Jobs After College: Avoid a Desk Job, Travel and Make Money

The pressure finding jobs after college

If you’ve studied abroad, chances are you’d go back overseas in a heart beat. But our work-driven society doesn’t always encourage taking time off to travel after graduation. With four years hard work (and thousands of tuition dollars under your belt) getting a job seems essential. But, in today’s globalizing workforce, despite what you might think, most American employers won’t devalue resumes with work experience gained abroad. So why not combine your desire to travel and become an expat with an entry level job or internship?

Though moving abroad involves risk (turning down American jobs or moving abroad on your savings) it could be worth it for your career. Many graduating students take an American job with the intent to return overseas, but few actually do. Don’t let that be you. If travel really is important to you, but you feel the pressure to work and advance your career too, here are a few resources to get your post-grad expat search started. And don’t forget, you can also further your education while you travel. Learn more about online MBA degree programs.

Job Opportunities Abroad

Short and Long Term: For the graduate who needs a work visa is a jumping off point to learn about working abroad. Every country has different visa rules so whether you want to continue with your studies, take an internship, find work experience or an entry level job, this should be your go-to resource. Not only can you find expert advice, first-hand experiences, and practical resources for summer work, but the site extends to year-long and multiple-year opportunities for students, freelancers, and professionals. Plus, Transitions Abroad offers advice on logistics and paperwork that come with travel: visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, health insurance–everything you should square away before you leave. specializes in getting young people abroad. The USA offers two main categories of visas: a tourist visa (good in most countries for up to 90 days), and student/work visas. This program is probably the easiest, best legal way to get to the United Kingdom. Unfortunately some countries like the UK require tough criteria to enter on a work visa: you must obtain a work visa before you enter the country, meaning you can’t legally move there and find work afterward. To get a work visa, you have to find a UK employer to sponsor you to work for them. This potential employer must present a case to the British embassy in the US proving there are no other European Union citizens qualified for the job, before they can offer an American the job. As you can see, it’d be difficult for Americans to organize this from the US.  But, for a fee,  BUNAC offers a temporary visa (up to 6 months) with which you can enter the UK to find a job or internship legally, rather than entering the UK on a tourist visa and trying to find work, illegally. BUNAC also offers message boards, on the ground job support, and career services aid so chances of placement are high, if you’re willing to pay the fee (roughly $750 for the UK).

Take a Working Holiday Overseas

For the graduate looking to work part-time, travel part-time

Working holidays mean you spend an extended period of time in a country, (typically six months to a year) where you work part of the year earning and saving, and travel the other part of the year. So you might work one job for two months, travel for two months, find another job for two months, and so on. Countries that offer a working holiday include UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Italy, Malta, Cyprus, Canada, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia. It’s a great way to get experience in your selected work field, travel and live abroad all at once. is a working holiday program offered by the Australian government that focuses on the agricultural and farming industries in Australia. However, work on VisitOz isn’t limited to farming. VisitOz offers placement in teaching, medicine, carpentry, childcare and more. VisitOz also offers work placement for people who can’t score a work visa, so if a tourist visa is the best you can do, no worries here.

WOOF Organic Farming

For the undecided graduate who wants to see the world, at almost no cost (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) isn’t a paid opportunity, but it’s a labor exchange for undecided graduates who want to take time off before starting a career. Organic farms worldwide offer free room and board for a few hours of labor per day. If you’re backpacking and interested in saving money on accommodations and food (two of the biggest travel expenses), consider WWOOF-ing. The WWOOF network started in the UK in 1971 and it’s part of a global initiative that supports organic living. There is a small, one-time fee for WWOOFers to access the organic farm listings. This fee supports the network, but once you’ve paid you’re in.

Teach English Abroad: Paid

For the graduate who wants valuable work experience. Period.

Teaching English abroad is another way to make money and gain valuable general experience applicable to most careers. Whether you majored in engineering, journalism or the culinary arts, most American employers appreciate the intrinsic values of teaching in a foreign country, making your reentry to the US workforce smooth. To teach English, you can either complete a course to get your TESOL (teach English to speakers of other languages) certification or a TEFL (teach English as a foreign language) certification. These typically can cost anywhere from $1,000-1,200 dollars and most require an online or classroom portion and a practical portion. Or you can apply for a program hosted by the home country, and you’ll most likely get a visa through their embassy here in the US.

There are hundreds of teach English as a second language websites out there so be judicious about paying extra fees. Once you have your certification, you should be certified to move abroad and start teaching. Programs should aid you in applying for visas. Some schools in some countries will pay your travel expenses to get there (the Asian market is renowned for this). Be sure that the program you go with has reliable, on the ground resources to actually help you find a teaching job once you’ve shelled out all the money for the certification. Once you’re certified, you’re certified for life so if you decide to return abroad again in ten years to teach English, you’ll always have a possible source of income no matter where you live.

Try sites like:

Volunteer Jobs Abroad

Volunteering abroad sounds great, until you start researching it. Giving back to the global community gives a trip a positive purpose, but you’ll find that most volunteer companies charge you thousands of dollars for just a few is a good place to begin researching if you can afford a trip like this. However, a word of caution: Be smart and choose wisely before you sign up for a volunteer program. Research exactly where your money will go if you have to pay a fee. Some companies put the bulk of the fee toward their employee’ salaries. You want your fee to go toward building materials, textbooks, fresh water, and health care. After all, that’s why you’re going, right? is a grassroots volunteer program that now works in villages in Kenya, India, Ghana, Nepal and Belize. It’s strictly non-profit organization that works in partnership with rural village and capacity-building programs to support the development of sustainable solutions for community survival, education, and growth. And though you do have to pay a fee, it’s generally cheaper than most volunteer abroad programs because most (if not all) of the money goes toward the cause.

Find Jobs Abroad

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