Sport and the World Nations.

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AUSTRALIA – CRICKETAustralia
I would love to assign England to Australia but I can’t ignore our cousins from down-under. I grew up during Australia’s golden generation of cricket. They were the complete team.
In fact it was their wicket keeper and one of my all time cricketing heroes Adam Gilchrist who made me become a wicket-keeper when I was first learning the game.
With the blistering Brett Lee complimented by the metronomic accuracy of Glenn McGrath they had pace attack. And their bowling arsenal was complete with arguably the greatest bowler of all time, Shane Warne.
If you haven’t seen his dismissal of Mike Gatting with his first Ashes delivery I urge you to go to YouTube straight after reading this blog.
With players like Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer tasked with scoring the runs, teams struggled to ever reach the targets set.
Now I’ve probably rambled on at this bit but, hey, I love the sport.

BRAZIL – FOOTBALLbrazil
So I’m only two countries into this blog and for both I wish I could have written about England, but with us only winning one world cup and Brazil winning five I have to give it to the South Americans.
They have consistently been the apart of the pinnacle of world football with consistent World Cup success rivalled only by Italy.
Their 1970 side are arguably the greatest team to have ever played the game.
They have consistently produced players of the highest calibre. Carlos Alberto, Zico, Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and the list continues.
But all come after Pele. Apart from maybe Maradonna he is the face of football and considered by the majority as the greatest player of all time.

CANADA – ICE HOCKEYcanada
I’m going to be honest my Ice Hockey knowledge is mainly from the Mighty Ducks films but I’ll still have a go.
Well to say all my knowledge comes from the Disney film does me a little disservice. I have a vague understanding of the game and have seen a few games from the NHL (NHL – get me!)
My local team, the Nottingham Panthers, are pretty good as well. In fact, the more I write this blog the more I seem to know. By the time I’m done I could be an Ice Hockey almanac! Err, yeah, not likely.
I suppose it was a toss-up between Canada and Russia for this sport, I suppose it helps that both are FREEZING and can play it all year round.
But my 80-year old Great Uncle Peter, an ex-pat currently living in Toronto – who STILL plays in goal for his vets Ice Hockey side albeit with his nickname being “The Sieve” – would never forgive me if I didn’t give it to the Maple Leafs.

CHINA – PING-PONGchina
Apart from playing Ping-Pong in the office every day I don’t know too much about the sport. Oh, wait, wasn’t there a good player called Forrest Gump?
However, every four years, when the Olympics come around, I’m glued to the tele and always end up watching one obscure sport from start to finish.
Last year it was handball. But in the Beijing games it was Ping-Pong! And boy can those Chinese boys play. The way they play is almost hypnotic and now that I’m more used to the game I can fully appreciate the skill needed to play at their high level.
So, China, Ping-Pong’s yours!

MONACO – FORMULA 1Monaco
Monaco is a playground for the rich and famous. There’s probably nowhere else in the world where you can see such a condensed array of supercars, supermodels and super wealthy people!
Once a year, the F1 circuit comes to the principality for the most famous road race in the world.
The sport goes hand in hand with Monaco. They both have the “no expense spared” mantra. That and half of the drivers live there anyway!

NEW ZEALAND – RUGBY UNION new-zeland
I think this is one of the least controversial choices in the whole blog. The majority of people would associate Rugby Union with New Zealand.
My first thought when I think of the “All Blacks” is the hakka. The hakka is a war cry/dance that the national rugby side adopted from the Maori tribes of New Zealand. Despite looking mean and menacing the hakka is infact a sign of respect, and means the team think their opponents worthy of battle.
New Zealand won the last world cup in 2011 in front of their fans. A victory that was long overdue for the Kiwis.
Despite being recognised as the best nation for the sport they had been inconsistent since the turn of the century. But their current crop, lead by the immense Richie McCaw, now produces rugby which the rugby mad nation is proud of.

PAKISTAN – HOCKEYpakistan
Before researching this blog I had no idea that Pakistan was so enthusiastic about Hockey!
After consulting our Pakistani SEO expert, Ali, I quickly learned how popular the sport is over there with women, men and children!
I vaguely remember watching an Olympic match between Australia and England in the 2008 Olympics but it turns out I should have been watching Pakistan.
With four world cups, they are the most successful hockey nation in the world. Therefore, Pakistan get hockey!

