“You’re young, you have no attachments, you like to travel…go live in Italy for a few years!”
Winter break was a time to relax, spend time with friends, and get interrogated by family members about what you’re going to do with your life after college. You either know exactly what you’re doing, lie and pretend you know exactly what you’re doing, or come clean and say something like “um…I’m not really sure yet.” I responded with the third after being questioned the other day by a friend of my parents, and he said something that I hadn’t considered before: “You’re young, you have no attachments, you like to travel…go live in Italy for a few years!”
At first, I thought it was a ridiculous idea. I loved studying abroad in Italy and I would go back in a second, but what would I do there for such a long period of time? I couldn’t think of a way to travel around and somehow support myself while gaining any kind of serious job experience. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that he was right. The next few years may be the only time in my life when I’ll be able to travel abroad so freely, without a serious career or family getting in the way. It’s definitely something to consider, at the very least.
So, I decided to do some research, and it turns out that there are several great ways to make money and travel abroad after graduation:
The first is fairly obvious- teaching English abroad. I knew about this one already, but I didn’t know just how high of a demand there is for English language teachers abroad, and just how many opportunities there are to live abroad and teach in virtually any country. Many of these programs offer a decent salary, and benefits such as housing and transportation. Experience teaching abroad can look very impressive on a resume or a grad school application, and it is a great way to get involved in another country’s culture. Also, if you are interested in teaching in a country in the Middle East or Asia, you can make up to $4,000 a month.
When I studied abroad in Italy, I took a bus tour of the Amalfi Coast (bus2alps) that was run by guides who were all recent college grads. I asked one of the guides how he got the position and he said “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated, and all I knew was that I wanted to travel, so now I get to travel around Europe for free and I’m going to keep doing it until I’m ready to go home.” There are tons of ways to get involved in tourism in other countries, all of which require very little training. You can work for travel companies as a guide, or work for a cruise company, hotel, campsite, etc. It’s the perfect way to experience another country (or multiple countries) and support yourself with a relatively easy job.
Intern with a major corporation abroad
If you want to travel abroad after graduation but are worried about getting a start to your career, this would be the best option for you. Many major organizations such as Google and J.P Morgan offer jobs and paid internships abroad for recent college grads. Most of these positions are in business and technology, but with a little bit of research you may be surprised at what you can find associated with your major.
If you are a little bit less serious about starting your big career just yet, but still want to make money and gain experience, there are countless resources available online as well as at the embassy of the country you are interested in to help you find a job abroad. There are hundreds of jobs in practically every field that range from a few months to a few years commitment, and it only takes a few minutes of browsing to find an opportunity that you are interested in. You can find helpful information at the following organizations: GoAbroad, TransitionsAbroad, BUNAC, AIESEC, and GoOverseas.
If you are interested in traveling and helping to make a positive change in the world, then the Peace Corps’ 2 year program is an excellent way to do just that. Peace Corps volunteers work on projects ranging from economic development to the environment, and it is easy to find work in an area that you are interested in. Volunteers are given a stipend of $8,000 in transition money, and may be eligible for student loan and graduate school benefits.
Working abroad after graduation is not in everyone’s comfort range, and it is certainly not the most conventional way to start a career, but if you love to travel, then you may want to add some of these to your list of post-grad options! One of the best resources is the U.S. State Department’s website, which has a list of links with information about jobs and logistics.