9 Ways to Work Abroad that AREN’T Teaching English

by Melissa Sakamoto

Having a job abroad under your belt strengthens and individualizes your resume, helping you gain a competitive edge in the workforce in any country. But that is not to say it won’t take some actual work.

Since each country has its own business style, you’ll have to learn how to adapt to not only the overarching culture of another country, but also the subculture that you will find in your workplace, which is sometimes not as easy as it sounds! BUT, your combination of true cross-cultural understanding and newly acquired professional skills will make you a SERIOUS threat in the competitive, global job market.

Writer

A popular, reliable, and oft-touted route to gain international work experience is by scoring a teaching job abroad. Teaching abroad is a great job opportunity for individuals interested in education, and teaching placement providers are especially helpful in terms of in-country support when it comes to visas and housing arrangements. However, if the idea of standing in front of a class sounds daunting or entirely unappealing, don’t throw in your work-abroad-towel just yet!

There are countless ways to work abroad outside the realm of teaching that you can pursue! Here are just some of the many job opportunities abroad that are just waiting to be explored:

Au Pair

If you enjoy working with children and love traveling, why not become an au pair abroad? With this role, you’ll receive room and board, and can even receive one to two days off each week. This is a great alternative to teaching as you’ll focus on only a few children daily instead of 30 or more rugrats. Living with a family is also the perfect way to become completely immersed in a foreign culture, affording you an intimate experience unfound by most tourists. Since there are many opportunities to work as an au pair abroad, try searching for au pair jobs in countries that you have a strong linguistic or cultural interest in. The good news is contracts can vary anywhere from a summer break to full year(s).

Writing

Are you interested in becoming a professional writer? Then a writing job abroad may be a great option for you! As a professional writer, you’ll often develop written material, such as user guides, online help articles, or specialist manuals for various companies. Becoming a writer abroad means that you’ll learn how to develop your own writing skills and approach for an international audience. Your style, tone, and word choice will change and help you become a better writer in your future career, no matter where it takes you. If you dream of working remotely or for yourself someday, writing is a great field to dip your toes in.

Fashion

Working in fashion is the new black, after all. If you have a passion for fashion and hope to understand the field in an international setting, try searching for an international job in the fashion industry. Head to work in one of the world’s best dressed cities, reigning top global locations include London, Rome, and Paris, which are all perfect locales to help you understand the business acumen of the industry. Consider searching for a fashion job as a buyer, merchandiser, or developer. By working abroad you will become inspired as you explore the fashion tastes and trends that vary across waistlines, patterns, fabric blends, and most importantly, borders!

Fashion design

Media

As a foreigner with a unique background and physical features, you may just be in high demand for television shows, advertisements, and even runways. Cue your 15 minutes of fame as you get an international job in media (and what we mean is TV and film production!). Before sending out resumes for media jobs, highlight your experience and cultural background in an online portfolio. Your unique attributes will offer a more open-minded viewpoint for any company’s international consumers. Salary will vary depending on your native language, as well as your ability to communicate in other languages. If English is your native language, try searching for roles in countries that also speak English, like England, India, Australia, and New Zealand.

Social Media Marketing

Remember back when social media wasn’t a part of our everyday lives? Me neither. Social media is a pervasive industry worldwide; lucky for you, finding an international online marketing job is relatively straightforward. From a corporate perspective, each company has a different strategic plan for marketing techniques in different countries, and it has become hugely important for companies to gain as much international social media klout as possible. Why not try honing your skills and find a social media job abroad? You’ll learn to understand marketing from an international perspective and take this knowledge with you throughout the rest of your career.

Hospitality

Hotels and restaurants throughout the world need English speakers as a way to effectively communicate with their foreign guests. By working abroad in hospitality, you’ll learn how to understand the unique needs of local and international guests, and encounter new situations that require culture-specific solutions. Your cross-cultural communication skills will develop and help you gain flexibility with working with people of various backgrounds. This type of role in an international environment will no doubt help prepare you for other customer service and client-facing roles in your future career.

Culinary Arts

Is it just me or is traveling by way of your stomach the most satisfying? Every culture utilizes local flavors in their unique cooking styles, perfect for exploring both on your plate and beyond. Whether cooking is your hobby or your career choice, you’ll undoubtedly expand your knowledge in the kitchen while working abroad in food, cooking, or culinary arts. Depending on your palette’s interest, consider going to major culinary hot spots in Europe, such as Italy, France, or Spain. If your preference is geared more toward Asian tastes, consider working in Japan, China, or Vietnam. And if you want to try out both, don’t worry; seasonable contracts are available.

Museum Studies

Becoming an international museum professional means that you are trained to deliver messages to diverse audiences. Find a job abroad in museums and you’ll learn how museums collaborate with local communities, structure their showcases, and obtain financial support. This type of work abroad will prepare you not only for roles at museums, but also at historical sites, parks, and cultural landmarks. This is the perfect gig to keep living abroad and traveling! Consider applying for roles as an educator, exhibit designer, or museum administrator and look for roles in countries that house a specific collection that you’re interested in.

A woman holding a camera

Photography

Traveling abroad enables you to capture memorable landscapes, cityscapes, people, and moments through photos and videos. Why not consider becoming a wedding photographer or language videographer? Try searching for international photography jobs where you can shadow or be an assistant to a well-trained professional. As a young professional, these international experiences will strengthen your portfolio and your understandings of the industry at large.

Ultimately, when selecting a job abroad, it’s important to consider your own personal interests.

Do you want to develop skills for your career? Do you hope to follow your hobbies and take on a new experience? Are you interested in learning the culture and language of a specific country? Or are you simply looking for a functional means to sustain a life of adventure abroad?

All are good reasons to work abroad. Take all these questions into consideration and explore all of the job opportunities that avail themselves to you.