As you begin your international job search, it's important to clarify what type of experience you are seeking. International opportunities are typically broken down into two categories, short-term or long-term.
Short-term opportunities, usually one to three years, are plentiful. With the exception of internships, most short-term opportunities are found in the areas of teaching English as a second language (ESL), volunteer organizations, and hospitality or recreation jobs.
Long-term positions can be found in government, business and not-for-profit sectors. While long-term job searches have some unique challenges, with patience, vision, and hard work, you can attain your goal of a career abroad.
Listed below are a variety of resources to assist you with your international search.
Internships, Volunteer, Short-Term Work
Internships and short-term work experiences are relatively easy to find. Most opportunities require an application process, and, once you're accepted, provide the necessary working papers needed for each country.
AIESEC is an international student organization that places students and recent graduates in internships around the world.
BUNAC offers overseas work/travel programs.
CDS International provides international career training opportunities customized to offer in-depth practical knowledge of other nations' business practices, cultures, and political traditions.
InterExchange promotes cross-cultural awareness through international work and volunteer exchange programs.
Work Away is a work exchange program for budget travelers.
Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is a work exchange program for organic farming.
CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) offers paid teaching positions in Chile, China, Dominican Republic, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam.
English Opens Doors Program is a government-sponsored volunteer opportunity with placements throughout Chile.
EPIK (English Programs in Korea) is a cultural exchange and English teaching program coordinated through the Korean Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology.
ESL101 is a free resource for finding opportunities to teach English around the world, and addresses topics such as: advice for new teachers, how to avoid ESL job scams, and tips for transitioning back to your home country after teaching abroad.
Footprints Recruiting recruits and hires for teaching positions in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme) is a cultural exchange program through the Japanese government.
Language and Cultural Assistants in Spain receive a grant from the Spanish government to provide teaching assistance in elementary and secondary schools.
Meten is a language training institute with 80 locations across China.
Teach and Learn with Georgia, a program of the Georgian Ministry of Education, hires native English speakers to co-teach in Georgian public schools alongside local teachers.
Teaching Assistant Program in France: Teach in public schools across metropolitan France and in the overseas departments of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Reunion.
Interested in teaching English abroad? Learn about ESL certification programs.
Cabrini Mission Corps' mission is to be "bearers of the love of Christ in the world," particularly addressing the needs and realities of women, children, immigrants and the elderly.
Catholic Volunteer Network is a searchable database of volunteer opportunities across the country and around the world. Many programs are funded through AmeriCorps and earn an education award at the end of service.
Idealist: Run by Actions Without Borders, Idealist is a resource for finding non-profit opportunities nationally and internationally.
Peace Corps "volunteers" live and work in developing countries with the goal of helping those countries while promoting cross-cultural understanding. (Read about Mika Yasuo's and Jessica Bruce's Peace Corps experience.)
United Nations Volunteers: This volunteer arm of the United Nations serves as an operational partner in development cooperation at the request of UN member states.
A number of scholarships and fellowships are available for educational programs and cultural study, and many involve language/culture study in developing countries. They are intended for use in the year immediately following completion of your undergraduate degree and can be an excellent resource for short-term international opportunities. The application process is competitive, so it's best to get an early start.
Some examples include:
Thomas J. Watson Fellowship (Worldwide)
Rhodes Scholarship (England)
Marshall Scholarship (England)
George J. Mitchell Scholarship (Ireland)
Gates Cambridge Scholarships (England) Fulbright Scholarship (Worldwide)
Davies-Jackson Scholarship (England)
National Security Education Program (Worldwide)
Rotary Scholarship (Worldwide)
For more information, contact the Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Fellowships.
Long-Term Job Search Strategies
Long-term opportunities usually fall into three categories: government, not-for-profit, and business. For business and not-for-profit organizations, entry-level opportunities will be difficult to come by and it's best to target U.S. companies with international ties. You may first want to seek a U.S. based position. Once you've gained the necessary skills and experience, you'll be more competitive for international opportunities that arise.
The Global Washington Careers In Global Development Center offers students access to available positions at more than 130 organizations dedicated to global development. Additional resources include:
• Research on salary ranges for specific job types
• Articles about working in global development, and related literature
• Information on graduate programs related to global development
• Interviews with professionals employed in the sector, including career profiles of professionals in the fields of: Global Health, Global Education, Poverty Alleviation, and Environmental Sustainability
Government opportunities, such as those with the U.S. Department of State, have a formal application process for you to follow. There are several departments of the federal government that send civilian employees overseas:
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Defense
Department of State
—Overseas Employment Resources
U.S. Agency for International Development
Certification Programs for Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)
With a 1:6 trainer to trainee ratio, CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is an ESL teaching certificate program for international education. The 120-hour course includes 6 assessed teaching hours with ESL students and 6 experienced teacher observation hours.
School of Teaching ESL
This Seattle-based organization offers a 4-week project-based, intensive TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) course, available year round. Program is project based.
For more information, visit Career and Employment Services to speak with a career advisor or browse the numerous international opportunity resources available in the CES Career Resource Library.