The Busy Student’s Guide to Finding Work Abroad after Graduation

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GoAbroad wants to help you figure out how to live abroad after college

College can be overwhelming, especially with graduation looming. Homework, final exams, term papers, projects to complete – the list never ends. Do you dream of working abroad after graduation? Dream of applying what you have learned in another county to boost your career with new skills - skills that can only be fine-tuned in a foreign country? Truth be told, it’s useful, even prudent, to go abroad and tweak the subject you have mastered, bolstering your resume with international experience and meaningful travel.

passing bike by the jardins du luxembourg, Paris, france

You’d make quite an au pair in Paris.

But you’re busy. You’re busy with all there is to accomplish before you set out for foreign soil, and you’re likely wondering how it can all be done. After all, uprooting yourself to work abroad after college can be daunting – scary even – and maybe you’re afraid that it’s too much – too much to plan, too much to do, and there isn’t enough time. However, it can be done – all of it, and it’s easy once you know what you’re doing. It’s easy to find work abroad after graduation – work that will propel your career and give you a profound sense of wanderlust.

It’s time to answer those pesky questions how to turn your dream into reality. It’s time to unveil the keys to making this happen. And with that, GoAbroad presents: The Busy Student’s Guide to Finding Work Abroad after Graduation. Here, we’ll be covering:

  • Where you can find work abroad programs after college
  • Popular countries with jobs abroad for recent grads
  • Favorite job types for your first international gig
  • Where you can make the most money $$
  • And the answers to your most personal questions—like whether or not you’ll be behind, and if working abroad will hinder your career

Let’s jump in, shall we?! 

Where can I find work abroad programs after college online?

Well, right here is a great start. Before you even start reading program descriptions, signing up for newsletters, and reaching out to particular programs, you need to get one thing sorted first. 

Determine what your goal is. Is your goal to build your career and travel? Or is it to simply travel and make money working abroad after graduation? Priorities, people. Outline what you want to achieve. Is it adventure? Is it a resume builder? Is it to see life beyond the four walls of your apartment? Or is it all of the above? Once that’s all laid out you can move on to the next (and most fun) stage.

Do your homework. Okay, that doesn’t sound fun, but starting to look for your next adventure has us breaking out in a big goofy grin! Start online and find programs that are tailor-made to what you want to achieve. Be a sleuth. Research. Research until you can research no more, and ask for advice. Advice can be found everywhere! Read program reviews online to get the real skinny from past participants. Take the time to reach out to program providers and admissions advisors, ask them questions, let them give you their shpiel, and then ask if they can put you in touch with program alumni—they’re a fountain of great information on what it’s actually like to live and work abroad.

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Sydney opera house from the bay

You’ll have an Oz-some time working abroad in Australia. 

Do you know anyone else who has done this before? If so, pick their brain. Also, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there on social media. Perhaps you can find a group of expats who know the ropes. Or simply ask for suggestions. You never know who in your friend group has done what and gone where.

Try these links if you’re stuck:

Where can I work abroad after graduation?

Here are the most popular destinations to find jobs abroad for recent grads.

1. Australia

You can find work abroad after college virtually anywhere, but for , those interested in or , Australia sits at the top of the list. The Land Down Under is ripe with opportunities for graduates in these fields, and with beautiful beaches that line the shores of the Great Barrier Reef, amazing recreational opportunities, breathtaking scenery, and friendly locals, Australia is a country that welcomes you to see what the hype is .

Recommended program:
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2.  Ireland 

In pursuit of an entry-level career in the service ? As in hospitality, restaurant, or retail work? Think green and head to Ireland. Lush, emerald landscapes with rolling hills provide the backdrop to your time abroad, where you can get your feet wet in the career world. Working in Ireland after graduation will likely take you to Dublin, but rest assured—given the proximity of Dublin to the United Kingdom, even onward to mainland Europe, you can get to know the island and its neighbors, all while making a living and gaining valuable workforce knowledge.

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Cliffs in the sunshine in Ireland

There will be plenty of time for views like these, working abroad in Ireland after graduation.

3.  France

For the guru, the aspiring , or the would-be Christian Dior, France is the place to be. The country’s economy is steady, and jobs are abundant in this European mecca. But be forewarned: To receive placement, you generally must know the language, and what is often offered are internships—only some of which are paid. But for those wanting to try their hand at becoming the next big name in , all while taking part in a language immersion class, you can find internships tailored to your goals, allowing you to work abroad after college.

