The Best Ways Students Can Live Abroad After Graduation
One year ago, I was like many other college seniors. I was facing my last semester of college and knew that I had to get a job soon, but I had no idea about what I wanted to do with my college degree. I could have done what my parents suggested and gotten an entry-level position at a company near my hometown, but instead I did something a little more extreme. I applied for a teaching position in Spain and was accepted. Eight months later, I was on a trans-Atlantic flight to start my “gap-year” as an English teacher.
So far, this year abroad has been a life-changing opportunity and I am very glad that I am doing it. I have learned more about a culture and a language than I could ever have done if I had stayed in the USA, and my time abroad will make me more desirable to future employers.
If you are a college student and want to live and work abroad after graduation, you have several options. You can secure an internship or job with a company that has an overseas office and ask to be transferred to that office. However, this can be difficult and many companies are not willing to do this. If you want a surefire guaranteed way to live abroad, here are some good options for you.
- Join the Peace Corp. If you join the Peace Corp, you will technically be defined as a volunteer. However, you will receive a monthly stipend to cover your basic living and housing expenses at after completion of your 27-month contract of service, you will earn a transition fund of $7,425. All travel expenses are also covered, so you don’t have to worry about paying for that. In the Peace Corp, you could be living in any one of more than 75 countries around the world. You will work in either the education, youth and community development, health, business and information and communications technology, agriculture, or environment fields. In order to volunteer with the Peace Corp, you must be at least 18-years old and a citizen of the USA.
- Teach English in a foreign country. Personally, teaching English has been a very rewarding job and I have enjoyed it immensely. There are several programs you can sign up for if you want to teach abroad. I applied to teach in Spain through CIEE, which offers programs to assist you in moving and teaching abroad in seven countries in Europe, South America, Asia, and the Caribbean. WorldTeach is another respected program which offers more flexibility with year-long programs, semester-long programs, and summer-long programs in 16 different countries. These private programs usually require an application fee, which can be quite expensive. Alternatively, you can apply directly through the government of the country you want to work in. The downside to going through the government is that the application process might be more difficult and time-consuming than if you go through a private provider. The requirements for teaching English abroad differ by country, but they usually require you to be at least 18-years old and be a native English speaker.
The above two ways are the most common ways that I know of to live abroad. However, you can also do a little research on your own and find a job in a foreign country in one of these positions:
- Work for a family as an au pair. If you want to live in Europe, this is a great way to do it. Au pairs are nannies who live with a family and take care of the children in exchange for free room and board. This is a great job if you like kids and want to have the support of an “adopted family” while you are living abroad.
- Work at a hostel. Hostels almost always seem to be hiring. Your job might not be glamorous (ie. you might have to clean toilets on a daily basis), but if you speak a language different from the one that is spoken in the country you want to work in, you might have a good shot at getting a job. This is because the hostel might need someone to be able to speak with guests who do not speak the local language. Hostel jobs usually require you to work long and unusual hours, but they can also be a lot of fun.
- Work as a tour guide. This is a great job if you are familiar with the place you will be living in (for example, if you have family in the area or have studied abroad there before). Many tourism companies cater to English-speakers, so having a native English speaker on their staff is appealing to them.
- Find your own way. If these options do not appeal to you, there are several websites that list jobs that are available overseas. My two favorites are TransitionsAbroad.com and GoAbroad.com.
Living abroad is a great way to learn more about the world around you and, as cheesy as it sounds, how you fit into that world. So, if you are not exactly sure what career you want to start after graduation, look into spending a year working abroad. It might just be the best decision you ever make.
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