What kind of career can a person pursue if they want to work internationally?
I am a senior in high school who wants to work internationally when I get out of college. However, I'm not sure what kind of careers are out there that I can potentially pursue when I am out of college. #international #international-relations
- Work for the government (Ex: State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, USAID, US Army analyst)
- International Development consulting (Ex: Dalberg, Technoserve, Chemonics)
- Peace Corps
- International Foundations (Ex: Cherie Blair Foundation for Women)
This answer is a "community wiki" answer, so anyone can edit it to add to the list!
Here are some ideas to explore:
- Work for a government organization in international aid or development
- Teach english abroad
- Work at an international non-government organization (for example: Doctors without Borders)
- Work at a company in the travel / leisure industry like a hotel, airline, etc.
- Become a photographer (Warning: requires talent)
- Work for a management consulting firm
When you're in college, study abroad!
If you study a language where the country has a lack of native English speakers, you can really have any career you want in that country. Your key skill will be speaking native English, and you can adapt to the other needs of the job. Since English is a/the de facto international language, being an American qualifies you to try out a whole bunch of things in other nations, as long as they need native English speakers for their business.
Group travel companies like EF Tours and Road Scholar employ people to oversee the trip while its taking place. You make sure everyone has their tickets, gets on and off the bus, keys for hotel rooms, and things like that. You could get paid AND have all of your expenses covered while you see the world.
Also international hospitality companies will often bring in specialized teams to open new locations. So, say a restaurant is opening a new location in a foreign country. They want to make sure the restaurant is opened the right way, so they bring in a team that is specially trained in opening the new location, training staff, and making sure everything goes smoothly. Once the restaurant is past the initial breaking in stage, the crew moves on to the next location.
Also, as far as education goes, degrees in easily transferable skills are most valuable when thinking about international work. Accounting, for example, is valuable all over the world. Lots of international companies need work done at their global locations, and they benefit from having someone who knows their way of doing this travel around the world and make sure everything is running smoothly.
Two things come to mind off the top of my head.
1) Teach english abroad. While this is a great way to travel & work internationally, I've heard that this isn't necessarily the greatest 'long term' option.
2) Work in the Hospitality industry (Hotels, travel, etc). Working for a larger reputable Hotel chain can give you many opportunities to work abroad. Not only to you get to travel/work/live internationally, but there are also tremendous opportunities for growth in this industry, as most of these companies promote from within the organization.
Seconding the study-abroad recommendation. It's often paid for and there are additional scholarships (like the Gilman) to make sure you can explore. Use study-abroad to help you decide what sort of international lifestyle you want, because you have a few options.
- Work abroad in one place, permanently (ex: move to South Korea and teach English).
- Work abroad in many places, with a job that lets you move around (ex: buy textiles, or be a nurse on a hospital ship).
- Work abroad part time (this is what I do) (ex: many freelance jobs will let you work remotely so you can move to warm climates for Winter).
- Work in the U.S. and travel occasionally for work (ex: consultants for McKinsey travel to meet clients).
- Work in the U.S. and travel in your free time (ex: some school employees get summers off).
Choosing the lifestyle you want is more important than the particular job. For example, if you want #2, there are thousand of jobs that pay you to travel long-term in many places.
So, study-abroad, explore a bit, and figure out how you want to live. Then find a way to earn money that fits your lifestyle.
With the world so connected today, you can choose almost any career path to work internationally. The ones listed here already (teach English, work for travel companies, Peace Corps, etc) are the most direct ways. But every country has needs for the same professions that are available in the US.
While it's not necessary, learning the language of the country you wish to work in will significantly increase your chances of being able to work in that country. Being bi-lingual is very valuable, especially for multinational corporations which operate in multiple countries. My advice is to pursue whatever career you have the most passion for first and foremost. Second, if possible, study abroad in the country you'd like to work in (as also mentioned already), learn the language/culture from there and see if its a right fit for you. If so, continue learning the language. I can't emphasize enough how much more of an advantage you would have over other job candidates if you were bilingual.
I can go on longer about this topic, but I think that's the best advice that I have. If you have more questions, I'd be happy to answer any more.
It also depends on whether you want to stay in a certain area out of the country, or if you want to work while traveling internationally as well. There have been many great answers provided for the former, so I will add on in terms of the latter option.
If being able to work internationally while traveling is what you're looking for, you would want to develop your skills in as many languages as possible. Try to pick the languages that are widely used in terms of population and locations in different areas of the world. This will open you up to opportunities such as being an Professional Translator, which is often required in courts and cultural events. Working with airlines also allow you to travel often, such as Pilots and Flight Attendants.
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Learn languages! My whole career happens to circle around languages - and it has brought me around the world that way. Though often it may be sufficient to only speak English it helps if you know another language good enough to converse and you surely should know the culture of the countries you would like to work in.
These days most companies have international ties so it may not matter much in what area you work. The chances to go abroad may be higher in multi-national companies that can transfer you to another office.
I have had friends take part in the Working Holiday visa in Australia. This allows you to enter the country but to also work (there are some limitations on the durations and type of employers). It is a great way to make some money, meet new people and travel. There are other countries that offer similar programs too.