SPAIN – BULL FIGHTINGspain
Has there ever been a sport more synonymous with a country than bull fighting is with Spain?
A controversial sport but no-one can deny the cultural significance of the fighting bulls and matadors for Spain, both nationally and internationally.
When we were deciding on which sports to be with which countries for this blog I think our resident Spaniard and football mad, Alberto, wanted me to give Spain football. But there’s no other sport that can be associated with Spain better than bull fighting.
Maybe flamenco dancing, but is that a sport? The answer is no. No it isn’t.

USA – BASEBALLAmerica
There is a reason why America calls baseball “the nation’s pastime”. The sport is immensely popular in the US and this national popularity can only be rivalled by East Asian countries, like Japan, who have an obsession for the game.
The game in America is huge. The game isn’t played to this scale anywhere else in the world. Hence their national championship and the one they all want to win is dubbed “The World Series” despite only being available to American teams.
To put the popularity of the game in to perspective, their highest paid player – not including endorsements – is the New York Yankee’s Alex Rodriguez who takes in a whopping $29million a year.
But if you’ve been watching the news recently, the less said about Rodriguez the better…

AND FINALLY…

THE MALDIVES – SWIMMINGMaldives
Ok so this is a bit of fun. I don’t know if The Maldives even have a swimming team never mind whether they’re good at it. But they’re almost in the ocean! They’ve got to be good swimmers. Haven’t they?

An American girl in the UK…

american flagOur American intern Jess if reflecting on her time in the UK….

As I get out of the airport and take the tube into the city I take in the sights and listen in on conversations. I think to myself “are they even speaking English?!?”, surely I have come to the right place, but it’s still hard to understand what people are saying.

Well, as an American, we love the British accent and I now just feel funny when I speak in my American accent. Although I’ve visited England before for a short time, living here is a totally different experience.

I came here knowing it wasn’t going to be the same as home, especially since the cars are all driving on the opposite side of the road, but I certainly wasn’t expecting this.

As I get into the car with my friend she says ‘just throw you stuff in the boot.’ Oh you mean the trunk…boots are shoes. Then I learn it’s called an indicator, funny because I’ve been calling it a turn signal my whole life. Now, at home I go to the gas station to fill up my car with gas, well now it’s called petrol.

And, to top it off now were driving on the motorway, not the highway. It makes sense after a while, but I usually have a blank stare on my face and a delayed reaction when people are talking to me because I feel like I’m relearning the English language. I wonder if the American school system has failed me…

While working in the office for about 2 months I’ve come across many more ‘funny’ words and phrases. For example, after weeks of sun and high 20’s (that people complained about for some reason, I don’t know why) there was a thunderstorm. At home I’m used to thunderstorms and this means I get to wear my fashionable rain boots as I walk to class at college (oh wait, I mean Uni).

Well, I am now informed that they are called ‘Wellies’ and if I tried to walk into the city center wearing them on a rainy day, I would get some strange looks. Guess you can only wear them in the countryside.

Then come more clothing miscommunications. You call them trousers, I call them pants but then apparently pants are underwear. By now I’m thoroughly confused. Say I was lounging around on a lazy day I might put on my sweatpants or yoga pants (yoga pants are kind of tight at the top and flare out more at the ends, like Hollister pants I’m told). Guess you guys call them trackies (although there is still some debate in the office as to what is considered pants vs. trackies vs. joggers).

Now that I can properly go shopping for clothes, lets move onto food. I learn a courgette is really a zucchini and an aubergine is an eggplant. The real confusion is that French fries are chips and chips are called crisps, and then I learn that some people call skinny chips fries. I think I just try to steer clear of ever ordering them or just stick to the traditional fish & chips.

Then it comes to pies. In America when someone says pie I associate it with summer and fruit. We only have fruit pies like cherry, blueberry, and apple. I hear in England pies are filled with meat and you eat them with potatoes and gravy.

Lately in the office everyone has been up in arms because the bins have slowly gone missing. Bins? What on earth are those? Trash cans, now that I understand. Well, not to worry, they’ve now been returned and I can now properly dispose of my trash, I mean rubbish.

Finally, in America we get in lines. I don’t think majority of Americans would know what you’re talking about if you called it a queue. When we go to the amusement parks in the summer we have to wait in long lines to get on the rollercoaster.

Now I know this whole article may seem completely confusing and I am sorry about that, but at least now you know how I feel. I have thoroughly enjoyed my education in proper English during my time here and I am slowly learning the terms.

However, I don’t think my British accent is going to be perfected anytime soon, sorry.

 

[Image by Christian Ramirez. Source: Flickr]

‘Diary of a Sorority Girl’, written by our very own American intern Jess.

