Gaining international experience whilst you are a student could make a big difference to your future career plans.

 

Why work abroad?

National and international companies increasingly look for graduates who:

You may be looking for a work placement, internship or vacation work whilst you are a student. You may have the option to study abroad as part of your course, or you may be considering further study in another country after you graduate.

Gaining global experience can enhance your prospects and help develop your skills whilst experiencing other cultures and perspectives.

Do your research

If you are considering working or studying in a different country, it is essential that you do your research beforehand.

As well as understanding how to find opportunities and the application process, you will also need to think about practical issues such as visas, wages and accommodation.

Always check the Foreign Office website before making any decisions about travelling or accepting a position abroad. The site covers a range of issues including insurance, passports, visas, health precautions and advice on the political situation of around 200 countries.

Visit workpermit.com for detailed information on visa requirements worldwide. For travel health information visit fitfortravel.

 

Gain work experience abroad

The following internship and exchange schemes offer UK students the chance to gain work experience abroad:

  • AIESEC (Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales) offers international internships from 6 weeks to 18 months for students and recent graduates.
  • IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) provides science, engineering and applied arts undergraduates with paid relevant work experience abroad.
  • CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) helps students find work in the USA for a fixed time, after which students are required to return.

 

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a popular way to gain experience working abroad. TEFL involves teaching adults and children whose first or main language is not English. Prospects  provides detailed information on TEFL work. For detailed information see Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

Find work opportunities abroad

First of all, take a look at our guide to Organisations Offering European / Global Graduate Training Schemes.

There are also many job boards and vacancy sources which provide information about overseas opportunities. The following are just a few of the more specialist sites that are available:

  • Gradlink includes sections for China, South-East Asia (ASEAN), the Gulf, Canada, Africa, India and Bangladesh. Further country sections will be added in the future.
  • TheCareersGroup - lists graduate jobs, schemes and internships
  • Go abroad - offer internship opportunities worldwide plus TEFL, study and volunteering

Rate my placement is a useful source of information gained from other students who have worked overseas.

You should also look at the job site Indeed. Using the advanced search or Indeed’s country specific sites can help you find worldwide student and graduate opportunities. 

Vacation and gap year work

Overseas projects are often based in the developing world, working with local communities tackling issues around health, social care, education and conservation. Some organisations will pay you to go, others will not cost you much if anything, but some are expensive.

Ensure you fully understand the costs involved and review the employer before accepting a position or making any payments. Seek advice from those who know more about the organisation and speak to the Careers & Employability Service if you are unsure. Many reputable organisations will give you the opportunity to contact a previous participant who will be able to give you first-hand information of their experiences of working with the organisation.

  • Prospects provides detailed information on how to plan and make the most of a gap year.
  • The Gap Year Guide Book offers advice, tips, information and reference tools to help you plan your gap year.
  • STA Travel – find adventure tours, gap year travel, career breaks and volunteer projects.
  • Year Out Group – browse the programmes, countries and organisations that interest you and access the pictures and video from those who have gone before.

Season workers lists summer and winter season opportunities

Opportunities in Europe, the USA and the rest of the world

  • europa.eu – provides information on living, working and studying in the EU. Includes links to Europe Direct, a free phone and email service to answer your questions about the EU.
  • Overseasjobs.com – a jobs database searchable by keyword or location (including Europe).
  • Eurojobs.com – opportunities across Europe.

Do spend time researching the options and the practical issues of working in the USA, including the complex visa requirements. Some well-established programmes for temporary work, including summer camps, are: Camp America, Au Pair America, BUNAC and CCUSA.

Databases and specialist advice for finding opportunities world-wide: mmu.higheredtalent.org, prospects.ac.uk/graduate_job_search.htm, overseasjobs.com and goabroad.com.

Study Abroad

Your course may offer you the opportunity to study abroad as part of the exchange arrangements we have with over 100 partner universities overseas. There are many postgraduate study options available to you. Our further study section provides more information about UK and overseas opportunities.  

 

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