Recent Grads: Should You Look for Jobs Abroad?
For recent graduates, the job outlook is undeniably grim. Depending on who you ask, unemployment rates for those under 25 are as high as 54%—and students are struggling under mountains of debt and scrambling for health insurance coverage while they look for jobs.
If that sounds like your life right now, your options may be limited. You can spend time volunteering or taking unpaid internships in the hope that you’ll make connections that will lead to a new job. You can go back to school and earn an advanced degree—meanwhile putting yourself in more debt. And you can move back in with Mom and Dad while you figure everything out.
Or you can try to find a job abroad. It’s possible that your skills and background are needed in another country—one with a better job market than what we have in the US right now. But is this realistic—or even possible? Here’s a look at your options—and things to consider.
Teaching English abroad
It’s not easy these days for recent grads to find good jobs. For some, there are exponential rewards for those who broaden their search horizons to include work opportunities in other countries.
Hiring an international placement firm
You can hire a company that specializes in placing recent graduates and college students with international internships. These services come with a big fee, however—approximately $5,000 to $8,000. The amount you’ll pay depends on where you’re going, and usually covers housing, help with work-visa issues, insurance, orientation, and other assistance while you’re abroad. It’s an expensive option, but it can be worth it for some.
Volunteering with the Peace Corps
In the Peace Corps, you could find yourself doing a wide variety of tasks—from building houses to teaching school---in a wide variety of countries. Even though it’s volunteer, however, the organization supports its staff financially. As a Peace Corps volunteer, you get your living and housing expenses covered, as well as your travel expenses to and from the country where you’ll be serving. After 27 months of service, you’re paid $7,425 to ease your transition back to the working world. You even get vacation time—48 days over a period of two years. Even better, you can defer your federal student loans while you’re away—and possibly some of your private loans, too. Those with Perkins loans may be eligible for partial cancellation.
Look into an international exchange facilitation program
Not all programs charge huge fees to place you. For example, AIESEC is a student-run organization that works to set up international work exchanges for students and recent graduates. There is a fee, but it’s more in the hundreds range than the thousands.
It’s not easy these days for recent grads to find good jobs. For some, there are exponential rewards for those who broaden their search horizons to include work opportunities in other countries. In some industries, there are more opportunities outside the States than inside.
BusinessWeek: Interns Head Abroad for Work Experience
NY Times: Once Again: Is College Worth It?
NYTimes: Many With New College Degree Find the Job Market Humbling
Time Newsfeed: 85% of New College Grads Move Back In with Mom and Dad
The California Aggie: Seniors Head Overseas to Teach English
BusinessWeek: Seeking Opportunities Abroad
BrazenCareerist: How to Work Abroad After College
More About Starting Your Career
- Stick With Your Job or Earn a Degree? Questions to Ask
- Six Things You Can Do With a Ph.D. (Instead of Becoming a Professor)
- Changing Careers? How to Navigate a Smooth Transition
- Don't Have a Passion? How to Tell If a Career is Right For You
- How to De-Militarize Your Resume
- Didn't Major in Education? No Problem. How to Become a Teacher Anyway
- How to Build Your Professional Network in an Online Classroom
- What Can You Do With a Degree in Public Administration?