Although Sorority and Greek life varies from school to school it generally follows the same process. At some schools Greek life includes a small portion of the student population, at others it can be include upwards of 60%. One thing you should know is that Sorority recruitment and Fraternity recruitment are totally different processes.

At my school, Sorority recruitment is over a period of two weeks and has 5 different rounds. We have 14 sororities that are considered ‘social sororities’. During the first two rounds the potential new members (PNM’s) go to each of the houses to meet all the current members and get a feel for how the group works.

After each round the PNM’s rank the houses that they liked the most and the sororities rank the PNM’s that they thought would fit into the chapter (different sororities are each called a chapter) the best. This process narrows down the options and tries to find the best fit between Sorority and new member.

The third round is about sisterhood. The goal is to show the PNM’s what it is like to be a member and how the sisters get along.

The fourth round is philanthropy round where we show what we do to give back to the local and notional communities. For example, my sorority is partnered with Autism Speaks, so we do activities like making sensory bags for children with Autism.

Then comes the final round, Preference round, the most serious and smallest of the rounds. We have a ceremony in which we try to show PNM’s part of our ritual, which is a secret and varies in each sorority.

Finally, the most exciting day of recruitment is Bid Day! All of the girls that have gone through the recruitment process gather in a large room in the Student Union and get a letter letting them know what house they have be accepted to. They then walk down Greek row (a street just off campus that has the majority of the Greek houses along it) and join their new houses. Afterwards, each house has a sort of reception for the new members to welcome them.

You’d think after this long and exhausting process that would be all. However, they are then considered new members and have to go through a process to learn the history of the chapter before they can go through initiation and become an active member.

While I can’t tell you the details of initiation, I can tell you that it’s not quite the crazy hazing process found in the typical American college movies. Sorry to disappoint.

So, what do we do exactly as a social sorority? We put on events to raise money for our philanthropy, like flag football and a BBQ in the spring. We attend other Greek life events to help other chapters raise money like throwing pies in people’s faces, a casino night, kickball tournaments, and more.

We also hold social events for our chapter like going to football games together and having formal dances throughout the year. We also have sisterhood events like going to play laser-tag, bowling, snow tubing, canoeing, movie nights and more. Every spring there is a week long event called Greek Week where all the chapters on campus team up and compete at all sorts of sporting challenges.

Each chapter varies and Greek life can be completely different at every university. My university has four different types of Greek chapters: social sororities (girls only), fraternities (boys only), academic fraternities (co-ed), and multicultural fraternities (co-ed or single sex).

I am a member of both a social sorority and a business fraternity and my experiences have been extremely different in each. I can tell you that joining Greek life has absolutely been the best decision during my time at university. I have met some of my best friends and have gotten opportunities that I would have never experienced otherwise.

Thanks to movies, like American Pie, American Greek is greatly misrepresented but is actually something highly beneficial to any Graduate. The following photo just shows some American statistics about Greek life.

I hope you enjoyed reading and I hope you’re not too disappointed that its not quite the raging alcoholic scene that is shown in the movies, although we do know how to throw one hell of a party.
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Top ten places to stop when travelling Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City-Formally known as Saigon and also referred to as ‘the city of bikes’. HCMC is a high paced, often hectic city. However, amongst the mayhem of this busy metropolis, there are a number of hidden gems that should not be missed when visiting Vietnam:

• Day trip to the Cu chi Tunnels
• Day trip to Mud baths (about an hour outside the city)
• Visit the Reunification Palace
• Shop Bui Vien street
• Visit the cities numerous picturesque parks

Mekong Delta – The Mekong is the world’s 12th longest river, and it runs through China, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Mekong Delta, otherwise known as Vietnam’s ‘rice basket’, is a picturesque landscape of green fields and small local villages and is definitely worth a visit. rsz_p1020904

• 1 day/2 day boat trips along the river
• Floating markets
• Explore the local towns and villages

Phu Quoc –This scenic island is mainly dominated by national park meaning that its beauty is guaranteed to be preserved. It is easy to reach by boat or plane from Ho Chi Minh City and is perfect for a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of this hectic city.

• Visit the morning markets
• Visit the numerous idyllic beaches that surround the island
• Visit one of the many plantations on the island
• Visit one or both of the main waterfalls on the island (Suoi da Ban and Suoi Tranh)
• Go Scuba diving or snorkeling
• Rent mopeds to visit all these locations

Mui Ne – Known as the wind and kite surfing capital of South East Asia, boasts kilometres of unspoilt beaches perfect for adrenaline seekers and sunbathers alike.

