The Best Jobs for Working Overseas


There are many opportunities for working overseas. Many of these opportunities are for humanitarian causes, but there is also a wide variety of positions for skilled workers and government employees abroad. Knowing a language other than English will add significantly to your appeal for overseas jobs but it's not always necessary.

The U.S. Department of State

  • The United States Department of State is the best resource to consult for U.S. citizens looking to gain employment abroad. In addition to the standard routes of Foreign Service and Civil Service posiitons, the State Department also has student programs in place for young professionals to gain experience in diplomatic and related affairs abroad. The Department of State currently has a web-based career application process, so to get started, just visit the Careers section of the site.

ESL Teacher

  • If you are a native English speaker, there are hundreds of opportunities all over the world for you to teach English. ESL stands for "English as a second language," and other commonly used acronyms include ESOL (English to speakers of other languages) and EFL (English as a foreign language). If you are a student, contact your university's career services office for programs that take recent graduates. ESL teachers usually don't need any knowledge of their destination country's language to qualify. Many programs offer a certification class upon arrival that will prepare you to teach, in addition to helping you find or providing housing.

Internal Transfer

  • If you work for a multinational company, contact your human resources department for more information on transfers to international offices. Do your research: it will help your petition for an international transfer if you have a particular job in mind. Find out whether any of the international branches have job gaps that your skills and experience could fill. Since you already work for the company, you have a good "in," so make sure to keep your working relationships positive and impress your supervisors. Arrange to have a meeting, either via video chat or in person, with a contact at the international office where you would like to work, and approach the meeting as you would any other job interview.

United States Peace Corps

  • The U.S. Peace Corps is a great opportunity to spend time working abroad. Volunteers commit to work for two years in a community in one of several locations throughout the world, and receive a monthly stipend that will let them enjoy the same standard of living as the residents where they are posted. The application process is highly competitive, so it's a good idea to spend a few months volunteering with an organization that can write you an excellent reference letter beforehand. The Peace Corps will match your skill set with the needs of the partner countries. You may not be able to choose where you go, but your language skills will be taken under consideration.

Global Health Corps

  • A smaller and more specialized alternative to the Peace Corps, the Global Health Corps is an initiative spearheaded by Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of the global health nonprofit Partners in Health. Also competitive, the Global Health Corps offers paid year-long fellowships to qualified applicants in the field of public health, with posts in the United States and in Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, and Uganda. Each U.S. fellow is partnered with a fellow from the destination country to work together to improve various public health programs for the local community. The Global Health Corps does not require applicants to have any background in public health, but relevant skills and a commitment to public health will be taken into account.

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