Recommended program: Internships in France
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4. New Zealand

 Looking to broaden your horizons in the field of or ? Look no further than New Zealand, the Land of the Long White Cloud. New Zealand isn’t technically Middle Earth, and there are no hobbits, but its terrain is certainly picturesque. Think it: You can find a job suited to your career trajectory AND live among the green hillsides where adventure, and work (and Tim Tams) await you.

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5. Honduras 

enthusiast? Love the outdoors? Let’s go even deeper. Do you love the ocean? might be right up your alley, and believe it or not, you can find work abroad in Central America under the sea. The Bay Islands of Honduras offer some of the best scuba diving in the world, and there are various programs offered to enhance your skills, thus propelling you to become a certified scuba diving instructor or the next Jacques Cousteau—what a way to make a living and explore the depths below us.

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6. Switzerland

Should you be an adrenaline junkie in search of a real thrill and the opportunity to work abroad after graduation, inquire spending a ski season in Switzerland. These are real mountains; not the tiny, icy hills we might be used to on the East Coast. No; this is the real deal, and you can work as a , a chalet housekeeper, a chef, or put your knowledge of the hotel industry to use as a . Even better? If you’re already a seasoned skier, you can find work as a . You have to get crafty finding work, but it’s out there. Just look.

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Sunset on swiss alps

Trade in that mountain of schoolwork for THIS mountain in Switzerland.

7. South Korea

South Korea sits on a pretty awesome mountainous peninsula, and with the Yellow Sea to the west and the Sea of Japan to the east, you lack for nothing when it comes to a great view. South Korea is steeped in history, and its capital, Seoul, is an absolutely booming metropolis that will leave you awestruck. In this vibrant country, you can find work abroad after graduation as a professional, but now more than ever, the country is in need of English teachers. You can practically hear opportunity knocking in Asia, especially for graduates in the field of or with these after college travel programs.

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What are the most popular jobs for recent college grads abroad?

Working abroad after graduation doesn’t have to be a stuffy bore. Just check out this menu of options! You can become the next great… 

1. English Language Teacher

Working as an English language teacher is likely the most popular route when securing work abroad after graduation. Jobs are easy to find, and they pay well. They’re a great fit for those with a background in education, and it’s a booming industry. From Asia to Europe, work abroad programs after college in these industries can be found through ’ website.

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Keep browsing: All teaching jobs abroad for recent college grads

2. Au Pair 

Also for those with a background in education, especially early childhood education or childcare, working as an is a great way to boost your resume. Not only are you exposed to foreign culture and customs, you also play a vital role in helping to take care of children, even tutoring English at times. is an organization that wants to ensure that your time working abroad as an au pair is well-spent, placing you in the country of your choice with their work abroad programs after college. Countries on their list include Peru, Spain, or Costa Rica, to name a few.

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Mt. Cook and the highway, New Zealand

Getting started can feel like a mountain of work, but it’s nothing you can’t climb. 

3. Travel Writer

Want to travel? Want to travel and write? English or journalism majors can find work abroad after graduation through travel . With the help of Great Escape Publishing, you are trained in the nuances of how to write, what makes a good, if not great, travel story, and once you’re a part of their network, Great Escape sends you leads, helping you build a career in this uber-cool industry.

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Keep browsing: All writing jobs abroad for recent college grads

4. Tour Guide

Becoming a is a great way to earn money and see the world after graduation. It gets you up-close and personal with cultures from afar, and the pay can be hefty. Through the ’s program for tour guides or directors, this dream isn’t too lofty; it only requires 15 days to become certified before you’re prepped and ready to take off.

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[The Best Overseas Jobs for Americans]

I want to make the most money working abroad after college that I can. What should I do?

