Working abroad is a great way to see the world. It offers many advantages you cannot find as a tourist. You can practically go anywhere for as long as you want, live with the people as they live and in turn have a unique opportunity to understand the culture and many other aspects of the country and region, and among other reasons it can simply be an amazing experience. It has been that kind of experience for me since I began this trip a year ago. Working from country to country has made my trip much more interesting, but also more challenging. It is not easy to find work but it can be done. In this article I will write as much useful info as I can think of, and hopefully it might be of some use to you.
The approach to finding work
I am not a person that believes too much in structure and rules, I do believe in flexibility and imagination. Thinking of going to a certain country to work can become a huge and complicated puzzle in your head. What will I do? Where will I work? Where to look? Adding the fact that most countries don’t speak your language, lack internet job resources, and require work visas just adds to the puzzle. Our trips are all different and we have different interests. As for me I work from country to country, before my work is finished in one spot I start looking for my next one. I do all sort of work and mostly find them on the web. It is definitely not easy but I get it done. Is there a thought process to this? Or a step by step approach to finding work? No. Maybe for some people, as for me you have to be creative. Many countries and different types of employment will require different approaches. In no particular order, you will have to decide of course where you will go, what kind of work you can do, and for how long. Like any other work you will also have to sell your salad, as my parents say, in other words sell yourself. Prepare a good and interesting resume. Then comes the tough part. How to find jobs. If your destination is not nearby then your best bet will most likely be the internet. The amount of information on the web as we all know is huge, and you can quickly get lost in it. I have spent entire days, nights, and weeks researching work resources online. One of my biggest expenditures is the internet. You must find resources that are relevant to the work you are looking for.
Useful jobs resources on the web
This is a great site to find all sort of work from all over the world
Another great site for all sort of traveling info. Includes a huge section that will link you to job resources for individual countries and regions
Find resort jobs
Find English teaching jobs all over the world
Through the web, sites, and resources you can find jobs and companies. Then you must e-mail. My theory is to e-mail as much as possible, I have send hundreds of messages in one day. Write a good letter then copy, paste, and send. Do it until you can’t anymore. It works.
Most jobs in most countries require work visas. Do your research as early as possible. In some countries it is easy to get visas, in others it isn’t. For example I found a job in Russia on the web and less than two weeks later I had my work visa. It also possible to work without any permits. Many people just enter the country and find work once inside, maybe you will only need a visitor visa. That is your decision. Just remember anything is possible and there are lots of different jobs out there.
Working holiday maker
If you are a citizen of a country that is part of the Commonwealth, that includes Canada, the UK, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, and I believe under 25 years old, then you are eligible for a visa that will allow you to travel and work in the other Commonwealth countries. For example I have a two year visa that allows me to work full time anywhere in the United Kingdom. Check with your local embassy or consulate.
There are many different types of work out there, and of course I won’t be able to write about all possibilities. I can only write of what I know through my experience so far. I will not cover professional positions, if you fit in one of those you will have to research in your specific field. I will instead write about jobs that allow travelers to travel, and often even make money.
Teaching your native language
One of the most popular ones is to teach your native language. Even if you are not a certified teacher there are many jobs out there, you just have to find them. If you have any language certificate, such as TEFL, then it will be much easier. You can practically teach anywhere in the world. For example I am a French Canadian with no certificate, I taught English in both England and Russia, and recently I have had an offer to teach in Italy. I have had several offers across Europe on this trip. Where did I find these jobs? All through the web. It only took several days to find online resources on teaching English abroad, then it was just a matter of e-mailing hundreds of e-mails all over Europe. Within days I had several offers.
Where to look on the web: go to search engines and directories and look up TEFL and ESL, add in work and international maybe, yahoo has a great list of TEFL and ESL sites, go to tefl.com
Advice: I found most schools want you to stay for half a year to one year, but no matter what you hear there are jobs out there that will offer you short term work. I worked for three months in Russia, and was offered one month in Italy.
My opinion: I enjoyed teaching English for the fact it was interesting at first, a challenge for me, but most of all because it gave me a chance to work in Russia. Personally I think it’s boring work, but it can pay ok comparing to other available employment. In the end for most travelers it is a popular option.
Web design and other IT jobs
I am slowly finding out that these jobs can be useful for travelers. If you are good with computers, the web, and any sort of programming, then I believe you can find interesting and good paying jobs in these fields. Recently just by e-mailing places I was offered positions as a web designer in eastern Europe. I taught myself web design through designing personal sites and reading several books, now I am thankful for this. Anybody can learn this stuff through hard work. If you speak English and even better the local language than it will be easier. This will be my favorite choice of work for the rest of my trip.
