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The Ultimate Guide to Working Abroad After College

So, you’ve done years of hard work and you’ve finally graduated – congratulations! Now, you’re wondering what’s next. You’re ready to step into the world of work but staying local just doesn’t feel right. Thinking about working abroad after you’ve finished college or graduated? You’ve come to the right place.

In this complete guide, I’m going to share:

  • Where you can find work abroad programs online,
  • What countries are the best or easiest to work in after graduation,
  • What are the most popular jobs for recent grads,
  • How to make the most money working abroad,
  • And a few other FAQs to get you on your way!

Sounds good? Then let’s dive in!

Where Can I Find Work Abroad Programs After College Online?

The fact that you’re here reading this guide is a great place to start. 

It might not sound like the most fun in the world, but you’re definitely going to have to do your homework before you commit to your location or specific work abroad program.

After all, you’re going to be spending a considerable amount of money and time on this program, and in this country – you’ve got to make sure it’s right for you!

There are tons of programs online to help you find work abroad programs online. They range in price, location, and the amount of hands-on support they offer.

Most will offer support in getting a job as well as securing the right visa for your situation. 

Depending on your budget and how comfortable you feel setting yourself up in an entirely new country, some of these programs will be more suitable than others. 

The best way to find which is the right one for you is to look at reviews and read the blogs of people who’ve done it before.

This way you can get an impartial view of what each program is really like.

You might know some people who’ve done it before, or if you Google it, there are tons of reviews available to give you a well-rounded picture. 

Work out what you want out of your work abroad program and use that as a starting point for your research.

Do you want to learn a new language or culture? Do you want to revisit somewhere you’ve been before? Do you want to make a difference? What are you passionate about?

People choose work abroad programs for all different kinds of reasons, work out what your main one is and let that guide your research.

Where Can I Work Abroad After Graduation?

Although, as the saying goes, the world is your oyster, there are some countries that are easier to work abroad in than others.

Particularly if you’re heading out with work abroad programs, there are some classic locations that those companies prefer.

It’s worth mentioning up top that some work abroad locations are more expensive than others.

Before you go setting your heart on a specific location, make sure you know how much you have to spend and how much you’re going to need to save in the meantime. 

For example, spending six months in Central America is going to be a lot cheaper than spending the same amount of time in Australia.

Yes, the wages in Australia are probably going to be higher, but so is the cost of living.

Factor in the cost of things like rent, transport, food, clothing, and going out.

Just like you wouldn’t move to a new, expensive city on a terrible wage, don’t spread yourself too thin by doing the same with your chosen work abroad location. 

Another thing to remember is that work abroad programs tend to have hefty admin and support fees – the kind of fees that go towards sorting your visa out, getting you lined up with a job, and helping you find accommodation.

This convenience doesn’t come cheap, but there are different packages that might be more affordable and viable for your situation. 

The important thing to remember is that people move abroad to work all the time, so if you do have your heart set on one location, in particular, there will probably be a way to make it work for you.

It’s just important to keep finances in mind when making these big adult decisions!

The Best Countries for Working Abroad After College Graduation

1. Australia

First up we have probably the most popular post-grad destination: Australia.

Sydney, Australia
Photo by Unsplash

The work visa rules here mean that it’s a pretty awesome place to work abroad, especially if you’ve got the support of a work abroad company.

If you’re looking for admin work, agriculture-based work, or conservation around the Great Barrier Reef, then you might want to seriously consider heading Down Under.

2. Ireland

Now Ireland might not be everyone’s first thought when considering working abroad, but the Emerald Island has its charms to be sure.

There’s something very special about the famous Irish hospitality, so if a career in the hotel, restaurant, or retail industries sounds interesting to you, then pack your suitcase and jump on a flight to Dublin.

There’s the added bonus that Ireland has great links to the rest of Europe as it’s in the European Union.

So, you can hop on one of the many low-cost flights and enjoy weekends away in Paris, Munich, Budapest, Athens, Tallinn…the list goes on and on!

I‘ve lived abroad for many years and love helping others find work abroad and figure out their “Move Abroad Plan.” Check out my class below to get you started ASAP!

move abroad master class

3. France

Okay, so we’ve all seen Emily in Paris, or at least the memes about it. France is a great place to work abroad and experience a new culture in the romantic heart of Europe.

lavender fields in France
Photo by Unsplash

Although paid placements are few and far between, and if you don’t have a handle on the language you’re going to struggle, there are some amazing internships and placements in France.

From marketing to fashion to law, if you can speak French and have enough savings to support yourself for the duration, France is a great career-based option.

4. New Zealand

Consider yourself as someone with a green thumb? Then maybe it’s time you visited New Zealand.

