together."
"I work as a photographer and sales rep in Warwick Castle. It is quite amazing to think I get to go to a castle everyday, working amongst history, walking along the same corridors that people have been walking along for centuries. I work as part of the photography team, either taking the pictures or selling them. As tourists enter the different attractions I interact with them and capture their experience. There are three photo stations, so I'm either asking "who wants their head chopped off" in the dungeons, or "are you ready to meet a dragon" in the Merlin Tower or making young kids feel like royalty in the Princess Tower."
"The best thing about SWAP is how easy they make things for you. I have been in Australia for almost 4 months and SWAP have taken care of my visa, orientation week, RSA (responsible service of alcohol), taxes, and anything else I could possibly need. SWAP takes out all of the "what ifs" and let you focus on what you really want and that is to have the most amazing experience you may ever have in your life time."
"They have been nothing short than amazing. The staff are just like us, travellers, and they help you with absolutely anything and everything you could imagine. From jobs, travelling, tricks, tips, even just chatting when you pop into their office in Sydney or meet up with their employees in different parts of Australia they are there for everything."
"I'm a lifeguard for Nags Head ocean rescue. We had a training of 2 weeks at the beginning of the season and now we are on the beach everyday. I met a lot of people from different states and of course local person. There's always something new and interesting to do. I improved my English a lot, the weather is nice, I met people that i will never forget, I learned a lot of different things."
"If you're nervous just take the dive and do it and I PROMISE you will be so suprised and thankful you did. I was certainly nervous but it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. If I could only write down all the things that I have done in the last year. I love it so much I am applying for a two year visa so I can stay longer :)"
(please note: since this written review, all SWAP Ireland visas became two year visas)
"It will always be a bit scary to try something new but you will miss out on so much if you let fear stand in your way. You will meet many people who are experiencing the same things you are and you'll have insightful and comforting conversations. You will see sights that will never be done justice by your camera.You will learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible. Pack yourbags and go!"
"The most helpful thing about [the program] was just knowing they were there. It was great to be able to head into their office at any point and use the internet, look at job postings, or ask questions about day to day things that would arise. I really found their orientation session useful and they gave me all the assistance I needed in getting my bank account, etc."
"Dive in head first! I cannot count how many times I wasn't sure if I wanted to take part in something, but did so anyways. I consider myself a fairly introverted person, and that is one of the biggest reasons I participated in SWAP. I knew I needed to come out of my shell and do something spontaneous. With this in mind, I have been consciously approaching all opportunities here in Thailand with a general 'say yes' attitude. "Want to try surfing for the first time during monsoon season? Of course! Want to go zip-lining over some rice paddies? Absolutely! Want to drive the motorbike through some of these steep hills and run into some elephants? Sign me up.""
"That tiny voice that made you look at the SWAP program and begin to dream of the possibilities... listen to it. And if you're still worried, start connecting with people online, reading blogs, and preparing as much as you can in advance for the adventure and opportunity of a lifetime. You won't regret it."
"I SWAM WITH A WHALE SHARK! It was my GOAL when I decided to come to Australia and I worked out my schedule to get to northern Western Australia at the right season so I could do this. It was worth it - amazing!"
"I chose to do things through SWAP because I wanted a bit of a support system to help me find work and not have to worry about the logistics of setting up accounts and things like that when I arrived - I anticipated (and was correct) that I'd be pretty overwhelmed."
"I chose SWAP because other than hearing great reviews from friends, I liked the support the overseas partners offer. Traveling on my own for the first time I felt comfortable knowing that SWAP had my back! They were a great help when I first arrived in Auckland. They made applying for my tax number almost hassle-free (a challenge with any government office no matter what county you're in!) and knowing that they're just a phone call away to answer any questions I have is really good for my peace of mind."