Where to look on the web: I am new to finding such work. Major online job resources should be of help. I am sure there are sites that publicize international work in these fields as well. So far I have used search engines to find design companies in specific areas, and it quickly worked.
Advice: Study hard, practice, and you will find opportunities in this new booming industry. Remember this is new territory, years ago people didn’t study for this, now is the chance to take advantage of it. In the end it will diversify your background.
Construction work I think can be some of the easiest work to find. However I have only done it in the UK, but imagine it would be pretty easy to find anywhere else. It’s not the most enjoyable work and I am not sure of the pay in most countries, but it is there as an option. I now keep it as a backup plan. If I am in a country and can’t find any work, then I turn to this. In the UK the pay was fair, higher than that of bartending or working in a restaurant. It might be boring but you will most likely get a workout out of it.
Where to look: there are online sites that advertise construction work throughout the world. So far I have only met companies face to face, in the UK I could find laboring work in several days.
Advice: you will most likely have to buy work boots, maybe even a hard hat.
Bartending can be fun. If you speak the local language, are social, find a good place, and like the atmosphere, then this could be a good job. It is popular work in the UK. Many places offer free board in return for full time work. In England these jobs are fairly easy to find. I just went from one place to the next, I could sometimes find work in one day. That of course might not apply to other places. Take note of this though, I found many places that offered free board payed little if you calculated what you get for what you work. I worked for higher paying places, and lived in a hostel, which in turn I made higher profits. If you are a commonwealth citizen traveling in the UK this is a popular choice.
Where to look: maybe on the web but I am not sure. I just met them face to face.
Advice: I had several such jobs in Oxford, England. All except one were bad jobs, it was still fun though. Make sure you pick a good place.
Wouldn’t it be fun to work in the sun on a beach resort in some tropical country. Many of us would love to do this sort of work. So why not? There are endless numbers of great resorts all over the world, and they need people to make the place work. From bartending, to cleaning, to entertainers there is work available. If you speak several languages than that is to your advantage. Just pick the place you want to go and contact all the resort companies you can find.
Where to look on the web: go to resortjobs.com and overseasjobs.com . I’m sure there are other sites out there, but these are a good start.
Advice: Stop imagining it and get on it, these jobs are out there.
Thanks to Lisa at Village Camps in Switzerland, where I worked as a ski instructor, I now know about cruise jobs. I had never heard about them before, but it sounds pretty good. Cruise ships operate in international waters, so you don’t need any work permit. That’s what I was told anyway. There are many types of work that can be found on these ships, and supposedly the pay is pretty good. I was also told that Marseille and Nice in France are two popular launching ports to find such work.
Where to look on the web: go to resortjobs.com . Also contact cruise ship companies.
Advice: I was told to make sure you find a good job. Supposedly people either love it or hate it, in any case if you do some good researching you will most likely find work that would be interesting.
Another popular option with travelers is to work in a hostel. Plentiful all over the world, and always situated in all popular areas, working in a hostel might be useful for you. I am not sure what the pay is like, if they pay at all. I worked for an independent backpackers hostel in Oxford, England and was not paid. I cleaned only several hours a day, 5-6 days a week, in turn I got free board. It actually worked out well. Other work out there would usually pay better, but this could be a useful option.
Where to look: face to face. You might find such jobs on the web or by e-mailing the hostels directly.
Advice: if you will try and find such work by visiting these places, it would be beneficial to contact them early. You can expect travelers might be waiting in line on such jobs in certain hostels.
You can pick a location and then contact all the hotels you can find. Most hotels offer many different types of employment. Knowing English would be useful, knowing several languages would help even more of course.
Where to look on the web: maybe at www.resortjobs.com and www.overseasjobs.com . You can just e-mail all the hotel companies you want. You can also research which hotel chains are from your home country, they might be able to offer you employment.
Restaurant work, cleaning, working with children, taking care of people, translator, activities director for school programs or summer programs.
Many people have told me that I am very lucky to be doing what I am doing. I am a little lucky that’s true, but I am also making this whole thing happen through a lot of work. Perseverance is the key to making such a trip happen. It can be achieved by anyone else out there. The question is are you ready to do this. If you are already in your travels then good luck and I hope this might be of some use. If you are thinking of doing such a trip then I hope this will help you as well. If you have any questions please e-mail me.