Ways to Work Abroad

If there’s one thing better than traveling abroad, it’s living abroad. The thrill of living in a foreign country, getting paid and immersing yourself in a new culture is too attractive to simply ignore. But it’s hard enough getting a job at Radio Shack to even think about moving your money making operation overseas. Yet people manage to do it. Every minute, another backpacker gets a job in some European country, according to statistics I just made up. But don’t let that stop you. You can become employed. Just pick up your anti theft handbag, get out there and you can live and work abroad.

Teach English
Just about every young globe-trotting adventurer has thought about teaching English abroad at one time or another. And, the requirements are fairly minimal. In some places, just speaking English is enough to get you a job, much like McDonald’s. At higher paying and more advanced schools, you’ll need an English degree or proficiency in a second language. Right now, Asian countries are desperate for good teachers and most pay well. For the highest paying gigs, head to Saudi Arabia but don’t forget you might have a hard time getting used to some of the common cultural practices. Virgin Jager bomb anyone?

Ship Crew
Whether you’re crossing a great ocean, navigating the Panama canal or rounding the Horn, sailing is rarely a job for only one person. Many boat owners look for able-bodied youth to join them on sailing expeditions. Experience is rarely necessary and most will only ask you to pay for food, that means lodging and travel is free. Jobs can range from full on sailing to more menial work like cooking, cleaning the head (toilet) and making the captain drinks. To find crew work, head to any marinas in major ports and start asking around about crew jobs. You’ll rarely land a job by phone or e-mail, so it’s best to use the internet for basic research only.

Before you write off volunteer positions, think about this: because of the state of the economy, unpaid internships are at an all time high. An international volunteer experience looks far more impressive on a resume than an unpaid internship, 5 blocks away from your parent’s house. As for the cost, look for positions that will refund your travel expenses or offer room and board once you arrive.

While hundreds of thousands of jobs are outsourced to citizens of other countries, an equally astonishing number of people are simply leaving the U.S. and working from ‘home’. These homes are found amongst the beach bungalows in Ecuador, villas in Italy and artists lofts in Paris. As a freelance writer, artist, financial advisor, etc, you may only need the internet and thus, you can go anywhere in the world to do your job.

It’s the job that everyone forgets until it smacks you in the face. You’ll arrive in a hostel in Greece only to realize that the person operating the front desk lived across the street from you in elementary school. Every year, international hospitality businesses, from hostels to tour guide companies to cruise ships, look for Americans to hire for the busy season. An American staff tends to draw an American clientele, which is a large part of many international hospitality enterprises. Just head for your ideal city a few months before tourist season and start asking around at hotels, restaurants, tour companies and anywhere else where you think tourists might flock.

By Patrick Hutchison