• See the famous Sand Dunes-Both the white and red dunes.
• Visit the Fairy stream- Walk up this picturesque river.
(Tours are available to see all of these in one trip, often also including a view over Fisherman’s Village)
• Wind and Kite surfing
• Visit one of the many beaches

Nha Trang- Arguably the nightlife capital of Vietnam, this seaside resort hosts an extensive number of bars, often heaving with backpackers. In addition to the wild nightlife, Nha Trang has been said to have the best city beach in Vietnam.

• Visit the beaches
• Experience the Nightlife, especially Why Not bar and the Sailing Club.
• Boat parties
• Scuba diving

Hoi An – Made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, walking into Hoi An is like walking back in time, into traditional Vietnam. With historic architecture and lantern lit streets, seeing this traditional fishing village is key in experiencing true Vietnamese culture.

• Visit the markets
• Take a boat trip and see some traditional fishermen
• Walk down by the river at night and experience the breathtaking spectacle that is hundreds of lit lanterns floating down the river.
• Get some clothes/shoes made in this tailoring hotspot

Hue- Full of complex historical sites such as tombs, pagodas and palaces, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is definitely worth a visit for those interested in the history and culture of Vietnam. vietnam

• Visit sites such as the Citadel, Thanh Toan (the Japanese Bridge) and Thien Mu Pagoda.
• Elephant Springs
• Bach Ma National Park
• Rent bikes and visit near by cities such as Da Nang

Sapa- This hillside town, previously a French colonist hillside retreat, is fast becoming a top tourist destination in Vietnam. With incredible views of Mount Fansipan and chances of exploring traditional rural villages, a trip to Sapa is sure to leave you with minimal camera space left.

• Go trekking (there are a number of trekking tours available)
• Climb Fansipan Mountain
• Visit one of the many waterfalls
• Explore local rural villages

Hanoi-This colonial Indochinese city is as charming as it is beautiful. With the perfect mix of cultural winding back streets and tree lined metropolitan boulevards. It is impossible to get bored in this city.

• Stay at Hanoi Backpackers (old) hostel.
• Walk the city and explore the Old Quarter
• Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
• Relax by Hoan Kiem Lake
• Visit Hanoi Hilton prison
• Visit Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

vietnam 2Halong Bay- This group of mythical islands is said to be a sleeping dragon, sent down by the Gods to protect the land of Vietnam. The mythical aire surrounding this location is undeniable and no trip to Vietnam is complete without a visit to this spectacular location. It is advised to visit Halong Bay on an organised tour and to spend no less than 2 days here.

• Hanoi Backpackers Castaway tour- Party 3 night tour on a desert island.
• Visit the Dau Go cave
• Spend hours exploring the expansive magical islands.
• Stay overnight on a boat
• Stay overnight on an island (perhaps Cat Ba island)
• Climb up monkey island and view the entirety of Halong Bay

Invasion Jobs World Beer Guide

BEER MAP

THE NETHERLANDS – AMSTERDAM
AMSTEL

This medium light lager is no stranger to British bar pumps. But if you think you know Amstel, just wait til you try it in Amsterdam!
How to order: “Een Amstel, alsjeblieft”

GERMANY – BERLIN
HOFBRÄU ORIGINAL

Brewed by the famous Hofbrauhaus beer company this golden lager is popular with both locals and tourists. Embrace Bavaria with this one!
How to order: “Ein Hofbrau Original, bitte”

IRELAND – DUBLIN
GUINNESS

This is probably the most obvious beer on this list. When you think of Dublin, you think of Guinness. Now don’t get on your hipster high horse – it is actually a fact that Dublin Guinness is 99.99% genetically similar to nectar.
How to order: “Pint of Guinness please, fella!”

SCOTLAND – EDINBURGH
McEWANS SCOTTISH ALE

This 8% ale deserves your respect. But the ruby bodied, smoky flavoured beer is synonymous with Scotland and, particularly, Edinburgh.
How to order: “McEwans please, mate!”

