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How to Work, Intern, or Volunteer Abroad

Here is the reality: Working abroad isn’t as easy as it might seem. Having a passport is important, but it’s not nearly enough. You have to think outside the box, be creative, and consider different options for working internationally.

  1. Study abroad and make connections with local students, faculty, and employers. Maintain communication with your contacts even after you have returned to the States because you never know when an opportunity will present itself.
  2. Secure a job with a U.S.-based firm that has offices abroad. Do a good job and network within the firm. Be patient; it may take time for you to be assigned to an international project.
  3. Network with Union alumni who are living/working abroad. Utilize the Union Career Advisory Network (UCAN) to identify alumni who are working internationally. Email Pete Fowler to learn how to gain access to the UCAN database. Refer to the Networking Guide for assistance.
  4. Apply for international scholarships/fellowships (e.g. The Minerva Fellows Program, The Fulbright Scholarship, The Watson Fellowship, etc.). Email Lynn Evans to learn more about international fellowships.
  5. Take off a year or two to travel internationally (see “gap year” resources below).
  6. Teach English abroad (see resources below).
  7. Join a short-term volunteer-abroad program. Please note that many of these opportunities may be fee based (see resources below).
  8. Check out opportunities in our International & Domestic Fee-Based Opportunities Handout: HireU → Resource Library → Student Handouts → Fee Based Programs.
  9. Utilize Going Global which offers career guides for 30+ foreign countries, city guides for 40+ U.S. cities, an extensive Employer Directory, and international opportunities. Login from the Becker Career Center website: Scroll down to Going Global.

Volunteer (fees may apply)

Global Crossroad
Global Crossroad offers numerous and exciting abroad experiences to international volunteers in a number of countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Our highly affordable, unique, and stimulating programs engage volunteers in an adventure with a purpose.

Go Abroad
GoAbroad.com is committed to providing the most comprehensive international education and alternative travel databases. GoAbroad.com utilizes data driven programming to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information. GoAbroad.com offers the following programs: Study Abroad, Volunteer Abroad, Intern Abroad, Teach Abroad, and Job Abroad.

World Wide Helpers
World Wide Helpers is a volunteer network specifically designed to connect volunteers and organizations from around the world on one platform. A place to connect, discover common interests, and share ideas, hopes and dreams. Create an online profile today and identify organizations that spark your interest and need your help!

Transitions Abroad
Transitions Abroad provides students with essential resources, including articles, programs, and links for going abroad. It is committed to expanding upon its pioneering publications and remaining the most comprehensive web portal and webzine for working, studying, traveling, living, and volunteering abroad.

Participate in a Youth Exchange Program (fees may apply)

Rotary International - The Rotary Foundation
The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is a nonprofit corporation that promotes world understanding through humanitarian service and educational and cultural exchanges.

Youth For Understanding (YFU)
YFU is one of the world’s largest and most respected international educational exchange organizations. It offers short-term, theme-based educational programs, typically ranging from four to eight weeks, which provide students with an opportunity to live with a volunteer host family in another country while gaining skills in specific areas of interest.

Teach Abroad

Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES)
CIES, the scholar division of the Institute of International Education (IIE), is well known for its expertise and extensive experience in conducting international exchange programs for scholars and university administrators. Since 1948, CIES has administered the Fulbright Scholar Program, the United States flagship academic exchange effort, on behalf of the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

Institute of International Education (IIE)
IIE is at the forefront of increasing the number and diversity of Americans studying overseas, encouraging study in places of growing strategic importance to the United States, and helping U.S. students gain skills to succeed in a global economy and interconnected world. IIE is among the world’s largest and most experienced international education and training organizations.

Office of English Language Programs
The Office of English Language Programs creates and implements English language programs in specific regions and countries of the world. All programs are administered through local American Embassies or Consulates.

The International Educator (TIE)
TIE is a non-profit organization committed to matching the best educators with the best international schools around the world. TIE is the marketplace for international education by providing the venue where schools can find exceptional candidates, and teachers can find exceptional jobs. (To view the job postings you must pay a subscription).

US Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools
The mission of the Office of Overseas Schools is to promote quality educational opportunities at the elementary and secondary level for dependents of American citizens carrying out our programs and interests of the U.S. Government abroad. The international schools affiliated with the Department of State are independent, non-government institutions. These schools, while incorporating American educational programs, are truly international and are open to nationals of all countries. Refer to the Teaching in International Schools Overseas page to learn more and view additional resources (e.g. Directory of Recruiting Organizations).

WorldTeach
WorldTeach partners with governments and other organizations in developing countries to provide volunteer teachers to meet local needs and promote responsible global citizenship. WorldTeach offers the benefits of a well-established volunteer organization, while also providing more comprehensive, personalized support and training as a small NGO. Volunteers receive training, language preparation, and field support, empowering them to make an impact that will last long after they leave.

Take a Gap Year or Two (fees may apply)

GapYear.com
Gapyear.com is a social networking and travel advice website committed to providing you with everything you need to know about taking a gap year. We were created by backpackers, for backpackers, and offer expert advice on travelling, volunteering, and working abroad, all tied together with inspirational ideas, opportunities, and products.

GapYear365
Gap Year 365 is a worldwide directory of meaningful travel opportunities including volunteer projects, gap year work, career break ideas, seasonal jobs, teaching projects, working holidays, summer/winter jobs, expeditions, adventure breaks, tours and more. Our guide includes thousands of organizations worldwide covering a broad spectrum from established travel companies to small community based volunteer projects.

Gap Year Handout (HireU → Resource Library → Student Handouts → Gap Year Opportunities)
Examples of International Programs Include:

Additional Resources

The Big Guide to Living and Working Overseas
The BIG Guide has been referred to as “the bible” on how to build international work experience. It contains 43+ chapters including job search chapters, profiles of more than 2,500 organizations that hire personnel for overseas work and more than 1,100 web sites and other resources. Hard copy book and DVD are located in the Career Center library.

Union College’s International Programs Office (IPO)
IPO offers a myriad of opportunities each term (and over winter break!) for students to study and intern abroad (only a limited number of abroad programs offer an internship component). While living and learning abroad, make connections with local students and faculty. Volunteer with area businesses and organizations, and network with local employers. If you are interning abroad, make connections with your supervisor, fellow interns, and co-workers.