Whenever low incomes are mentioned I keep hearing / reading the same pieces of advice: Find a better job or get a second job. Well, not only it is not the easiest thing to do nowadays, but, for people who work shifts, who have young children, who live in small towns or villages, or who depend on public transport, it is near impossible.
I fall in the first category: I work shifts that vary from week to week with no clear pattern. That is what you would call a spanner, the kind that gets thrown in the works.
In my post New Year, New (ish) Resolutions I mentioned finding other ways of earning money. When I was made redundant, a few years ago, I was quite confident that I would get another job without too many problems. After all, I have a rich and varied working experience, I am bilingual, computer literate and I tend to get on quite easily with people. However, several hundred applications got me the grand total of…. two interviews. I was in danger of losing my house and I knew I had to start thinking outside the box. A friend mentioned that she was hosting foreign students for the summer. At first, I was a bit dubious: I like my privacy and I dreaded the idea of having a couple of teenagers in the house, but I needed to take drastic measured so I called a few schools and, after a visit and several conversations, my first students arrived.
It took a little while to get used to having youngsters around but I really enjoy it and, nine years on, I do it all year long. At the moment, I have a boy from Mexico, one from Switzerland, a girl from France and, my newest arrival, a girl from….Peru who arrived today. I tend to take long term students – from three to six months – as we get to know each other better. They have time to get comfortable in their new home away from home and to make friends at school. I also love seeing their English improve as the weeks go by as they get more confident and participate more and more in the conversations. So, if money is tight and you have a spare room, this is a fun, interesting way of improving your income.