Going Abroad: Opportunities Post College Graduation

ProgramStudy Abroad

Study abroad

By: Misty DeBoer

So, you’re graduating this semester with a worldly education but are still lacking those worldly experiences? Keep reading to find out how you can land a position abroad!

  1. Job search engines: Some that we would recommend to help kick-start your job search can be found in order by preference, below.
    • Idealist: This search engine, in my opinion, is the most easy to use and lists lots of great job opportunities. There are several ways in which you can specify your search and postings are listed in chronological order (with the most recent at the top). Further, you can search for internships and volunteer positions as well!
    • Indeed: This search engine can be a little overwhelming; however, like Idealist, it allows you to narrow your search based on interests, salaries, location, among other things. There are thousands of international job listings.
    • Monster: This search engine functions very similarly to Indeed, but, you are unable to do a general “international job” search. You have to specifically choose the country in which you would like to review postings.
  2. Join the Peace Corps: If you are interested in this type of opportunity, it is best to begin the application process a year before your intended departure. Although there are several steps to the application process, the process is straightforward and you are supported by a recruiter along the way. The Peace Corps serves over 60 countries and provides training to its volunteers. There are several benefits to being part of the Peace Corps, beyond the obvious cultural experience. Participants may be eligible for student loan deferment, Perkins loans may be eligible for partial cancellation by your lender, there is a “readjustment” allowance of more than $8,000 upon completion of service, you are given a monthly living and housing allowance, along with paid travel to and from the country of service, you receive full medical and dental coverage, 48 paid vacation days, transition and job support/social networking after service, among much more. If you’re willing to commit to 2 years of service, this could be a great fit for you!
  3. Apply for the Fulbright Program: Like the Peace Corps, this is a government sponsored exchange program. It operates in more than 155 countries and annually provides about 8,000 merit-based grants to participants to study, teach, or conduct research abroad.
  4. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, also known as WWOOFING: Although not a job per say, WWOOFING volunteers are typically given room and board in exchange for their help on the farm. WWOOFING volunteers learn about farming and agriculture, make deep connections with locals, and have very flexible schedules. This is a great way to travel around on a low budget.
  5. Seasonal Work and Freelancing: For those of you who are spontaneous and willing to take chances, many seasonal and freelance job opportunities exist; however, they often require you to blindly go to a country to seek out the openings. Ski resorts, hotels/hostels, and other institutions typically hire English speakers to help give tours or other assistance during peak seasons of tourism. Blogs, magazines, newspapers, and other print sources may be  interested in hiring individuals for freelanced travel articles, film making, and photography. Don’t be shy in reaching out to potential freelance employers and be sure to read some of or all of the following books before embarking on your adventure:
    • Alternatives to the Peace Corps
    • Alternative Travel Directory
    • The Global Citizen
    • How to Live your Dream of Volunteering Overseas
    • Work Abroad
  6. Teach English Abroad: Although a TEFL or TESOL certification is not always necessary, they can be very helpful for landing a teaching job abroad. Often times these certifications can be hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. However, Groupon usually runs deals that cut the prices by up to 90%. These programs are great because they provide job placement assistance and helps prepares participants to teach English in countries around the world, upon completion of the course. These job databases and support are only available to site members.
    • Some specific teaching programs you may want to look into are the auxiliary programs often found throughout Europe. There have been some good write-ups on the Spain, UCETAM program and BEDA program. But, it is worth it to further investigate on your own, the other existing possibilities and locations.
  7. Be a Nanny or Au Pair: If you like children, this is an excellent opportunity as there is no better way to learn about a culture than living with a native family. A simple Google search will return hundreds of Nanny/Au Pair agencies to connect families with care takers. Some of these agencies have high costs. One place to start would be Findaupair. Families create profiles and nannies create profiles; and then, both parties can search all of the existing profiles through filters to find good matches. There is a private messaging system on the website for easy communication exchange. Agreements are made between the family and nanny.
  8. United World College: If you have a degree in education, are TEFL/TESOL certified, or have strong administration skills, you may want to search job openings within United World College. United World College has 14 schools around the world. They are boarding schools that offer courses you would see in a regular high school track.
    • There are many international schools that often cater to U.S. and European students living outside their native country that look specifically for U.S. and European instructors. To expand your options, we would recommend doing a search on international schools and browsing the individual web pages for more possible job opportunities.
  9. Work your way up in a company: Get a job State-side and work your way up to a position that allows you to travel for work, or get transferred to an office overseas. The benefits of this route is that companies will pay for your travel expenses and help you acquire the necessary legal documents (i.e. work visas) to go abroad. One obvious place to apply would be the United Nations, though any big name companies that have a global presence are worth applying to.

Lastly, be sure to check with your academic advisors and professors for any overseas opportunities that they may be aware of. Many campuses have career offices to help graduating students network. Also, professors may be conducting research or student trips abroad and they may be in need of an assistant. Furthermore, be sure to check out job boards and networking events, as well as, contacting expat groups. Following travel blogs, like the Matador Network, Nomadic Matt, and these other top travel blogs, will provide you with even more insight about life and opportunities abroad.

We want to hear, what are your plans after graduation? Leave a comment below.