The Way to Work

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Post-Graduation Job Search: Work, Intern or Volunteer Abroad

May 19, 2010
by Erin Harris
Is a traditional nine-to-five job not your style? Or are you just not having luck with the job search, despite persistent efforts? Consider working or volunteering abroad. The commitment can be as short as a few weeks or can develop into a long-term career. Read on and find the program that’s right for you.

Where Should You Go?

Working abroad is a great way to travel without depleting your bank account; you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture while developing important skills that will set you apart from your peers in future job searches. Many programs provide housing and meals and some also pay you, depending on the nature of the work.

Transitions Abroad is a good place to start if you aren’t sure what kind of overseas program is right for you. The site has information on all types of jobs, including temporary and full-time opportunities, volunteer work, farming, teaching, internships and au pair openings in almost every country around the globe. Browse through the featured articles about working and living abroad to get some ideas of where you could go.

Teaching Abroad

Teaching English abroad is a popular path for recent graduates because often it doesn't require fluency in the local language. The theory is that foreign students learn English more rapidly if their teachers are not tempted to speak the student’s native language to them. In turn, you will have the chance to learn the local dialect and pick up nuances of the language by interacting with your students on a daily basis. The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) has teaching positions available in Chile, Thailand, China, South Korea and Spain. Many of their programs include pre-departure training, medical insurance, organized excursions and a salary or stipend to help cover living expenses.

Dave’s ESL Cafe operates like a Craigslist for overseas teaching jobs. Browse through the International Job Board to find opportunities in more specific academic fields and in a wider range of locations than those advertised on CIEE and other major program Web sites. Be aware that on this site, it is your responsibility to research an organization to make sure that a position is legitimate before you apply.

Go Abroad has an entire Teach Abroad section that lets you search for teaching opportunities by country, helps you find discount flights, and can aid you in your search for TEFL certification programs. Check out their Jobs Abroad and Eco/Adventure sections for job prospects outside of schools, from soccer commentator in New Zealand to graphic designer in Costa Rica.

Volunteering Abroad and More

Farming abroad is about as close as you can get to a foreign community; there are plenty of families looking for help. The International WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) Network has organizations in 43 different countries, where you live with a host family and learn about organic growing techniques. Food and lodging are provided. This is a great way to give back to the place you are visiting and to explore a part of a country outside of its major cities.

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