Got the itch to get out of the country? While there are some logistic challenges (visas!) to consider, you can make it happen with some flexibility and a bit of legwork. Here are popular options for going abroad after graduation:
Teaching Abroad. Teaching English as a second language is one of the most popular options for recent graduates because opportunities are relatively abundant. Graduates will typically teach for 1 - 2 years abroad before eventually returning to the US. Seeking certification through a program like TEFL or TESOL can sometimes improve pay and expand options.
Work in Your Industry. This can be one of the toughest routes, but with the right strategy graduates can sometimes pull of work in their industry. One of the most successful approaches is working with a US company that has connections abroad. Other grads have used study abroad to network and eventually land work internationally. Either way you should be ready for lots of legwork!
Volunteer and Service Corps. The Peace Corps is probably the best-known international service corps, but there are many others. The application process is competitive, but going this route will get you into some exciting (and often remote) locations for 1 – 2 years of service.
Government Work. A small number of individuals go on to work with the US State Department in US embassies abroad. A competitive application process involves the Foreign Service Exam, an extensive interview and background screening.
Graduate Study Abroad. Going to grad school abroad is an amazing way to build your academic credentials and potentially segue into an international career. But be aware- it can be quite expensive since financial aid is very different when you study outside the US. The Fulbright is a great alternative that allows you to apply for a very competitive US government grant to teach or do research abroad.
Making It Work:
- Study abroad. Prove you know how to operate within another culture and understand what it’s like to be far from home.
- Learn a language. Aside from proving your seriousness, this will help qualify you for more work and will make it easier to adjust.
- Find your niche. To be hired internationally, you have to prove you have more to offer than domestic candidates. Develop a skillset that gives you an edge.
- Do your research. Use the links below to study the region you’re interested. What does the job market look like? How tight are visa restrictions?
- Be flexible. If you know you want to go abroad right after graduation, consider all of your options for work as a way to get in the country.
Work Abroad Links:
University of Michigan International Center
Start here! Tons of resources on options for working abroad, checklists, and program links.
Search by country or region for tips on the best options for finding work.
JET is a competive teach abroad program in Japan.
State Department Diplomatic Jobs
Learn about working abroad with the US government.
Service opportunities worldwide.