Right after graduation, when you’ve finally been released from the throes of schoolwork and you have your first chance since high school to relax, is a perfect time to travel and see the world. However, traveling without a source of income can be a deal breaker for many who have just realized the full vastitude of their student debt and aren’t willing to fall further into the red.
For those of us who want to travel but don’t want to incur costs, working a job on foreign soil is the only way to ensure a source of income to fund those exciting trips. So, how can you work abroad after graduation?
College encompasses some of your most formative years. When you arrive at university, you’ve never lived away from home before. You spend a few months figuring out what kind of people you want to spend your time with and learning how to juggle work and a social life, since all of a sudden you’re allowed to be drinking until 4 a.m. every night if you so choose.
Over the next few years, you learn a good amount both in and out of your classes about the way you interact with the bubble around you and the person you want to be. College is great for teaching these lessons. However, college is not a very risky endeavor, since the collegiate environment does not give you any reason to leave your comfort zone once you’ve acclimated. That's why working abroad after college is a challenge worth taking on. If you take a job outside of the U.S., you'll continue to push yourself to do new things, meet new people, and expand your understanding of the world in an extracurricular manner. Plus, the changes you undergo while abroad will help you truly feel like a grown up, probably for the first time in your life. For these reasons and so many more, heading abroad to work after college is a great idea.
Salary: ~$2,515/mo in Japan (blog.gaijinpot.com) (for example)
This is a great job for expats for several reasons. First, the requirements for teaching English in many countries are pretty relaxed: the most important skill is an intimate knowledge of the English language (which each English-speaking person naturally possesses.) Many countries make learning English a priority for their students and insert English lessons into mandatory school curriculums despite lacking the teaching staff necessary to actually teach the kids, so by working as an English teacher you can help offset this gap. Another perk of teaching is that you'll be working on a school schedule, so you have time to travel on breaks.
Note: to supplement your earnings while teaching abroad or to find more opportunities, try checking out the Fulbright Scholar Program, which offers grants to American students going abroad to teach, or the Watson Fellowship, which supports students financially for a 1-year long project to be completed while abroad.
Salary: ~$564/mo in Italy (Glassdoor)
Your English-speaking skills will also come in useful if you choose to try to find work as a tour guide. English tour guides are in high demand in more touristy areas, so if you find yourself in a city that sees a large amount of tourists a year, you might want to consider taking up this occupation. All it really requires is a touch of charisma and a deep admiration for your city — which you probably already have if you’re moving so far to be there, so that shouldn't be hard. You’ll guide tourists around various parts of the city, no matter the weather, and have the opportunity to get to know tons of interesting people.
Salary: $79,680/yr in USA (SimplyHired)
Being a museum docent is like being a tour guide without the threat of getting wet. To secure a job working in a museum or art gallery, you typically need a pretty extensive knowledge of art and its history (an Art History degree wouldn’t hurt). Your duties would likely include manning the front desk and/or giving guided tours around the gallery. This is a great job for expats because many tourists speak English, so that skill set can come in useful, and working in a museum is an awesome way to further your knowledge of the local culture.
Salary: ~$5,789/mo in India (PayScale)
Translators are often overlooked or ignored even though their job is essential to the functioning of international relations. This job requires a deep understanding of at least two languages, which means you'll have to have been studying a second language for a while, or have come from a two-family home. Perks include making your own schedule — most translators work freelance, which leaves time for travel — and doing a lot of reading.
Salary: ~$33,384/yr in Germany (Salary Expert)
Applying to work as a bank teller is a great opportunity for people just starting out their career. The skills you learn working in a bank in any capacity can come in useful in many different vocations, and the only way to break into the banking business itself (if your father doesn't know a guy who knows a guy) is working your way up the ladder. As a bank teller, your responsibilities include handling customers and balancing the books. If you're working in a new language, you'll thankfully be dealing mostly with faces and numbers — both of which are universally recognizable.
Salary: $40,148/yr (Study.com)
Travel writing is the most flexible job you could possibly procure while abroad. These days, travel writing can take many different forms, depending on whether you're writing print or online content. Usually, when you work for a travel guide, you are commissioned to write, whereas online content follows a more typically freelance structure (you pitch your idea to editors and they tell you whether or not they're interested). For people who are interested in adventure and want to know the cities they visit inside and out, this job is an incredible fit.
Salary: Monthly stipend
If you're less interested in traveling for the sake of travel and more interested in traveling for the sake of improving the world, consider joining the Peace Corps. With the Peace Corps, you will be deployed to an area in need of help (whether it be economic, agricultural, educational, environmental, or health related) and tasked with working to improve quality of life for the people who live there. Volunteering for the Peace Corps is no easy feat, and entails living in rough conditions for extended periods of time, but the experience is incredibly rewarding and people who have made it through their two-year assignment speak incredibly highly of their time away.
You need to be purposeful in your decision to move to a different country if you want the move to be smooth and the transition to be less painful. Don't just look at what jobs are available in a region; instead, research things like climate, transportation, and overall cost of living before deciding on a location. Once you've done that, not only will you be able to readily answer "Why do you want this job?" in an interview, but you'll also be more excited to get packing.
Another way to prove to possible employers that you're serious about making the move abroad is by learning the language(s) spoken in your chosen country. English often comes in useful overseas, but you can't expect to live comfortably in a country with a different mother tongue without at least a basic understanding of that language. Plus, the ability to translate into English is valuable in the workforce everywhere, so your skillset will become automatically more useful once you master elementary Hungarian.
In order to appear more attractive to international employers, you’re going to need to adjust your resume in order to highlight all your experience with other cultures. List the languages you now speak; list any other skills that might come in handy in your desired profession. It’s important to indicate to all possible employers that you have experience (or at least have indicated interest in) living abroad in order to make clear that you're serious about the job opportunity.
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