FRANCE – PARIS
KRONENBOURG 1664

Again, available in the UK but this acquired taste is amplified in France. A classy beer which goes hand in hand with the capital of class: Paris
How to order: “Une Kronenbourg, s’il vous plait”

CZECH REPUBLIC – PRAGUE
PILSNER URQUELL

This is a golden lager and probably the most famous in the Czech Republic. Narrowly edging out Budvar to make our list, this beer is both smooth and tasty – try it!
How to order: “Pilsner Urquell, prosim”

HUNGARY – BUDAPEST
DREHER

This beer pours with a thick creamy head and good body with a creamy after taste. Better to be served draught than bottle, but that won’t be an issue in Budapest!
How to order: “Egy pohár Dreher kérek”

POLAND – KRAKOW
TYSKIE

You might have seen this beer on the shelves of certain supermarkets but this beer dominates Poland. A really nice taste backed up with a 5.6% punch, certainly one to start the party with!
How to order: “Jedno Tyskie, proszę”

SPAIN – IBIZA
SAN MIGUEL

Again, don’t be hipster about this beer. It tastes so much nicer in Spain than the Burton-brewed UK version does. As the sun sinks into the Mediterranean you’ll definitely be glad you’ve got a bottle of this in your hand.
How to order: “Una San Miguel, por favour”

THAILAND
SINGHA

Singha is Thailand’s most well known beer nationally and internationally. But this popularity has been shaped by a clean, crisp and tasty beer.
How to order: “Car beer Singha krap” for a man and “Car beer Singha ka” for a girl!

USA
BUD LIGHT

Really hard to pick a beer for the USA so I turned to Invasion’s resident Yank, Jess, for help. She along with the other AmeriCamper’s told me that Bud Light is the beer to drink!
How to order: “I’ll have a Bud Light please, buddy!”

AUSTRALIA
VICTORIA BEER

You might be surprised not to see Fosters here. But in-fact the “amber nectar” is rarely seen down under and Victoria dominates the taste buds down under.
How to order: “Jar of VB please, mate!”

VIETNAM
BIA HOÏ

This very popular beer is great value for money and tastes great. Available on the majority of Vietnamese streets and often seen in the hands of overly happy people on advertisements!
How to order: “Anh oi một Bia Hoï xin loi”

CAMBODIA
ANCHOR
This sweet smelling and tasting beer is popular throughout Cambodia and will often come in a can. Arguably an acquired taste but one to definitely try!
How to order: “Muoy sra Anchor bier saum”

MALAWI
CHIBUKU

This quirky beer is of Zambian origin but is popular in Malawi. What separates this beer from the rest is that it comes in a carton! Sort of a beer-shake!
How to order: Their language is Chewa or Nyanja but you should be able to order one perfectly in English!

SOUTH AFRICA
CASTLE

Often referred to as “Castle Draught”, this is a good looking, light beer. Popular in the main towns of South Africa and has a feel of an American beer. As good in the bottle as on tap, you won’t go far wrong with this one.
How to order: “One Castle please, bru”

MEXICO
CORONA

Available worldwide but please don’t be put off by this beers popularity. Corona is Mexico’s most famous beer and perfectly complements the weather and the party atmosphere.
How to order: “Una Corona, por favour”

How To Handle A Class Of Fifty

IMG_2171Growing up in the UK, we’re used to a pretty reasonable class size of around twenty-five, maybe thirty at a push, so the first time you walk into a Thai classroom and see fifty faces staring back at you it’s quite a wake up call.

‘Is this a special assembly?’

‘Are these two classes?’

‘Is this just a one-off!?’

Nope, none of the above, this is just the way it is over in Thailand. Now, you may be thinking ‘well, at University, there were a couple of hundred students in each lecture’, but what you have to remember, is that I’m not talking about young adults who are too motivated or too hungover to misbehave, I’m talking about hyperactive, energetic and boisterous teenagers……so how on earth do you teach and engage a class of fifty students!?

IMG_0105Stand Up With A Twist

I used to share a joke with a couple of friends that being a teacher was a little bit like being a stand-up comedian whose audience couldn’t leave. These kids want to be entertained and if you can keep them entertained and on their toes, then their attention will not waiver from the front of the classroom. However, start to be the slightest bit monotonous and their attention will be on their iPhone, the dog barking outside, the fly buzzing near them, or, well, you get the picture, basically anything but you.

Now, I’m not endorsing the Fraudulent Clown approach or suggesting that all classrooms need a Mr. Bean-Esque figure at the whiteboard, but bringing a little bit of humour into your lessons in will go a long way.

Apologies for the language used in the Fraudulent Clown, but I’m sure you understand the concept.

