To renew their visas for another year, recipients must work on a farm for at least 88 days. To some travelers, this seems like a kind of forced labor. But many who experience farm employment find it a unique life experience providing an opportunity to learn work ethic and meet people from every corner of the world.
The laborers live in a shared house, many of which are overcrowded with more than 20 inhabitants and little privacy. This can be stressful but lead to great friendships. After several months together, the backpackers have shared the same suffering during the working day, the same frustration from an overcrowded house. But they have also shared wonderful moments at the beach, nature experiences and wild party nights.
Barriers erected by cultural difference are demolished by the sense of togetherness. The sufferings and exertion of the hard work gets wiped out by solidarity. Moments of loneliness and sadness because of the distance from loved ones are supplanted by the smiles of the people that are near you every day.
These people who only a few months ago were unknown to one another become a full-fledged multicultural family.
The beginning of this experience can feel like a nightmare. Surprisingly, when the end comes, a part of you never wants to leave. Unconsciously you know that you are leaving behind a second family that will be impossible to re-create but that will stay forever in your heart.
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