How to Wake Up to a New Job Abroad
By Caroline Nye
|Waking up to new adventures overseas.
In the first of her series of articles on jobs abroad, Caroline offers tips and an overview of the issues involved in getting started.
Many of us have deep desires to travel, some from childhood, others through reading, television, or word of mouth. Some of us satisfy these desires through small, tasty portions, a yearly vacation here, and a longer, single trip there. Others pack their life into a backpack and head off into the unknown, planning a long-term feast. The problem is that unless you’re a millionaire the world as a whole can be very expensive if you travel without working. No matter how cheap the accommodation in India or the food in Marrakech, eventually your dollars turn into cents or even as the last resort, credit. So what should you do when you peer into your wallet and find only a rupee note, a coin with a hole in the middle, and some indistinguishable fluff? Two options are available to you. Head home or stay and make some money.
Obviously, various factors will affect your ability to find and acquire work in any country.
Visas and Work Permits
First and probably most importantly is whether you have a legal right to work in that country. Most countries will ask for a visa unless your country of origin is part of something like the EU. A fortunate few travelers have dual nationality which allows them to travel and work abroad more easily. The most common option, though, is to go through an organization such as BUNAC in order to secure a visa, especially if you want to work in Australia, New Zealand, or Canada.
Companies such as BUNAC allow U.S. citizens to gain a work visa in Australia and New Zealand if you are between 18-30. Be aware that going through any such organizations will always require a program fee. Other countries have their own regulations regarding non-citizens working. I know many people who have worked in Europe without any legal right to do so. The legality issue is something that you must be aware of and ready to deal with. But many companies in Europe will simply pay cash under the table.
Some professional workers, such as nurses and engineers, can enter other countries through sponsorship programs. Paid internships are another option whereby an individual can be sponsored by a company or organization on a temporary basis.
Another option, if you intend to continue your studies, might be to do graduate work in the U.K. or Europe. Under these conditions, it is sometimes possible to work part-time. However, this is an extreme and expensive manner by which to obtain a work visa!
Types of Available Jobs
A very important factor in your job search will be the jobs available and your ability to actually do them. If you are in Bangkok and don’t speak Thai, then you probably wouldn’t apply for a job in the hospital. If you are just looking to save some money, find something simple, such as bar or hotel work. But if you do speak the language, then many options open themselves up to you. Knowing a language can increase your enjoyment of your time and often your salary as well. For example, if you are trained in nursing, teaching, or social work, the opportunities can be inexhaustible in many countries. In general, you will be able to apply for any semi-skilled or unskilled job as long as you speak the local language. If, however, you are fortunate enough to speak several languages fluently, you will find many more job opportunities.
A very important factor many people might not take into account are the living costs when you’re not at work! If you find a job running a bar in Thailand, you will be able to easily rent your own place. This is where my travel specialty comes into play: “Waking up at Work!”
Jobs do exist all over the world that provide room and board along with the position. Such work might range from interning on an organic farm to jobs in hotels which provide room and board. You can usually expect these types of jobs to pay less, but they often provide a surprising opportunity to save a little while living a fun and interesting life abroad. These types of jobs also diminish the stress of paying bills, finding accommodations, and living in less-pleasant areas of the country in which you are staying. The articles in this series discuss jobs where you literally wake up at work!
||Caroline Nye has traveled and worked extensively all over the world, working in organic farming, wildlife guiding, teaching and musical performance, as well as volunteering in various international development projects.