The Students Are Here, Here, Here and Here

IMG_1479Now, this is something that I was taught when learning about public speaking and it works in the classroom as well and before you say it, it definitely isn’t the ‘no clothes’ method, because let’s face it, well, actually, let’s just not even make a joke there. This method is focussing on different locations in the classroom so that you don’t end up talking to the same area the whole time. Now, in a public speaking situation, it’s a great technique because it makes the audience feel like you’re sincere, trustworthy and what you’re saying is heartfelt…and in the classroom it’s even better because it means that your students can’t get away with a cheeky nap or quick game on Temple Run.

I normally use six points; front-left, front-middle, front-right, back-left, back-centre and back-right. Just keep talking but focus on one of these points for a few seconds, then move on and repeat. Keeps the students on their toes!

IMG_1487Be A Good Teacher!

It’s obvious isn’t it! The two things above are great tricks, but if you’re a good teacher and you genuinely interest the students, then you don’t need tricks! You’ve been a student, for most people reading this, the majority of your life so far has been in education, you know what makes a good teacher!

So, just believe in what you’re teaching, show your passion….and maybe fall over a chair accidentally now or then to keep them amused.

Why Volunteer?

For Them….

There are a number of countries in the world that are in desperate need of volunteers and aid. There is a whole list of factors that can devastate a country and leave it unable to recover by itself, from civil war to treacherous climates; these factors often leave the people of this country very poor and sometimes starving. It is easy to sit at home watching adverts for charities making comments of ‘I wish I could help’ but what better way to do this then to actually go in person and help! Many third world countries are in vital stages of recovery, and it is now more than ever, that these countries need the presence of those who can offer assistance. The help volunteers can offer to establishments such as schools, orphanages and hospitals in these countries, is invaluable to their communities. Furthermore, you may not be able to change the world in an instant, but as Anthropologist Magaret Mead once said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

For You…

What better way to truly see a country, then to live and work amongst it’s local communities? Volunteering offers you the opportunity to truly see ‘off the beaten track’ and discover how the real life of the country, it’s people, live. Volunteering should be seen as mutually beneficial to both volunteers and those they are helping, as the fulfillment of giving back to a society in need, is head and shoulders above that of a holiday. Volunteering also offers you the chance to learn so much more than ever possible as a tourist, you will be immersed in local culture, language and philosophy on life, and some of it is guaranteed to make it’s impression on you.

Advise when choosing a project:

With a wide range of volunteering projects available, in a wide range of destinations across the world, it can be difficult to know which to choose. There are a number of things we advise you do before deciding.

• You can volunteer in a number of different projects including teaching, sports coaching, medical placements, building, conservation and many more. We advise that you choose a company that provides Tailor made volunteer projects, which allow you to pick the project that best allows you to utilize your skills, thus maximizing the help you can provide.
• There are some companies that run volunteer projects where you cannot be sure where your money has gone or what is has been used for. Choose a company in which the majority of the money goes directly to the foundation or charity you are volunteering for, where you can see where it is spent.
• It can often seem expensive to volunteer abroad. There are some companies, such as Invasion Jobs, that help you fundraise the money needed, providing you with an easy way of involving friends and family in your volunteer experience.

How to cure that adrenaline craving when travelling…

 

It can be said your gap year isn’t complete without doing something you know your mother would not approve of. No, we don’t mean getting drunk and getting a tattoo, we are talking about getting that adrenaline fix. From jumping off bridges to dealing with wild animals, there is something out there for everyone, so here are Invasion’s top suggestions:

• Skydiving- What better way to get an adrenaline kick, then by launching yourself out of plane at heights up to 16, 000 ft. Sky diving is sure to leave your breathless and desperate for more. There are many exotic destinations in which to do this, including South Africa and Australia. As a beginner you will be doing a tandem jump, which entails you being harnessed to a strapping instructor and leaving your life in their hands. For those of you who like a good view, there is nothing quite like it.

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• Bungee Jumping-Although not as high as skydiving, with the highest jump being 216 m at Bloukran’s Bridge in South Africa, it is sure to be just as exhilarating. You can bungee jump all over the world from beach holiday destinations such as Ibiza to over dramatic crevaces in New Zealand, but why not go all out and pick the highest? Go big or go home right?

rsz_elephantShark Cage Diving-Known as the killers of the sea, sharks are certain to instill fear in most people. Shark cage diving allows you to look fear straight in the eye and brings you face to face with these fascinating predators. Most popular off the coast of South Africa, where waters are heavily infested with Great White and Zambezi sharks, there are numerous reputable companies you can go with. However, we do advise you look into the company you go with, you would not want to risk a faulty cage!

