DePaul University Career Center's Blog

Working Internationally: Is It for You?

By: Jen Fleming, ENPG Career Advisor

Consider the Why

Let’s be honest, living in another country sounds glamorous, and while there are many reasons why that can feel true, there are just as many for why it can also feel really challenging. When considering why you want to live and work abroad, it’s important to ask yourself some essential questions throughout the process, which can help you understand if this path is realistic for you.

  • What is my purpose for wanting to go abroad? (e.g. travel, new experience, build a career)
  • What is most important to me? (e.g. job type, location, pay)

Being far from the family and friends that make up your support system can be much more difficult than some may assume. This, in addition to cultural differences and possible language barriers can even seem isolating at times. Given this, there are specific personality traits, skills, and strengths that can be particularly valuable when living and working abroad.

  • Are you someone who is naturally curious? Do you enjoy getting out of your comfort zone? Can you be described as flexible and adaptable?
  • Do you have an ability to set goals and achieve them? Do you have a strong desire to be successful? Would you be described as tenacious?
  • Do you like learning new things? Are you adventurous?

Examine the How

Securing employment abroad is not considered “easy.” One way to start is to work for a company in the U.S. that has offices abroad that you could potentially transfer to. Additional options include considering specialized programs, graduate school, volunteer programs, Peace Corps etc.

There are some small steps to take for those who are still students, including study abroad opportunities or taking a course focused on living and working abroad like the UIP course United Kingdom: International Careers. Below are a few tips to keep in mind when navigating the job/volunteer program/graduate school search process.

  • Use foreign resources
  • Network, network, network!
  • Know your industry
  • Consider a program abroad
  • Demonstrate the skills you have obtained without professional experience – side projects, blogging, etc.

Do Your Research

There are many things to consider when deciding to work abroad. Aside from logistical issues including language barriers, visas, health insurance, living arrangements, and managing your money abroad, you’ll need to identify the particular path that is right for you (e.g. volunteer opportunity, job, graduate program etc.). Below are resources that can be used as a starting point in researching the particular direction that might suit you best. Please keep in mind that some of these sites may have fees associated with their services.

  1. AidBoard International Aid Jobs: United Nations, NGOs and non-profit job opportunities
  2. AIESEC student run organization encouraging and enabling international experiences for students
  3. BUNAC – Overseas work/travel programs offer students and young people an alternative to package tourism, including opportunities in Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and volunteer opportunities in South Africa
  4. Catholic Network of Volunteer ServiceComprehensive listings by country, type of volunteer work, age, and length of service. Individual listings include application and selection procedures, training, financial and living arrangements.
  5. CIEE – Leave your inner tourist at home, and decide where you want to take your inner traveler. You can work in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, Ireland and Germany with CIEE.
  6. DAAD Research Internships in ScienceRISE is a summer internship program for undergraduate students from the United States, Canada and the UK in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering. RISE offers opportunities for Bachelor students to work with research groups at universities and top research institutions across Germany for a period of 2 to 3 months during the summer.
  7. ENLACE, Electronic Network for Latin American Careers and EmploymentElectronic job bank at the University of Texas. Although most positions beyond entry level, a good introduction to opportunities available long-term
  8. Fulbright Program – Grants for international study, research, teaching or travel.
  9. Global Jobs – Jobs for global professionals: NGOs, Think Tanks, Government, Private Sector
  10. Go Abroad – Learn about Volunteer, Teaching, and Internship opportunities abroad!
  11. GoinGlobal – Click on the link for GoinGlobal and sign in with your Campus Connect credentials. Utilize Country/City Guides tab & Jobs/Internships tab.
  12. Hacesfalta – Spanish website with volunteering and NGO’s jobs
  13. iHipo – Helps students and graduates find internships, jobs and graduate programs abroad.
  14. InterExchange – Teach English Abroad
  15. Jet Program – Teach English in Japan
  16. Meddeas – Meddeas supports bilingual teaching in Spanish schools and promotes structured language assistant programs.
  17. Overseas Jobs – full time jobs posted for a variety of industries located all over the world
  18. Peace Corps – Since 1960, more than 170,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have been invited by 136 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education, information technology, and environmental preservation.
  19. – Includes internships and community service opportunities
  20. U.S. Department of State – United States Internships in Washington and Abroad
  21. USAID– Provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States
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