The Land of the Long White Cloud has long been a favorite with travelers and backpackers, but if you’re looking to jump-start a career in agriculture or horticulture, where better than a country where sheep outnumber people? 

5. Honduras

Are you a sporty person with a passion for spending your days in the water and in the sunshine? If that’s the case, Honduras might just be calling your name.

With some of the best scuba diving in the world, if you want to get trained up and support others with their diving adventures, you could find yourself settling down in this beautiful island paradise.

6. Switzerland

Looking for work abroad that’ll allow you to hit the slopes or enjoy hiking or mountain biking in the gorgeous Alps?

Whether you’re looking to fulfill your chalet life fantasy, test out your resort hospitality chops, or use your silky slope skill to teach others, Switzerland is a playground for those who love the great outdoors.

7. South Korea

If you’re looking to head to Asia, then South Korea is a great shout. With a thriving nightlife scene, great transport links to the rest of Asia, and tons of jobs available for recent graduates, it’s the ideal place to work abroad.

Seoul, South Korea
Photo by Unsplash

There are plenty of office-based jobs available, especially in sales, but the real draw is for English Teachers. South Korea is calling out for more and more young English-speaking grads to come and educate the next generation.

Why not take them up on that offer?

8. Canada

Looking for somewhere a little closer to the US? Head up to the Great White North on one of the many work programs that call Canada home.

From hospitality to ski and snowboard instructors to agriculture, there are a lot of options to choose from.

The majority of the work abroad schemes take place either in the main cities of Toronto or Vancouver, but if you’re looking to enjoy the great outdoors, there are plenty of instructor and seasonal jobs in the ski and hiking resorts.

Enjoy the endless beauty of this vast country and earn some well-needed spending money while you’re there! 

What are the Most Popular Jobs for Recent College Grads Abroad?

As you’ve learned already, there are loads of different jobs that you can try your hand out when working abroad.

That being said, there are some that are more popular than others. Let’s find out which ones are the most popular and why…

English Language Teacher

This will come as no surprise, but one of the most popular work abroad jobs is still as an English Language Teacher.

teach english in china teaching english in beijing
Me teaching English in China (learn more about that here!!)

As recent grads from English-speaking countries, it’s assumed that you have a pretty good grasp of the language – enough at least to teach at a primary or secondary school level. 

Some work abroad programs will train you up with a TEFL or TESOL qualification before you head out to your chosen country and many will help you find accommodations and even pay for your flights! 

Au Pair

Next up we have Au Pairing. This is basically a nanny and sometimes tutor that lives with one specific family.

If you’ve got experience working with children and want to bulk up your resume before applying for teaching or childcare roles, this is a great way to do so.

There’s the added benefit of your accommodation and food being included and there are Au Pair vacancies and work abroad programs all around the world.

Travel Writer

Now, this is a super cool gig if you can get it.

girl typing on computer

Many journalists or creative writing graduates might already have a blog sitting around gathering dust, but there are now programs that will pay you, or at least your expenses, to go out and write about your adventures.

Sounds like a dream right?

For some of these programs, you’ll have to pay upfront for training or to join their network of gigs, as they often work on a freelance basis.

If you have a part-time job and want to earn some extra money, write and travel, this might be an option for you.

Tour Guide

Do you consider yourself a people person? Got a flair for bringing new places to life?

Then maybe becoming a tour guide is for you. Now, this doesn’t mean hanging around in one town showing off the same old touristy sites.

man giving a tour in Berlin

You could be leading multi-location group tours once you’re qualified, meaning you get to see the world, make decent money, and meet plenty of new people along the way.

Big worldwide companies like G Adventures and Intrepid run guided tours all around the world.

Once you’ve gone through their training process, you can apply to one of their many hubs and lead other travelers around new and exciting destinations – sounds perfect, right?


Okay, so this one is kind of specialist and often is listed as an unpaid internship or on a volunteer basis.

That being said, if you’re looking for a career in the sciences, wildlife conservation, or the charity sector, choosing a conservation-based work abroad program can give you the experience you need to beat all the other candidates back home.

Not only that but you can be reassured by the knowledge that you’re making a difference while you’re enjoying your time abroad.

There are plenty of countries and programs running conservation-style projects and some will include basic accommodation and food or they’ll include a small stipend to help you along the way.

If you’re opting for this type of work abroad program, it’s a passion project, not a money-making one.

move abroad starter kit

I Want to Make the Most Money Working Abroad After College that I Can. What Should I Do?

After spending a few years scraping by and living off dorm room ramen, I don’t blame you for going straight to the bottom line.

Recoup some of those savings with one of these better-paying work abroad jobs. 