• Animal experiences- You are bound to come across exotic animals of all shapes and sizes along your travels. Whether you view these animals as a fear of yours or not, a close up experience with them is bound to give you an adrenaline kick. There are numerous ways in which you can have close up experiences with exotic animals and one of the best places to do this is South East Asia. South East Asia offers everything from Elephant treks through the jungle, to stroking fully grown tigers and handling snakes and spiders. Make sure you do these through safe and responsible companies, unfortunately there are a number of cases of animal cruelty in Asia and these are sadly encouraged by tourist’s money- Choose wisely.

• White Water Rafting- Popular all over the world, racing down a raging river on an inflatable raft has been incredibly popular since the 1970s. With sudden dips, twists and turns and a constant element of danger throughout White Water Rafting is sure to leave you breathless with adrenaline pumping through your veins. With top ten rafting locations available in Australia, South America, and Africa, you really can take your pick.

• Zip lining- Flying through the thick foliage of a jungle, soaring past the tall trees of a rainforest or hanging high above valleys and canyons, zip-lining guarantees you adrenaline with a view. Although statistically safer than driving a car, suspending yourself from a wire as high as 918 ft off the ground is never going to feel safe, especially when you throw in a mix of speed and sheer drops.

rsz_bridge (1)Bridge Walking –Walking across or over a bridge may sound mundane on the surface, but in reality it is an undiscovered adrenaline kick available all over the world. From walking across the top of Harbour Bridge in Sydney, to walking rickety rope bridges suspended through the canopy in South American and African jungles, this combination of height and uncertainty is bound to leave anyone shaking at the knees.

Adrenaline kicks may not appeal to everyone, but just remember….

‘Fear is temporary…regret is forever’

 

 

 

 

[First Image by Joachim Huber. Source: Flickr]

Top ten things to do in Thailand…

Top ten things to do in Thailand…

• Experience Bangkok- Thailand’s bustling capital is many people’s first port of call on their South East Asian travels. From the lights and sounds of Khao San road, to the tastes and smells of the street food, Bangkok is sure to awaken your senses. Although often unbearably hectic for some, amongst the Tuk-Tuk fumes and humming power cables, Bangkok has an undeniable charm, and this unique city has a lot to offer. Whether you spend your days shopping till your drop in the many malls such as MBK and Terminal 21 or simply exploring the maze of streets, Bangkok is sure to deliver an unforgettable experience.

rsz_maya_bayVisit Maya Bay- Made famous by the film ‘The Beach’, this secluded island off the coast of Koh Phi Phi, is beyond picturesque and a trip to Thailand is not complete without a picture on this iconic beach. Popular with hoards of tourists every day of the year, trips to this island include sights of Viking cave and a visit to Monkey beach. Despite the beauty of the location, the magic of the moment is often ruined by the fact you will most likely be herded on and off the island like sheep, whilst fighting for space to capture the perfect picture. However, there is a solution, Maya Bay Camping. This is a unique company that takes small groups of people to camp on this famous beach overnight, providing food and equipment (and plenty of drinking games). You have the entire island to yourself and you get to witness the breathtaking sunset and sunrise in complete uninterrupted peace and quiet. It is without a doubt the best way to visit this magical place.

• Scuba Diving- Surrounded by crystal clear waters, many of the Thai islands offer scuba diving. However, head and shoulders above the rest thanks to the underwater life it has to offer, is Koh Tao. On this island you are spoilt for choice for companies to dive with, from beginners courses to advanced deep sea dives, and with a large number of dive locations available, including ship wrecks, you will not be disappointed. In addition to this, there are number of accommodation and dive combination packages available, so you can live in paradise and get PADI qualified all in one.

rsz_full_moonGo to a Full Moon Party- This famous (sometimes infamous) event, happens once a month on the night of the full moon. Despite the hard time it can receive in the press, for those with a reasonably sensible head, this monthly party is perfectly safe, and guarantees you a night you’ll never forget. With thousands of people covering the length of Haad rin beach (Koh Phangan), draped head to toe in luminous clothing and glowing with intricate UV paint designs, Full Moon has the perfect recipe for the party of a lifetime. There is entertainment throughout the night, from water slides to fire shows and with various open-air bars playing energy inducing music, you are guaranteed to party until the sunrise and straight on through breakfast.