  • Teach English. Teaching English abroad after graduation, especially in countries like Korea, China, or Japan, are ways to earn a fairly lucrative income. For jobs in Asia, all that is generally required is that you be a native English speaker. The average salary is roughly $30,000 per year, the students are keen to learn, and there aren’t enough teachers. There’s a void, so fill it! 
  • Work on a cruise ship. Should you have your sea legs, think of working aboard a cruise ship. Pick liners that sail to high-end locations, like the Greece Isles or anywhere in the Mediterranean. As a general ballpark, a on a cruise line can earn $3,000 per month – pretty decent, all things considered.
  • Be an au pair. One part nanny, one part English tutor, one part housekeeper, and ultimately part of the family. is a great way to keep your living costs low (because that’s part of the gig!) and save as much money as possible. As an au pair, you can earn a stipend of up to $200 a week, so around $800 a month. It might not sound like much, but with virtually no spending on housing and food (since you’re living with a family), you can really put away a lot of that income. 

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Coral reef underwater, Roatan, Honduras

Take a dive working as a scuba instructor in Honduras.

If I work after college, will I be behind...?

What is it that you fear you’ll be missing? The question here is not why work abroad after graduation, but why not? You’ve got a lifetime ahead of you. A lifetime to play “catch-up,” if needed. Simply put, working abroad will expose you to new ideas, new ways of life, and new ways of thinking – all of which will come in handy no matter where you are.

Taking that first, pivotal step toward a future that is truly unique is what many miss. The life experiences you take away from working abroad won’t hinder your future; they’ll help it. You’ll glean invaluable knowledge how others work as a team, and you’ll have fun along the way. You’ll capitalize on what makes travel so vital, so integral to becoming a well-rounded person. Quite literally, nothing will put you behind.

Working abroad makes you a part of the bigger picture, and employers nowadays are often looking for professionals who have the guts, the grit, to put themselves out there. If you don’t get your dream job at 21, what have you lost? You can always come home if it doesn’t work out. By then you’ll be 22, and what’s the real difference

The simple answer here is no. No, you will not be behind. You’ll have a leg up, an advantage. Why? Because you’ve seen different approaches to the work force, approaches you can bring back with you when, or if, you decide to come home. The world is an oyster for exploring – your oyster, and taking the first steps to explore what lies beyond the United States can lead to an abundance of unexpected joys, real fulfillment, and invaluable lessons learned that will give you the edge over another potential employee. So, take a leap of faith. Why not?

[Travel for a Living - I’m Doing it, You can too!]

Will working abroad after college ruin my career? 

Truth be told, it can only help to enhance your career. Working abroad after college sets you apart from the crowd. Employers will be impressed. They will see you as being an experienced, seasoned professional, and it makes it believable to them, after you’ve worked in Spain, that your Spanish is really good. That it isn’t just a line from your resume.

Employers like to see people who have taken the reins – people who have gumption, people who aren’t afraid. Working abroad after graduation makes you well-versed on different ways to craft your career. After all, you’ve had the opportunity to see how others interact in a foreign work environment – their triumphs, their failures – and you can take that back with you. It’s all good! Nothing is lost here.

Working abroad is one of the keys to success. You’ve upped the ante. You’ve been around. You’ve seen things and have the wisdom to bring back with you. Nothing is, or can be, ruined. Even if your trip turns out to be a bust, you’ve only lost a few months, right? So, get back at it. Explain what happened to a potential employer. Guaranteed, he or she will be encouraged that you did what so many fail to do – try.

[5 Programs to Work Abroad we are SO Loving Right Now]

Banpo Hanghang park in Seoul, lit up at night, South Korea

Your post-grad life and future is looking as bright as Seoul.

Work abroad after graduation—don’t be a dud! 

You’re in your ripe 20s. The world, quite literally, is at your fingertips. Do you even know it? Why spend the prime of your life sitting in your hometown, combing through job sites? Not with everything there is to see, do - experience. There’s too much out there that you don’t want to miss. You’re human, after all. Your time is ticking.

Graduating is hard enough. Don’t you deserve a little adventure, a little time off? Time off where you’re still pursuing your goals, not leaving anything abandoned? Being abroad doesn’t mean you’ve abandoned “reality.” It simply means you’ve decided to work in a foreign country for a bit.

Going abroad, working abroad, kicks your life up a notch or two. Think of the tales you’ll be able to tell your friends when you return. I was in Spain working as an English teacher, and we went to Pamplona to see the running of the bulls. How many people can say that? You can! Don’t waste an opportunity to experience the world. Hold on tightly to the keys of your future. The expected can be boring. The unexpected? Well, that’s a whole different animal – a beautiful one.

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