Graduating from college is a scary time. Up until now, it’s been clear what you have to do: go to class, write your essays, spend long nights in the library, all for the sake of receiving that diploma. But now what? Your friends are applying to jobs and internships and starting life in the real world, but you’ve got the adventure itch and you’ve always wanted to travel. So why not do both?
By working abroad, you can gain valuable work experience whole also living in a foreign country. No matter what your career interests may be -- whether art or science or literature -- there is surely a job abroad that will work for you and your skills.
While it’s more difficult to find work abroad the less flexible you are about where you go and what kind of job you want -- you can’t move to London expecting to land your West End debut right away -- this shouldn’t be seen as a limiting factor. Instead, this is an opportunity to learn skills in other areas that will round-out your resume and make you more competitive in your field. So what jobs can you do? Here are a few of the top choices for recent grads to work abroad.
Teaching English abroad is one of the most popular methods of finding work abroad, for good reason You don’t need teaching experience or a degree in education to find a job teaching English. Not only do these positions accept people with various backgrounds, but you’ll also have the widest range of countries to choose from, from Spain to Vietnam to Brazil. You don't typically need any specific degree to teach abroad (though a degree in teaching or education won't hurt), but you do need a degree almost everywhere to apply for teaching jobs.
A bachelor’s degree is normally all that required to teach English abroad, but you’ll open the door to more opportunities with a TEFL certificate too. Some of these positions are even very lucrative, ideal if you have student loans to pay off or savings goals you want to meet -- especially in places like the U.A.E. or South Korea, where they’ll even pay for your accommodation.
2. Medical Work
Health professionals are in high demand around the world, there are amazing opportunities out there for you to help save lives and promote health education, all while gaining experience for your future career in medicine.
Working abroad in the medical field might involve learning about traditional medicine in Belize or volunteering as a nurse in Nepal, but you’ll make a clear difference in somebody’s life either way. You’d can join a short-term relief effort, such as Global Nomadic or Gap Medics, or find try to find long-term work in a local hospital.
Tech is a hot industry, both at home and abroad. Luckily for you, you’ll have no trouble gaining work experience in the tech field while living abroad. This is a great option for computer science majors!
Whether you work for a Fortune 500 company in China or a startup in Argentina, your experience abroad will help set you apart from other tech applicants in this increasingly competitive field. While Berlin, Singapore, and Amsterdam are popular tech destinations, don’t be afraid to set your sights on other tech cities on the rise, such as Dublin, Tel Aviv, and Cape Town.
Working in hospitality is a common post-graduation job at home, so you might as well do it in another country! If you don’t have any work experience at all or if you feel like your current experience is not enough, working an entry-level job in another country is like hitting two birds in one stone -- you’ll get to gain work experience while also getting the chance to live abroad.
Whether it’s your true calling or just to pay the bills while you figure things out, working in hospitality teachings valuable life lessons such as patience and customer service. A working holiday visa for New Zealand or Australia might just help you figure things out while you travel around and you'll be making money while you’re at it.
Graduates from several disciplines could consider this field, including tourism, business, marketing, art, or computer programming.
If spending more time outdoors sounds better to you than fetching coffee from an office, than working in agriculture might be for you. If there’s one thing all humans need, it’s food and water -- what better way to learn about the customs surrounding these two essential life ingredients than working at the source?
From Guatemala to Tanzania, there are hundreds of volunteer opportunities in agriculture, conservation, and sustainability where you can learn about the different ways to care for the earth around the world. You can even try WWOOFing, a worldwide volunteer initiative that allows you to work on organic farms all around the world.
One of the best ways to learn about a culture is to live with a host family. Working as an au pair or nanny is a fantastic opportunity to learn the local language while also gaining experience in childcare, education, and, well, life! English speakers are in particularly high demand from families hoping that their children will learn English at a young age.
With social media all around us, jobs in communications, digital media, and copywriting are growing in popularity. Businesses all over the world are looking for digital content creators in order to become competitive in the global market, and working abroad can give your resume a special edge over other applicants.
Though you might think that this option is only open for communications, marketing, and graphic design majors, communications is a broad field that can use people from any given background -- so if you majored in physics and don’t want to work as a researcher yet, you can try interning in communications, too!
8. Business Administration
Business is one of the most popular degrees, and for good reason. Graduating with a business degree can become lucrative over the long-term, and also allows you to work in a variety of niche fields, from entertainment to tech to publishing.
Finding an entry-level job in finance, human resources, or marketing in cosmopolitan cities such as London, Shanghai, or Singapore would be a great way to get your foot in the door in this intensively competitive field. You can also intern for a major corporation internationally -- and you might even get paid for it!
If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of adventure, why not start your own freelance business? These days, it’s easier than ever to become location-independent and take your work around the world with you, particularly if your work is centered around the Internet. Whether you’re an writer, translator, web developer, social media specialist, or graphic designer, you could spend your work days on your laptop and hit the beaches of Bali in the evening.
Freelancing is not easy, however, so only do this if you’re ready to put in the work to continuously find clients and market yourself. Sites like and are good places to advertise your services and start building your portfolio.
Working vs. Interning vs. Volunteering -- What’s the Difference?
Finding a paid job abroad, though not impossible, can be difficult, particularly if you’re not flexible about which field you want to work in after graduation. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t go abroad! Interning and volunteering are two great ways to gain experience in your chosen field.
An internship is a traineeship with a company that allows you to develop skills that will help you further your career in your particular field. It’s a chance to learn about how the organization is run, and it gives you a great networking opportunity in the process. Internships can be paid or unpaid, depending on where it is and what company it is for. Volunteering, on the other hand, is primarily for helping a community out, usually through a nonprofit. Though it’s not paid, it still counts as work experience, and you will still learn valuable skills for your field.
Another option is to participate in a work exchange, meaning that all of your living expenses are provided for in exchange for your time spent working. These are available in a variety of different positions -- as an au pair, at a hostel, or at a restaurant -- and are a viable low-cost gap year option.
Your education isn’t finished just because you graduated college -- life is all about learning new things, finding new adventures and taking risks!Why not start now? Whatever your goals may be for the future, working abroad will help you open your mind to new friendships, cultures, and opportunities. Congrats on your hard work to earn that degree; now the world is your oyster, recent grad!