• Eat Local Food- Street stalls and markets are scattered all over the mainland and islands, and are sure to deliver mouth-watering, authentic dishes. Although eating street food is often seen as a taboo, assuming you pick stalls trusted by locals (where the food is hot and freshly cooked), there is really no need to fear it, in fact, once you’ve had a good street meal, it is unlikely you’ll visit restaurants again. Nearly all islands will have food markets, but a personal favourite of mine is Fisherman’s Village night market on Koh Samui. Along with clothes and trinkets, the heavenly scents of woks and barbecues that surround this market are sure to entice you in. (N.B. look out for the barbecue stall at the end of the market, the ribs are second to none.)

templeVisit a Temple- From the splendor of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, to the intricate beauty of the smaller island temples, Thailand has thousands of Temples in every corner of the country. With the beauty of golden Buddha’s, the grace of Thai Monks and the enchanting smell of incense, visiting a temple is a must for any visitor to Thailand and is key to a deeper understanding of Thai history and culture.

• Rent Mopeds/Quad Bikes- These modes of transport are often very cheap and are a great way to get around the islands. For those that are safe on them, a trip on a moped or quad bike can often lead to your best memories and best photos of the holiday. Secluded beaches and breathtaking island views are often inaccessible by foot, and this is definitely true on Koh Tao. This small island is made up of hills with spectacular views that are missed by a large number of people visiting the island every day, don’t be one of them. rsz_quad_bike

• Visit a Spa- Although Thailand can be known for some rather untoward massage parlours, there are a number of extremely professional and good value for money places to get a number of spa treatments done. From mani pedi’s to head, shoulder, foot and full body massages, these spa’s have it all covered for very low prices. Whether in a shopping mall in Bangkok or in a paradisiacal white tent looking over the crystal blue Gulf of Thailand, a massage from the skilled masseurs Thailand has to offer will leave you more relaxed then you thought humanly possible.

• Ride Elephants-Elephant riding is an iconic experience of Thailand. It encompasses majestic animals and beautiful landscapes with a touch of Thailand’s colonial past. Available all over Thailand, there are various places and ways in which you can do this. Often seen as the best place to do this is Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand, where an elephant ride is a trek through thick jungle foliage. In Chiang Mai the Mahouts are highly skilled and extremely knowledgeable and the elephants are very well treated.

• Visit a Waterfall- Waterfalls are spectacular in any country, but amidst the beauty of Thailand’s nature and wildlife, a waterfall is sure to be beyond expectations. With freshly running emerald water and glimmers of sunlight through the overhead trees, swimming in a waterfall pool can be a surreal and magical moment. It can be argued that one of best places to have this waterfall experience is in Erawan Waterfalls National Park in Kanchanaburi. In Kanachanaburi, there are 7 waterfalls, all with easily accessible pools for swimming, with the top one having the addition of a spectacular view.

Why work in Australia?!

Why Australia?

Whether you are looking just to travel or change what you call home Australia is the perfect place. With its vast and varied landscape, Australia has something to offer to everyone. It’s prosperous economy means vibrant cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Perth have a large number of well paid job opportunities. In addition to this, Australia’s famous outback is always in need of an extra pair of hands to help cultivate land, work with animals or build. However, with all these great opportunities on offer, it is no wonder that these jobs are in high demand, and securing one is not always easy.

How to work and live in Australia?

Although securing a job in Australia is not always easy, there are companies such as Invasion jobs that can guarantee you a job before you even arrive in the country or whilst you are living there. Companies like this take you through the interview process and if you qualify, set you up with jobs in two of Australia’s most iconic locations, Sydney and the Outback, for a minimum of three months. Securing a job in Sydney is a great opportunity to earn enough money to travel the rest of this vast and diverse country. More importantly, securing a job in the Outback can be vital if you are looking to stay in Australia for over a year.

Like many other people, after spending a year in Australia, you may find yourself falling in love with the country and searching for a way to secure a longer visa. However, as according to Australian Immigration Law, visitors wanting to stay longer than 12 months are required to work for a minimum of 88 days in the Agricultural industry. Thus, securing a job doing this through a company such as invasion ensures you have what is needed to live in Australia for at least another year.

What are the benefits?

As competition to live and work in Australia is so high, securing yourself a job before you have even entered the country is guaranteed to give you peace of mind. Working in Australia increases your chances of settling into your surroundings at a much faster pace than if you were just travelling. Not only will you meet more people, but, it will help you develop a good knowledge of your local area and the country’s culture. In addition to this, having a job ensures you have a consistent income, one that you could potentially use to see the rest of Australia’s sights such as Bondi Beach and Ayers Rock.

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