Where Will Your Career Take You? Tips for Preparation & Common Careers Abroad

Earlier this year we shared information about where the job search may take you. Traveling outside of Wisconsin after graduation is a huge step and it is even more significant when you desire to pursue an international career.

Side of the VE Monument

Traveling abroad has become increasingly popular. Every year, the U.S. has nearly 300,000 students study abroad in addition to the cultivation of unique programs such as Semester at Sea. Traveling abroad provides several benefits such as learning a foreign language and developing a global perspective. Now on to the big question: what happens when you want to work abroad?

Here are some tips on preparing for a career abroad and some common international careers.

 Documentation needs (Passport, Visa, and Work permit)

  • While passports may be applied for through the U.S. Department of State, obtaining work visas and work permits are a bit more challenging. Many countries will require that you have a job offer prior to obtaining a work visa or work permit. Additionally, some countries will require a special type of visa related to work (i.e. business visa, work visa) and a work permit. Going Global, a career resource located on Hawk Jobs, provides excellent information on work visas and work permits.

Getting a Job

  • Preparation: According to the Institute for International Education of Students, you are more likely to secure a job abroad after completing an international internship. In addition to international internships, working domestically, gaining proficiency in a second language, and building a global network are other ways to prepare for an international career.
  • Before or After: Make the decision as to whether you want to have a job prior to traveling abroad or after you have settled abroad. There will be challenges either way, but there are useful strategies for each situation.
  • Study your Country: Different countries have their own unique benefits and challenges. Make sure to gather information about the economy and top companies of the countries you are considering.
  • Build a Global Network: Take some time to get to know individuals from different countries in your field of interest. Try to find out more information about how they have prepared for and obtained their job. This is always easier when you have had some previous travel abroad experience. In any case, using LinkedIn can be a useful tool as well.

Common Careers Abroad

  • Government and International Relations: This includes Foreign Affairs, Government Intelligence, and work with the United Nations.
  • Domestic to International: I once worked with a student seeking marketing opportunities in Israel. After some searching, we found some companies and job postings. Many positions available in America will also be available abroad.
  • Teaching English: We shared some information on teaching abroad earlier in the year.
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO): If you have a passion for issues that span internationally, such as poverty, women’s rights, or community development, then you may want to consider NGO’s with international opportunities.
  • Miscellaneous: Other common careers abroad range from agriculture (WWOOFing) to working as an Au Pair.

You never know where your career will take you! Stop by Career & Leadership Development to find more information about working abroad.

Photo by Ben Demey.