Teach English

Ask your teachers, the job isn’t easy, that’s why the pay is often better than many other work abroad jobs.

Also, if you’re in a country where English is maybe the third or fourth language, native speakers come at a premium.

Many parents will only send their kids to tutors who are native speakers so that they can get an authentic language learning experience. 

Add into this the fact that many ELT (English Language Teaching) gigs come with accommodation, travel expenses, and even some day trips with the other foreign teachers, you don’t end up spending half of what you earn while you’re out there.

Work on a Cruise Ship

If you’re looking for a way to travel the world, be in a new place every night, and make money while you do so, then consider getting a job on a cruise ship.

It may not be the most glamorous job in the world – at the end of the day being a waiter for a place that has 24-hour service can mean a lot of weird shift hours – but you do get to spend your days off in paradise. 

As you’re on the ship pretty much all the time, you get free accommodation, flights home and back to meet the ship, food, gym passes, and more. 

Become an Au Pair

Speaking of jobs that come with everything included, the reason that Au Pair jobs are some of the most financially savvy isn’t due to the wage itself.

In fact, the average wage for an Au Pair is only $800 a month so it’s not great, but you really don’t have any outgoings while you’re out there.

Your accommodation, food, transport and even some trips with the family are all included so you’re mostly saving everything you earn.

Become an Instructor

If you have a sporting skill of some kind and are either already qualified as an instructor or are willing to put the time and money in, then teaching others can make you some serious money.

girl teaching yoga

Whether it’s surfing, yoga, skiing, diving, climbing, or more, there are always seasonal or resort-based jobs for qualified activity instructors.

Often the resorts or camps will pay for your accommodation and food or help you get set up.

It does depend on which level of qualification you have, your experience, and the country you’re in.

For example, ski instructors can earn anywhere from $12-$70 an hour. It’s a big gap but if you’re even halfway along that scale you’re going to be rolling in it by the end of the season. 

If I Work Abroad After College, Will I Be Behind, or Will This Affect My Career?

So this is a question that I get asked a lot. It’s similar to when you move away for college and a lot of your friends are staying at home.

You might feel like you’re missing out on some things – maybe a great night out or a friend’s engagement or a cool weekend away – but you have to weigh it up against what you are getting instead.

Questioning working abroad because you think you’re going to miss out on stuff at home is natural, but really think about the adventures you’re going to have instead.

You’re going to experience new cultures, countries, and languages.

You’re going to meet a ton of new people that might just become friends for life and hook you up by giving you a place to crash in the future. 

In terms of “Will you be behind?”. Absolutely not.

We’re all working at our own pace. Sure, there are people who want to achieve some major life milestone by a certain date, but if you don’t do that, the world isn’t going to end.

Do what makes you happy and the rest will fall into place. 

You’ll have so many rich memories and experiences that are going to shape who you are as a person moving forward.

In actuality, you’re more likely to be running leagues ahead – traveling the world, striking out on your own and a kick-ass job all straight out of college?

I’d say you’re doing more than okay…

private coaching session

Will Working Abroad After College Ruin My Career?

Honestly, no. A lot of people do ask this and I completely understand why.

After all, we’ve been programmed to jump from one job or school to another, ensuring that there are no gaps in our resume, but this isn’t the big deal you think it is.

So much so that even LinkedIn has an “employment gap” feature where you can add in a gap and either explain it or not. 

Another reason why working abroad after college isn’t going to ruin your career is because you’re not just going off on holiday for a year – you’re actually taking the time and effort to get a job and set up a life in a new country.

Not only is that super brave, but it’s also really resourceful and a lot of employers are going to respect how mature that decision and process really is. 

Fundamentally working abroad is only going to help your career. You’re out there getting paid work and life experience.

Even if you’re not working abroad in the field that you’re wanting to go into when you return home, there will be a lot of transferable skills that you can leverage in your new role.

Also, it’ll make for some super cool ice breakers when you have those awkward team meetings!

You Should Work Abroad After Graduation—it’s a no-brainer!

If you’re still reading this guide, you know exactly what I think – you should absolutely go and work abroad after you graduate.

You’ve earned a bit of adventure in your life! You’re young, go out and make memories – and mistakes.

When you look back in forty years’ time, what are you going to regret not doing? Exactly. 

Look, it’s scary to move to another country – I’ve done it, I know – but it’s also one of the most rewarding things.

And you’re doing it right. You’re here doing your research, finding out what to expect, what you need to know, and what avenues are going to be right for you.

That’s your college education at work right there!

Really, what have you got to lose? It’s a no-brainer.

So, find out what you want to do, where you can afford to go, and get organizing. You’re going to have the best time.

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