Working Abroad


Working Abroad - What You Need to Know

From time to time, many of us get the desire to take a trip and see the world.  There are clearly many ways that one can fulfill this desire.  Most of us will take a vacation, while others might even pick up and move to another country altogether.  Yet, somewhere in the middle is the decision to work abroad.  Working aboard most definitely affords you the opportunity to learn about another culture. Visiting a far off place simply cannot deliver the experience of working in the community.

By working overseas, you really get to experience what life is like in another place.  Forget wandering around and taking a few pictures here and there.  When you are working overseas, you will be engaged in a deep level of interaction with the people of that country.  In the process of working abroad, you will dive into its culture in a fashion that is difficult to achieve in any other way.  Even living in a country may not provide you with the same level of insight as working day in and day out with inhabitants of another land.  Another way of looking at it is that by working overseas, you are receiving something of a crash course in that country’s customs and ways of living.  In short, working abroad is a way to learn about a place and its people.  You will gain valuable knowledge and insight in the process.  Are you ready to pack your bags and find a job abroad?  Read on for more information.


The Basics On Working Abroad: Passports, Visas and Work Permits

Some of the points that you need to consider before working abroad may seem like common sense. However, in all of the excitement of working overseas and living abroad, it may be easy to forget some obvious points.  The first point is to make sure that you know as much as you can about the country, in which you will be living and working overseas.  Remember that you are a guest and as such you should behave accordingly.  Take some time and learn about the local history, customs and ways of behavior.  Not all places are the same and what might seem like a small thing to you, may be rather offensive to someone in another country. 

It is critical that you contact the appropriate embassy well in advance of your trip to make sure that you have your Visa requirements met to go work overseas.  Also it is important to keep in mind that you will also need to have any work permit issues worked out.  In many ways this is the single most important step.  If you fail to work out your visa and work permit issues, well, no trip for you.  Period.  For example, if you were planning to get a work permit in the UK, you would need to contact the UK’s consulate.  A list of all the consulates for different countries and their contact information is located at

While on the topic of travel requirements, make sure that you have your passport.  If you don’t have a passport, it is so important that you should put it at the top of your list of things to do before you can even go overseas to start a new career abroad.  If you are an American, you can find out more information at the US Department of State’s website:  Again, do not put off getting your passport.  A great, super, amazing new job overseas could come open to you immediately. Yet, without a passport, you could miss out on this opportunity.  For this reason it is key that you have your passport, visa and work permit issues worked out well in advance.  Don’t neglect this point!

Applying for a US Passport

Ehow: How to File for a Work Visa

List of State Departments to Contact for Visas

Have Your Contracts Ready

Having your important contacts both for the country you are visiting as well for your home country are key when going to work abroad.  Just in case something goes wrong, you want to know where you can turn to and how.  Few things are worse than feeling lost in a far away land, especially if you don’t know many people or can’t fluently speak the language.

Network In Advance

Networking well in advance is a great idea for anyone who is looking to work abroad.  The value of networking in finding a job domestically can’t be overstated, and the same holds true for finding a job abroad as well.  Social networking via the Internet has made what was once very difficult, networking with people on the other side of the planet, shockingly easy.  If you are thinking about working overseas in Spain or Japan, why not try and make some virtual friends there.  Besides, you might already have some virtual foreign friends that you engage with via online gaming or gaming forums.


In all the excitement, don’t forget that you will need to sleep somewhere.  With this in mind, it makes good sense to think about where you are going to live once you’ve landed that new job overseas.  Finding an apartment or other short term living situation can be very tricky even when you are in your hometown, much less on the other side of the world, especially when your main focus is probably your new career overseas.  The best way to handle this situation is to line up as many prospective possibilities as you can via housing rental sites and then take a trip to pick out a candidate.  Clearly, the best time to do this is if you are called in for an interview for an overseas job and must travel to the country.

Insurance Is Usually A Good Idea

Yes, you will be very busy working abroad and maybe even partying while you are working overseas, but that doesn’t mean that you will be immune to all disease and the occasional car accident or fall.  With this in mind, it only makes common sense to look into insurance for when you are traveling.  Companies such as are able to provide insurance for everything ranging from medical and dental, to accident insurance.

You can also find a wide variety of similar travel tips at the US Department of State website located at This website has other links to assist you in case of emergency.


Tips for Traveling Abroad

Guides and Translators Can Be A Big Help

One way to make your life a little easier may be to hire a guide or translator when you first arrive in the country where you will be starting your new career overseas.  Even if you speak the native language, having a guide who can take you around and show you the spots may be worth every penny.  Keep in mind that crime exists everywhere. A local will be able to tip you off as to what areas may have higher crime rates than others.

Job Sites Can Provide Many Options

For those looking to work overseas, diving into the various job sites makes fantastic sense.  Many job sites are global in nature and provide job listings from all over the world., Yahoo!, HotJobs and are some examples of sites that provide a detailed and helpful way of looking for jobs overseas, in dozens of countries. 

Knowing what kind of job you are looking for and in what country is most definitely part of the battle.  Don’t be afraid to try out sites like LinkedIn as a potential job resource.  LinkedIn can be a great place to meet networking business people and executives living all around the world.  Let these new connections know that you are looking for a job and are interested in working abroad or, if applicable, even in their country.  While other social networking sites may get all the press clippings, LinkedIn has millions of users.  Many of these users see social networking as a serious business networking platform and not a place to post pictures of their dog wearing flower hats.  Approaching social networking from a more business and professional oriented direction may open up some great new doors and opportunities.

Job Sites

Yahoo! Hot Jobs


If you are interested in teaching English abroad, a whole new array of possibilities will open up to you.  Many countries are looking for Native English speakers to come work abroad, and teach English to their students. Three websites that cater exclusively to helping people find jobs overseas, teaching English in other countries are:

Working Abroad Job Sites


US News and World Reports Jobs Abroad


ESLjob project

Other Networking and Job Options

Another way of approaching networking is to contact any relevant trade associations, chambers of commerce or similar type of organizations in the country that you are interested in working.  Often these organizations will be loaded down with relevant information.  After all, that is their job.

It is common that people will sometimes forget about job placement agencies when looking for jobs overseas.  But as it turns out this can be a great way to find a job.  Job placement agencies are increasingly global in their reach.

Learn and Have Fun

Much of the value of working aboard is that you can have fun learning about a new culture.  While your work should come first remember that, for most, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Take this opportunity to get as much local flavor and learn as much about the country you are living in as possible. 

The entire working abroad experience will also give you very valuable selling points to add to your future resume.  Keep in mind how you can best spend your time in your host country to build up your resume, and make yourself the utmost attractive to potential overseas employers.  In this way, any money that you spend on travel or other expenses will be an investment in you and your future!