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.
Research and planning
Think about the following questions:
- Be clear about where you want to work, what you want to do and why? Is it to earn money, experience a new culture or start developing an international career? Is it to put off getting a graduate job? Do you want to be based permanently outside the UK or just spend some time working in other countries, as some graduate schemes offer placements outside the UK?
- How much do you actually know about job opportunities in the country you want to work in – are your plans realistic?
- Will you need any additional experience or qualifications?
- Do you have adequate language skills? If not, could you take a course before you leave the UK?
- Can you demonstrate the ability to adapt to a new cultural environment?
- If you are looking for a graduate position, are there really opportunities for UK graduates in the country of your choice or will home graduates be given first consideration?
- Will your qualifications be recognised for the kind of work you want to do?
- Do you understand the recruitment/application process and how it may differ from that in the UK?
- Will you need immigration permission? How much will a visa cost (if required) and how long will your application take? Are there restrictions on the type of work you can take?
- Think about the practicalities: finding somewhere to live, paying rent up front, setting up a bank account, tax/NI issues/health and travel insurance, money for emergencies etc.
Use the following to research different countries:
- Goinglobal country and city guides
- Prospects Working abroad
- TargetJobs Working abroad
- World Links
- HSBC's Expat Explorer report for insights into expat life in cities around the world
- Newspapers and journals can be a useful sources of information and vacancies: www.onlinenewspapers.com
- InterNations global expat network offering advice, country and city guides
- Use the British Chamber of Commerce for a particular country to find links to businesses based there.
- Eures European job mobility portal with country profiles – see Living and Working section.
Also check the travel and safety advice on:
- Travel Health
- Travel Aware - UK government site on keeping safe abroad
- Travel Abroad - including travel advice from the FCO broken down by country
- Safer Travel - travel safety information for young people from Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation
- Safer Jobs - advice to help protect jobseekers, employers and service providers from crime during the recruitment process.
Finding jobs: casual work
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.
You may find vacancies in Careers Gateway, or via our World Links. Vacancy sites for casual work include:
Finding jobs: internships/work experience
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:
Finding jobs: graduate work including teaching
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:
- EURES network linking public employment services across Europe to provide international job centre services; includes sections on job seeking, living and working, and learning
- Graduateland - European careers portal for students and graduates, jobs and virtual careers fairs
- Careerjet employment search engine giving immediate access to over 70,000 jobs websites worldwide
- JobRank lists jobs sites and staffing agencies by country
- iAgora vacancy listings & internships
- GradLink - for information and opportunities: China, ASEAN, Gulf, Europe, Canada, Africa, India
- JET - Japan exchange and teaching programme (JET)
- British Council - language assistants in schools overseas
- GoAbroad.com - teaching jobs and TEFL courses (as well as volunteering and internships abroad)
- Projects Abroad - volunteer teaching (and other) opportunities
- CIEE - paid and volunteer teaching posts in various countries
- Chatteris - teach English in Hong Kong
- Careers Gateway also lists TEFL/Teaching jobs
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.
- Transitions Abroad - articles on volunteering, working and living abroad
- VSO - Voluntary Service Overseas, and their youth volunteering project, ICS, for 18-35 year olds
- Projects Abroad - Global organiser of overseas volunteer work placements
- Original Volunteers - volunteering holidays, short- or long-term in over 20 countries
- Frontier - specialise in community and conservation projects
- GVI – volunteering programmes aligned to the UN sustainable development goals
- International Volunteer HQ - American organisation offering vacation and gap year volunteering projects
- Go Overseas - volunteering and teaching programmes and reviews
- Go Abroad - volunteering and teaching programmes and reviews
- Search Careers Gateway (categories: volunteering and voluntourism)