Best Summer Work Abroad Programs for College Students

by Published

School's out for summer and you're looking for a way to get out of your comfort zone and add some extra cash to your bank account. Instead of sticking to your same ol’ summer job, why not find summer work abroad?

Best Summer Work Abroad Programs for College Students

First thing’s first, figure out which type of summer work abroad programs are best for you. Do you want to be able to travel on the weekends? Do you want to work with kids, or animals, or people around your age? Take your summer abroad with summer work abroad programs and you just may never want to return to school.

Keep in mind that some summer work abroad programs for college students are not necessarily glamorous — you've gotta work! If you're ready to work hard and have fun while traveling, keep on reading for some inside info on the best summer work abroad programs and how to work abroad for the summer.

The most popular types of short term work abroad

1. Summer Camp Jobs Abroad

youth walking down a dirt path in the forest
Lead summer campers on adventures while having your own!

If you're up for an adventure and love working with kiddos, being a camp counselor is for you. There's a lot involved, like, you know, all of your time and energy, but it's so unbelievably worth it. Being a role model for your campers will leave you feeling empowered and influential. It's a big commitment, though. You'll be working twenty four-hour days as a camp counselor, but you're bound to leave with a sense of pride and immense personal growth.

Summer camp jobs will find you among various landscapes—are you a mountains or beach person? This is a summer work abroad program that’s always on the lookout for new hires, so you’ll find tons of opportunities to work at summer camps. Whether you prefer to dabble in diverse programming from swimming to theatre to language learning in Germany or want to lead outdoor adventures in Canada, summer work abroad programs at camps offer a cool combination of work, travel, and education.

2. Hospitality Jobs Abroad

Hotel patio overlooking the ocean
Find summer work abroad with a view when you work in hospitality.

From local bars and pubs to hotels and motels, or even vineyards, it seems opportunities for summer work abroad in the hospitality industry is endless. Hospitality jobs are perfect for anyone who has ever dreamed of living “the suite life” like Eloise at the Plaza. You’ll get the unique experience of living and working in a deluxe resort, and get paid for it! You may even get housing included, too. You might even get the chance to work in a spa or resort in Spain that includes accommodation and meals—score!

Turn your summer work abroad in housekeeping, kitchen work, waitressing and bartending, or guest relations into a once-in-a-lifetime luxurious trip to an awesome location. Start your summer work abroad search by scoping out resort locations, and go from there. Picture yourself taking advantage of your dream location and making some money.

3. Agriculture Jobs Abroad

Green tractor in a field
If you look great in work boots, summer seasonal jobs in agriculture and on farms is the way to go.

Fancy seeing yourself in the Australian outback? Ever want to live in more rural parts of a country? Into getting down and dirty on a ranch? If a resounding “yes” is echoing in your head, summer work abroad programs in agriculture and ranch work are totally for you.

Now, this type of summer work abroad isn’t for the faint of heart. Agriculture jobs will involve long hours and almost entirely physical labor, but you'll learn tons of new skills throughout the summer. You'll get to ride horses and motorbikes, pick up a few new fence-building techniques, engage in cattle work, practice operating tractors, and maybe even chainsaw. Don't worry: safety first, especially when working on a ranch!

Most summer work abroad programs in agriculture and ranch work are available in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. Why not rack up hours (and money!) on the ranch, and then explore what your host country has to offer? Seems like a solid summer plan, right?

4. English Teaching Jobs Abroad

Two little girls writing in a workbook
You can teach adults, university students, or teens, but we think working with kiddos is the best way to work hard and play hard abroad. 

Do you consider yourself a language-lover? Do you love engaging a room? Is guiding fun activities your thing? Opportunities to teach English in between semesters of school can offer the perfect summer work abroad programs for college students. Whether you're actually pursuing a degree in English education or not, you may find fulfillment working as an English teacher abroad.

What's super awesome is that there are even language camps that hire language teachers, program organizers, and camp managers. You could teach English at camps in Italy during the summer or at English immersion camps in France.

If getting TEFL certified is what you’re after, you could spend your summer earning your TEFL certification abroad and simultaneously prepping for longer-term teaching contracts. While most teach abroad programs require a bit more of a time commitment, opting to teach English on a summer work abroad program is the best way to squeeze in some cross-cultural challenges as an undergraduate and find the confidence within yourself to command campers’ attention.

[MORE READING: How to Find a Summer Teaching Job Abroad]

5. Au Pair Jobs Abroad

kids smiling at camera in vietnam
How can you say no to a summer with these cuties?

Do you truly enjoy working with children? Does living with a family and exploring the ins and outs of a place entice you? Be an au pair abroad to explore a new place while also developing a relationship with a family, as they’ll become your best resource to discovering wherever it is in the world you end up. Do you research to find the right fit with a family—after all, you’ll be living with them!

Native English speakers are in fierce demand within au pair jobs abroad, so you can find placements in families from Western Europe to Oceania, and anywhere and everywhere in between. Maybe you’ll find a job in France, say hello to Spain, or get a working holiday visa in Australia or New Zealand. If you like kids, you’ll surely find the perfect au pair summer work abroad!

[MORE READING: Why Au Pairing Abroad is a Good Career Move]

How to work abroad for the summer: 4 steps

The steps are pretty straight forward, though it does require more actions than simply getting a passport and packing a big bottle of sunscreen. If you're interested in learning how to find short term work abroad, read on!

1. Know what you want to do

Before you start the (sometimes hefty) program search process, it helps to know what you want to do, work-wise and what your end goal is, both skill-wise and finance-wise. If you want to make a ton of money to pay off student debt, work in a country with high pay and low cost of living. If you want to set yourself up for future jobs with children, consider au pair'ing abroad, regardless of location. If you would rather eat dirt than pick fruit from trees all day, maybe opt out of Australia.

2. Find a summer work abroad program

Resources like GoAbroad are great this—just check out our directory of programs hiring for summer 2018/2019. You can filter based on location preferences and types of work. Be sure to read reviews, talk to past employees, and get in touch with the program to suss out if it is a good fit for you. If you're feeling stuck, our team of OnlineAdvisors will happily point you in the right direction.

3. Sort your visas

The legalities of international work can be tricky, but that's a perk of going abroad with a summer work abroad program. They should be able to help you sort your paperwork, dot your i's and cross your t's, so you can enter the country worry-free.

[Keep reading: How to work your way around the world without the visa hassle]

4. Book your plane ticket and rake in the dough!

Getting paid to travel the world is half the fun. Gaining new professional skills and making your resume shine is the other. Make sure you commit to kicking butt at both (don't work too hard, but don't play too hard either) for a truly powerful and transformative experience abroad.

Snag your dream summer job abroad

After getting a glimpse at all the best summer work abroad programs for college students, maybe you’ve narrowed down your search, or maybe you haven’t. You’ve perused the options and you’ve got to consider location, wages, type of work, language acquisition and opportunities for travel. Summer work abroad programs are completely and totally up to you—it’s a matter of figuring out where you see yourself and what you see yourself doing in between semesters!

No matter which job jumps out at you, it's always best to get rockin’ and rollin’ on reading reviews, reaching out to providers and program alumni, and comparing programs side-by-side with MyGoAbroad. There's no better time to try out new jobs in new places than in the summer (even if you are a high school student looking for work abroad). Push your boundaries as a college student, and extend your undergrad learning to another country. Besides, they have ice cream everywhere and you’ll still have a little free time to work on your tan.

Browse more summer work abroad programs now