It seems like the dream doesn’t it? Being able to actually live and work in a foreign country for a while and have every day feel like you are on vacation. Such situations can sound like they are almost too good to be true; but I want to assure you, dear friend, they are very possible and there are more than just a handful of lucky people around the world making those dreams a reality.
You don’t need to be a genius, a rocket scientist, or have some extremely niche profession to build a successful life overseas; so let’s take a look at some of the best job routes for foreigners who want to work overseas.
Teach English Abroad
English is the international language and as globalization becomes a more widespread sensation (I’m a poet!), the requirement for people in various nations to learn English, and subsequently the demand for English Teachers, soars. You don’t have to be a professionally qualified teacher with tons of experience in order to be considered. For the majority of positions, an undergraduate degree in any field is sufficient.
Some countries and academic institutions may require you to complete a TEFL, a short teaching qualification which you can complete online in a matter of weeks. This qualification is as much for your benefit and understanding as it is for that of your workplace. If you teach languages overseas, the intention is that you fully immerse your students in your language, and do not communicate in their native tongue. This forces the students to have to think on their feet and means that you don’t have to worry about not being fluent in the local language.
You can make a very comfortable living teaching English abroad, particularly if you look to the Far East (Japan and Korea) and the Middle East; and aside from varying preferences from school to school, and country to country, there isn’t really an age limit on who can apply.
This choice can take some time to get established in, so it’s worth starting down this path while you are still in your home country, if it isn’t what you are already doing currently. Do you have a skill that enables you to work online or remotely? Perhaps you are an excellent writer or you work in art and graphic design. Creative fields in particular enable people to work remotely from anywhere in the world from the comfort of their computer. You can be writing for a magazine in the USA, and living in a hut in Bali. Perfection, right? Again, there are no age restrictions on this option although admittedly it’s risky, as is any freelance career, and will take a lot of perseverance and hard work.
Seasonal Work/Work Abroad Program
If you are aged between 18 and 30, there are many opportunities for you to work overseas for a couple of months up to a year or two on a working holiday visa. The exact length of time allowed varies from country to country but the idea is that you can travel and experience this new place, and earn your keep taking casual work along the way. Popular choices include New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. Since the visa is not permanent, many place restrictions on the type of work you can do and the length of contract you can accept so you may be restricted to bar work, call centre work, or administrative roles.
High Heels & A Backpack has done working holidays in both the USA and in Australia and thinks it’s a great way to earn a little extra dough while you’re on the move.
A Professional Career
Perhaps you’ve earned yourself a Master’s Degree, a PHD, or you’ve spent many years working in your particular field and you want to find a job related to your particular skill set. I hear you. In this case, it can take a little longer to find work since you are likely to need a sponsor to help you move. Asia can be tricky since most employers prefer someone who can speak the local language, and European countries often give preference to other Europeans whom they don’t have to sponsor for a visa.
Finding a job in another English speaking country though can be a little easier. Search expat and local job boards before you leave, network as much as possible and ensure that you thoroughly understand the visa and paperwork requirements. In some countries, it’s possible to just show up and search for work and a more permanent visa on arrival (if you’re feeling brave!)
Unpaid Volunteer Work
If you’d like to spend an extended period of time overseas without spending a fortune but you haven’t found an option that’s really suitable for you, or you don’t want to stay overseas long term, you can consider volunteering. This is particularly regarding as then you know that you are making a difference and giving back to local communities. Volunteer work can aid people in developing nations, animals, or nature. Do your research thoroughly before signing up to any program and ensure you go through a reputable charity. WOOFING is a popular choice and involves living and working on an organic farm, where you work in exchange for room and board.
Work On a Cruise Ship
If you work in entertainment or hospitality, this is a great choice to consider. You are not tied to any one location, you get to visit lots of beautiful and exotic destinations for free as a part of your job, and although you are traveling for extended periods of time, you’re never far from home or your loved ones for too long. You can apply for cruise ship work as you would for any regular job – through advertisements and job boards, or if there is a particular company that you are interested in working with, you can send them your resume directly.
As you can see, there are many opportunities available to work overseas and they are available to people of any age group, not only the young university graduate, or the wild-eyed backpacker. The internet is home to a plethora of useful resources to assist you in finding your dream job, and life abroad, and you will find many expat/travel forums with people who are more than willing to answer your queries.
Have any questions about working overseas or expat life? I have actually been down all of these routes (well, minus the professional career move as I left my corporate life behind in the UK, oh and the cruise ship… boats have me projectile vomiting like the exorcist). Feel free to drop me an email (Melissa@