wwoofLearning English while Spain is undergoing an economic crisis is not easy. More and more companies require that their current employees speak a high level of English while many other businesses refuse to hire qualified candidates on the basis that they do not speak a second language.

As a result, many people go abroad in the hope that they will be able to learn English as quickly as possible and therefore improve their chances of finding a job, or cease to live in fear of losing the work they already have because their language skills are not up to scratch.

The irony is that learning a language abroad tends to cost a lot more than studying at home, and money is something the unemployed should theoretically be saving not spending……

There are various ways of not being out of pocket if you do decide to go to an English speaking country, the most obvious one being to get a job while you’re there. But this is often easier said than done when most jobs require a good level of English as a perquisite and that is the one thing many lack on arrival.

Another option is working for free but being given accommodation and food in return. This way you can gain experience and improve your language while having your basic necessities provided for. It might not be the most glamorous way to spend your time abroad but it is certainly economical. Once you’ve bought your air fare, theoretically your outgoings can be kept to a bare minimum.

One way of doing this is through WWOOF (World Wide Opportunites on Organic farms), a UK based organisation that provides members with the chance to work in agriculture in return for food and somewhere to stay. WWOOF began in 1971 as a chance for people who lived in the city with a limited income to escape to the country. Now, the organisation has contacts all over the world and volunteers (also known as “wwoofers”) can stay and help out on a farm or smallholding. Typically, they are expected to contribute 4-6 hours work a day from one week to six months, depending on what your host requires.

The first step is to become a member on their website www.wwoofinternational.org and from there you can check out the various contacts and opportunities available. Once you have seen one you like, you can get in touch with them to see if they need a hand. There is some risk involved; you don’t know what the place and type of work will be like until you get there. You could doing anything from feeding lambs to felling trees. The facilities may also be very basic if you are living in the middle of nowhere. But you will come away with a new skill or two and the likelihood of you being able to speak any other language but English in the British countryside is slim!

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