Renske Roumen ”Work hard play hard, is a saying that really explains my lifestyle the past few years. This way of thinking got me here: six months to South Africa, two weeks to Morocco, 5 months to Bali and 1 month Thailand in JUST two years. How do I do it?”
”Well as a student it’s obvious that I am not rich and have to work hard for everything that I want. My first far away experience was my internship in Cape Town. I had only 3 months to save money for this experience. Nobody thought that I could save around 6.000 euro in that short amount of time, but I had 6 jobs and worked 60/70 hours a week for 9,- an hour as: A saleswoman in two different clothing stores, cheese girl, cleaner, a secretary and by helping children with their schoolwork. Because of this I managed to save all the money I needed for my six months in South Africa. It was also very fun to work at different companies, because then you can have a taste of different jobs, get to know a lot of people and see the differences in how people act and what their sense of humor are. I think I can write a book about it!
‘Never think you can’t do it, you will be amazed by how much you can achieve if you just work hard’
Last year I had a lot of fears that I think effect most people. The questions that ran through my mind where, can I really afford going abroad, will I be able to communicate good enough abroad, can I work good enough abroad, will I not end up being lonely there? It is normal to feel scared and have doubts, but having doubts will get you nowhere, if your own mind is holding you back. Take risks, if you win you will have another great memory. If you lose you will only get wiser.
South Africa was one of my best experiences so far. I got to see new cultures, tasted new food, met new people from all over the world, saw the most beautiful things and experienced a lot of things I never thought I would. Think of: skydiving, shark cage diving, bungee jumping, walking with lions, spending a night in a township etc. By saying yes to many new experiences you will come to get at places you’d never thought you would. Seeing and meeting people you never thought you would meet. Because of this way of thinking and acting I spend one night at a township, there are poor towns in Africa with houses, you can’t even call it a house or a home.
My first thought about townships was that everybody was aggressive, unhealthy and very unhappy, but by spending a night with a family in a township I have learned that they are very warm, welcoming and beautiful people. Where the neighbours are much closer with each other then in my country and where the children are better raised and more happy then the spoiled children that we have in the Netherlands. And even as a stranger I have never felt more welcome there then I feel in the Netherlands. I also learned a lot about the history from South Africa and because of that I understood the way of thinking of the people and got a lot of respect for the people who tried to forget the past and live happily in the future with respect for everyone. Trying new experiences will not only help you in your personal life, but also in your professional life.
‘Take risks, if you win you will be happy, if you lose you will get wiser’
While I was I South Africa I got the chance to enrol myself for a course in Morocco named ‘intercultural communication’. After being selected for this course I learned a lot about the differences in the Western and Eastern cultures and especially the similarities. Because of this course my whole way of thinking has changed. The mainly reason why people from different countries don’t understand each other is because each one of them can only think from their own point of view, instead of trying to understand one another and to look from different views.
For example: A Dutch woman asks a Moroccan woman for a cup of tea. At the Dutch woman’s place. The Moroccan lady asks the Dutch woman if she wants something to drink and the Dutch woman answers ‘no, thank you’. Then the Moroccan lady keeps asking if the Dutch woman wants something to drink but the Dutch woman keeps saying no. The Dutch woman will think that the Moroccan lady is very pushy, while the Moroccan lady thinks the Dutch lady is very unfriendly. It is because they don’t understand each other’s cultures while they both have good intentions.
‘Sometimes you have to make difficult choices in the present to get where you want to be in the future’
My next adventure will be Bali. I will go to the university to follow the programme ‘International Business’. I will not only get to know the Asian market but also the culture, customs and environment.
I think that if you want to work international it is very important not to know only about the branche of industry you work in, but also about the different cultures!
Currently I am working everyday to pay for my Indonesian adventure. The dark side of having to save too much money in a short amount of time is that you can’t spend as much time with your friends and family members as you would love to. Sometimes you have to make difficult choices in the present, to get where you want to be in the future. Make sure your environment understands your situation and supports your dreams! It will be worth it.
I will always chase my dreams, because I am a very ambitious person. I would love to have my own international communication company. So the things I do now will all help me to achieve my dreams eventually.
I don’t want to grow old and to say, I wish I had done this or done that. If you don’t want to end up with regrets, than keep dreaming big and chase them!
With lots of love,
Student from Hogeschool Avans
Netherland’s University of Applied Sciences
How to save a lot of money for your travels:
- Don’t go for a drink or drinks in the city, because this is very expensive. Buy drinks from a supermarket, bring music and a blanket and go to the park or another nice place. This is also more special.
- Sell stuff that you don’t use.
- Avoid your weaknesses. For example, do you love shopping? Then avoid the stores, especially during the sales.
- If you do end up in a store and see something you like, then ask yourself if you really need it and things of the things that you can do with that money when you are abroad.
- Be creative; instead of going to restaurants create you own restaurant at your house.
- Don’t drink soda, cola or other drinks, but water with lemons. It will save you a lot of money and is also better for your health.
- Take only cash money if you go out, with a maximum to you want to spend. Leave your cards at home!”