How does “working abroad” work?
So, you want to travel and live abroad but your bank account is totally killing your vibe? Consider looking at working abroad. Companies are global and there are opportunities everywhere! Not just teaching. Jobs are diverse and range across industries, so when it comes to finding the best ways to work abroad, there’s always a way. Whether you are looking for ways to work abroad after college, having a mid-career shift, or exploring jobs abroad for the over 50s; it’s never too late to make working abroad work for you!
The term working abroad means a lot of different things. Depending on where you go, who you work for, and the length of time you plan to stay; working abroad is a process. As you determine the best way to work abroad it’s important to think of all the details involved. But don’t worry we got you!
Age considerations when working abroad
Usually, age is nothing but a number but when it comes to working abroad it can sometimes limit your options. Rule one in the world of working abroad is that you’ll always need a visa. Second to your passport, your visa is the key to working and staying in your country of choice legally. Now here is where age comes in. A snapshot:
- There are many ways to work abroad after college. Your college graduation date always seems so far, until it isn’t. When it finally arrives all you find yourself thinking about is finding a job and starting a career. It’s a lot of pressure to put your experience and degree to use (trust us, we’ve all been there.) But for first time job seekers like yourself, it’s also the perfect time to expand your opportunities and look abroad. Even if you’re not too sure about what you want to do, working abroad is a great idea. The best way to work abroad in this case is to snag a working holiday visa and use sites like LinkedIn or UK site Neuvoo. Check out this resource: The Busy Student’s Guide to Finding Work Abroad After College
- Find career break jobs abroad. Escaping from your regular 9-5 job will probably be on your wish list at one point or another, so why not take a career break abroad to really amp up your time away. While a career break is far from a vacation, working abroad is one of the best ways to spend it. You can gain a global experience and get a more refreshed look at what you want next in your life and career. It’s a total career booster! Kick Off Your Career Break Planning Here!
- Yes, there are absolutely jobs abroad for the over 50s. While you may not qualify for the working holiday visa, there’s still jobs after 50. Whether you are looking to relocate to a different country to continue your career, deciding to take a career break, or choosing the volunteer route for your retirement years; know that you have options everywhere.
More info because you're not too old for a working holiday
The typical visa of choice to work abroad is the working holiday visa which typically serves those between the ages of 18-30 and sometimes 35 depending on the country you’re going to. You can stay up to two years and get to know your country and fund some extra travel stops. Holiday visas are great ways to work abroad after college since they require little to no experience and are simple to apply for. For the 18-35 age bracket, this is the way to go.
However, if you’re looking for the best way to work abroad after 35, being ineligible for a holiday visa isn’t the end of the road. Instead, you would just apply for a work visa. Unlike holiday visas, these are a little more difficult as they longer to get, so plan in advance. For these visas, be prepared to show off your qualifications and flaunt your professional skills, you will need these to be impressive in order for employees overseas to sponsor you. If you’re on a career break or more seasoned professional, your resume and experience level are a huge advantage. Once you nab a sponsorship its smooth travels from here.
When it comes to getting your dream life abroad, age won’t stop you from getting to your destination. Your journey there is just different.
7 best ways to work abroad
1. Through an agency / program provider
Program providers, regardless of where they are based, offer a wide range of work, intern, and volunteer abroad opportunities around the world. Supporting you from when you first show interest to your return home agencies like these help you sort out everything you did and didn’t think of. For a fee that ranges from agency to agency you can get help with your visa, phone, and job placement among other things. It’s one of the best ways to work abroad if you find yourself needing an extra push or organizer through the process.
- Pros: These people are here to make your transition abroad super smooth. They’re going to help you get your visa, driver’s license, health insurance, even helping you set up an international bank account if you need it. If this is your first time working abroad these are your peeps!
- Cons: Depending on the support you need, the fees for these agencies can end up on the high side. Leaving you less money to spend once you arrive. However, budgeting ahead can make this big con a minor one.
- More info: How to find the perfect work abroad program provider
2. Work abroad as a teacher
You believe the children are the future, so teach them well and lead the way as a teacher abroad. Teach anywhere in the world to leave a lasting impact on the students you teach. Teach students English and maybe pick up a little bit of the local language in return. You will have flexible hours, and with your salary have time to explore other places in your chosen country. It’s a work abroad option anyone can do, young or old, experienced or not. The only requirement for these positions is that English is your native language. Not too shabby, eh?
- Pros: While it’s never about the money, your teaching salary combined with the low cost of living of the country you’ll be teaching in is a major pro! While you can always stash it away for your own travels, the money you have left over can always go towards beating those student loans. (super pro!)
- Cons: While temporary, culture shock is sooo real and will definitely be a challenge when it comes to adjusting to your new life overseas.
- More info: Get hired—browse teaching jobs abroad
3. Move abroad, then find work
For all the explorers out there! You don’t always need a job before you reach your destination. If you have the means to get up and go, definitely do it. Don’t let people make you second guess your decision either; just because your decision isn’t conventional doesn’t mean your move is doomed. Our organized checklist is a must have if you choose this route and can also make your move go smoother. Start applying to positions before you land, network with recruiters, and hit the ground running.
- Pros: You make your own path. Being completely independent is a surefire way to not only get immersed in the ways of your new country but have complete control over your experience.
