Working overseas can be a fantastic opportunity whether as a volunteer or paid employee, however there are certain things to consider and research before you go. On this page, we provide links to useful sources of information to help you with your planning.
International students: If you are an international student returning to your home country or looking for work elesewhere outside the UK, many of the resources on these webpages may be relevant to you. Please also see further specific information on returning home on our International Student pages.
York students have access to GoinGlobal - a comprehensive online resource providing country specific career and employment information, including worldwide internship and job listings; visa and work permit information, company profiles, advice on CV preparation for different countries and much more.
Think about the following questions:
Use the following to research different countries:
Also check the travel and safety advice on:
Casual work is popular with many students and graduates as a way of combining travelling and earning some money. Jobs are often unskilled and can be seasonal. Opportunities exist in the hospitality sector, retail, bars, catering, ski resorts, summer/sports camps and many more. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is another popular choice for many.
An international internship could be an option during the summer or once you have completed your degree. Although internships in the UK should comply with National Minimum Wage legislation (see your rights at work) you will find that some internships and work experience can be unpaid, and some companies charge for their services in arranging the placement, accommodation, visas, etc. So check carefully before committing yourself to anything. You should think about what you want to achieve during your internship and discuss this in detail with your employer. Take as many opportunities to learn about the organisation, make contacts and learn new skills as you can, and think about how the experience and skills you gain can be marketed to future employers.
Sources of international internships/work experience include:
Understanding the graduate job market in the country you want to work in is vital. GoinGlobal (log-in required) has labour market information, CV advice,and some visa information in its country and city guides.
Multinational companies or British based businesses with overseas offices may have opportunities for new graduates although this may be more likely after a period of time working for them in the UK. It is worth contacting the companies you are interested in to see how they recruit to overseas positions or checking their websites. Government departments and NGOs may be another option. It may be you are more likely to find work overseas once you have some relevant experience of the sector and of the country (through vacation work/volunteering, etc.) which will make you attractive to overseas employers.
Sources of graduate vacancies outside the UK include:
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) can be a popular option for graduates, either as a career choice or for a year or two after graduation.
See Prospects EFL teacher profile for information on qualifications, skills required, and TEFL organisations.
Try to get some classroom experience, for example with York Students in Schools, and make the most of opportunities at university to communicate with people from different cultures, on your course, in societies and by taking transcultural communication skills courses with the Writing and Language Skills Centre.
If you want to teach on a short-term basis, a short course (e.g. weekend or distance learning), may be enough. If you want to teach for a year or more, a certificate course may be more appropriate. For a longer term career a diploma or MA is necessary. The country or type of organisation you wish to teach in will also be important when deciding what qualification to aim for. See Trinity College, Cambridge English or the British Council for lists of recognised courses and providers. The Trinity College TESOL and the Cambridge CELTA courses can be studied full or part time in the UK or in many other countries. There are also Cambridge and Trinity qualifications designed specifically for teaching children.
Investigate carefully the conditions and costs involved, including who will pay for travel, accommodation etc, insurance, healthcare and salary, as well as details of the school and support once you are in post.
The British Council recruits language assistants for work in schools overseas.
There are thousands of opportunities available – it is important to find one that matches your values, skills and career aspirations. Again in some cases, for organised volunteering projects it may be that you need to pay for your experience abroad – and whatever you do it’s likely that you will have to cover the costs of your flights/accommodation/food/living costs, etc. while you are overseas. You should take all this into account in your planning to see if it is a realistic option for you. Talking to people who have undertaken similar opportunities in the past is a great way to see beyond the sales talk and understand the reality of the experience.