4 worthwhile alternatives to graduate school

    Photo Credit: The Jewish Agency for Israel

    You just spent the last four or five years of your life sitting in a classroom, partying in your dorm, and working hard at internships in your field. Now that you’re officially done with undergrad, you’re not sure if you’re quite ready to enroll in an advanced degree program. After all, you’ll only be young once, and you want to take the time to figure out who you are before you go right back into an academic setting.

    If you’re looking for fun and fulfilling alternatives to grad school, for the time being, make sure you check out these amazing options.

    6Go On a Jewish Agency Program

    Did you love going on Birthright? Did you want to study in Israel before undergrad, but never got the chance? Now is the time to journey to the Holy Land, get in touch with your Jewish roots, and have life-changing experiences through The Jewish Agency for Israel program Israel by Design. If you’re an English-speaker and between the ages of 20-30, you can spend two to 10 months in Israel building a personalized program where you learn, intern, volunteer, take special interest courses, and go on group tours. The next one runs from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2020, so make sure you apply now.

    Another Jewish Agency program, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, is a 10-month fellowship where you teach English in Israel. It’s specifically for college graduates, and you’ll gain valuable teaching and volunteering skills while immersing yourself in Israeli culture. If you’re looking to become a teacher or simply live and work in Israel for the year, this is the program for you. You’ll work in a public school for 25 to 30 hours per week with three to five students and give them personalized attention. For five hours a week, you’ll give back to your community by volunteering, and you’ll get to go on guided group tours. To learn more, visit their website.

    5Travel the world while working

    Unless you managed to snag a high-paying job while you were in undergrad, you’re going to need some funds to survive. But who said you have to stay in one place while you work? Sign up for a remote job through sites like Remote.co, We Work Remotely, or Upwork, and all you’ll need is a laptop and your skills to start earning. Alternatively, you could find jobs that emphasize travel. For instance, you could get a job on a cruise line, become a flight attendant, find a transport company that needs drivers, or offer to take care of people’s homes on HouseSitter.com. If you’re traveling alone, make sure you thoroughly research your destinations and accommodations, get a check-up and any recommended vaccines, secure your valuables in hotel safes, zip up your pockets to ward off pick pockets, and never follow an unverified tour guide.

    4Join AmeriCorps or Teach For America

    If you get stoked about volunteering, consider joining AmeriCorps, where you will teach underprivileged children, assist veterans, and help build up communities throughout the United States. While gaining valuable career development skills, you can receive an allowance for food, shelter, and other necessities, as well as money towards your education. The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award will help you pay off your qualified student loans; if you work full-time or 1,700 hours, you’ll get $6,095.00. If you work less time, you’ll receive a smaller amount.

    A similar program to AmeriCorps is Teach For America. You’ll teach grades pre-K through 12 in your assigned region in the U.S. and have an opportunity to make a salary of $33,000 to $58,000 per year. Most employers will also provide you with benefits like medical, dental, and vision insurance and family planning services. Some school districts may even help you pay off your student loans after you’ve been working there for a certain number of years. TFA is part of AmeriCorps, which may offer you an alternative option for student loan repayment.

    3Teach English in Asia

    If you’d rather go to Japan, South Korea, or China instead of teaching in the U.S. or Israel, research programs where you can teach English in these countries. Make sure you research each country and see which one would fit your personality and be reasonable in terms of pay and cost of living. For example, Japan can be expensive, and the people there are very reserved. However, the food is incredible. China is a little more unruly, but learning the Chinese language will serve you well in the global marketplace. South Korea provides a great salary to its teachers, and the citizens emphasize civility and societal hierarchies. Whichever option you choose, be prepared for a culture shock, and also, likely, one of the best experiences you’ll ever have.

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    Kylie Ora Lobell is Jewess in Chief at Jewess, a Jewish women’s website, as well as a freelance writer for Aish, Chabad, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and The Forward.