- Cons: Moving abroad this way is like having another full time job. Pressing the restart button on your life will be overwhelming especially with the heavy paperwork you’ll have to deal with. So if you like to avoid stressful situations at all time you might want to skip this way of moving abroad.
- More info: How to find a job in another country
4. Get a working holiday visa
If you don’t want to work abroad on a permanent basis snagging a working holiday visa is a great option. Travelers aged 18-35 are eligible and can stay for up to two years depending on the country they choose to stay in. While your working holiday visa determines where you can work and live legally for a period of time, this visa has no restrictions on any free travel you wish to do.
- Pros: One of the best things about a working holiday visa is the work experience you will get on your resume. Once you choose to start applying for jobs back home your time abroad will be a standout experience that will set you apart from other applicants. Your experiences here are also going to make some unique interview answers.
- Cons: There’s an age limit. While other visas aren’t as easy to obtain as working holiday visas thankfully there are other opportunities to work abroad after 35.
- More info: How to work abroad for a couple of months… or more
5. Do a work exchange
Ideal if you have a tight budget, completing a work exchange is the closest you can get to traveling abroad for free. Through a work exchange you can do a range of things from pretty much anywhere in the world. You can be a video production intern in Israel, a marketing intern in Bali, or work in a hostel in Argentina. As you work in exchange for your room and board all you have to worry about is securing a visa! So, if you’re into wanderlust with little financial pain, a work exchange is the perfect move.
- Pros: Your housing is free and depending on the program your meals will be free too. Not having to worry about food or where you’re going to stay is a huge relief. The only budgeting you’ll have to worry about is planning for trips of your own.
- Cons: While your housing will be free for the program, you can’t control where you stay. Most of the time, your accommodations will be far from the 5-star living you might be used to at home. While you certainly won’t be living in squalor be prepared to give up “luxuries” like privacy or convenience.
- More info: Check out work exchange programs here
The act of giving back isn’t just restricted to your community at home. Take your passion for a cause and help people from all over. In addition to traveling, you get to be a part of something that is important and meaningful. As a volunteer, these working experiences won’t be paid, but the work you put into aiding communities, problem-solving, and practicing cross-cultural communication are experiences that have more value than any paycheck you’ll receive. Since there is so much you can get out of this experience volunteering is definitely one of best ways to work abroad after college
- Pros: As a volunteer abroad, you can truly get to know the world around you. A destination is more than just its tourist brochure or visiting guide. Get to know the locals, culture and language outside the vacationer bubble. It’s only by immersing yourself in these communities that you can truly achieve an impact and aid in positive change.
- Cons: Problems just don’t solve themselves overnight. With this being the case, be ready for the unfortunate reality that you can’t help everyone. While your efforts will always be appreciated, real change takes time and can be a complicated journey itself.
- More info: Everything you need to know about service learning projects abroad
7. Freelance/digital nomad
Travel Writers, Web Designer, Photographers, and Vloggers are some of the many things you can do as a digital nomad. Earn your money and grow your clients while traveling the world. If you can’t stand the idea of having a 9-5 within a tiny cubicle, then becoming a digital nomad is one of the best ways to work abroad while pursuing your passions. This lifestyle is definitely ideal for self-starting entrepreneurs looking for a flexible schedule.
- Pros: As a digital nomad you work your own hours and you can finally be your own boss! Taking your career into your own hands is a powerful statement and one you should be proud to make!
- Cons: The downside to this life is that your income won’t always be consistent. Before you jet off and become a digital nomad make sure you have enough savings in the bank to cover the days you won’t be making money.
- More info: The newbie guide on how to be a digital nomad
Next steps to finding the best way to work abroad for YOU
Before you jet off to your new life in the country of your dreams, check out our articles to make sure you get your life together before you go abroad. You can also get more into the planning stages by looking through all our resources below. Get your dream job and your dream life at the same time! Choosing a work abroad program isn't as hard as it sounds, especially if you follow these steps:
- Decide where to go. Figuring out where YOU should work abroad is paramount. Have a short list of locations that sound ideal for your goals. Don't let your experience (or lack thereof!) hold you back—choose a place that's right for you.
- Pick your job. Do some reflection on what skills and knowledge you bring to the table, and which type of company or organization—and role within—would best benefit from your time and energy.
- Choose from the best work abroad programs in the world. Pay attention to past participants’ reviews, program/university reputation, location, and how the project's needs match your skills. Some programs may even share contact info for ambassadors or past participants if you want the REAL dirt. Here are more considerations to make as you figure out how to choose the right job program for you. Pro tip: You can use MyGoAbroad to compare programs side-by-side.
- Plan your finances. Sort out funding before you go to afford daily essentials and splurge on travel (in addition to program costs and airfare). Be sure to raise a little extra money to donate to the organization that you'll be working with. Learning how to save for jobs abroad is essential prior to your travels!
- Get prepared! Preparing to work and move abroad is as fun as it sounds. With the days til departure number dwindling and your excitement boiling, it can be easy to overlook the details. Lean on us to help guide you through your pre-departure process—that's what we're here for.
You’re informed, so what’s stopping you?
When it comes to working abroad, there are plenty of opportunities. You just need to make sure you have organized all your paperwork and have a clear plan for what you want to do. Although the process can seem annoying, and never-ending there’s always going to be light at the end of the tunnel. So get organized for these visa applications and let’s get to work!