While most students are working in offices, malls, camps or outdoors for the summer, Andrew Konoff is being paid to travel.
The 21-year-old University of Regina student is taking a summer-long road trip across his home province, Saskatchewan, blogging and tweeting about the sights he sees along the way.
“I get to practice my writing, make videos, meet new people and see all sorts of new places, while getting paid for it. I think that’s pretty awesome.” —Andrew Konoff, The Saskatchewanderer
Konoff beat out 60 others in a three-round video interview contest before being declared the Saskatchewanderer by public online vote. The province’s Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport conducted the search.
Just take a quick look through the Saskatchewanderer blog and you’ll see that the position has so far lived up to its slogan, ‘the best summer job ever’.
Konoff says the diversity of the job is his favourite part about being the Saskatchewanderer. “I get to practice my writing, make videos, meet new people and see all sorts of new places, while getting paid for it. I think that’s pretty awesome.”
“Walking in sand dunes is one of the craziest things I’ve done so far on the job. You don’t normally associate Saskatchewan with desert,” he says.
The upcoming events he’s most looking forward to are the Windscape Kite Festival in Swift Current, Sask., and the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival in Saskatoon.
However, even with three months left to go, it’s dawning on Konoff that he won’t be able to see the whole province as the Saskatchewanderer.
“Saskatchewan is an immense province in size and culture. There’s more to do and see than I could possibly do all summer long,” he says. “Once I started researching I saw all these things that I’d never even heard of that are absolutely incredible and which deserved to be showcased.”
But this position isn’t just all fun and games for Konoff. In his application videos he talked about myths or perceptions that some people have about Saskatchewan, which he plans to disprove this summer.
“I think Saskatchewan sometimes suffers from an image problem. Not everyone here wants to talk about how awesome this province is,” he says. “I think part of this job is to convince Saskatchewaners that they have a province people should be talking about.”
The use of social media is one of the key tools Konoff is using to help disprove these myths, by constantly updating his friends and followers with photos and videos of his latest adventures. He also encourages people to post or tweet suggestions of things they think he should see or experience.
For those interested in landing a non-traditional summer job, like the Saskatchewanderer, Konoff has one big tip: Keep an active presence on your social media profiles.
“Without a network of people who were willing to support me, I would’ve never gotten this position. The best thing about social media is that networking is possible across the entire planet,” he says. “I think if you’re an interesting, qualified candidate and you’re talking to companies through Twitter or Facebook that have jobs you care about, I think you’ll have a better chance of being hired.”