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Missed Out on Studying Abroad? Try Working Abroad Instead!

Studying abroad is an incredible experience. You get to see new things, meet new people and experience a culture far different from your own. However, not everyone gets the chance to study abroad. If you’ve left college, you might think you’re too old to go on a months-long trip overseas. The reality is that there’s plenty of opportunity to experience other cultures, even after college! By finding a job abroad, you’ll be able to offset the high costs of travel.

Visas and Work Permits

Pick a few countries you’re most interested in, and begin researching the visa requirements for the kind of work you want to do there. Chances are, you’ll need to obtain a work permit from an embassy or counsulate in your home country. For some types of work, like low-skill seasonal labor, this may be very easy to do. High-skilled work, like accountancy, on the other hand, may present more of a challenge.

The Old Standbys

There are a few “go-to” jobs for people with international inclinations that don’t require lots of planning to get into. You can find these positions all over the globe and be earning (a little) money in your dream location within the year:

  • Teach English: Because English is currently the most dominant lingua franca, English teachers are always in demand. After a relatively short TEFL, TESL or TESOL certification course, you can set sail and live the dream.
  • Work at a restaurant: It doesn’t matter where you go, people need to eat! If you’re an experienced restaurant worker, you can probably find a job in any country where you speak the language.
  • Volunteer: If you aren’t being compensated, the barriers to working abroad are much easier to scale. Volunteer organizations usually provide a stipend or accommodations so that you can live modestly without spending much or any of your own money.

How to Land Something a Little More Involved

If you’re a little further along in your career, you might feel that you just can’t settle for a low-pay position. Countries usually require that companies look for an adequate employee among the local population before they’ll grant a work permit and visa to a foreigner. The exception is for “needed skills.” For example, if a country wants to update their IT infrastructure with the latest and greatest computers, an American computer science degree could put you on the visa “fast track.” What skills and qualifications do you have that may be in high demand elsewhere?


United States citizens must file tax returns for all income, even that earned in a foreign country. However, some individuals will qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. If you meet the “physical presence test” of 330 cumulative days spent in a foreign country or countries within 12 consecutive months, you may be able to exclude the income earned there. For more information on the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, read IRS Publication 54, the Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad:

Working abroad isn’t always a simple or easy process. However, if you’re enticed by long-term travel, go for it anyway. Your effort and diligence will be rewarded with an unforgettable international experience!