Did you miss the last deadline for study abroad? Did you fall in love with the study abroad experience and can’t wait to jump on the first plane headed out of the country? Are you graduating but don’t feel quite ready for serious adult life and the corporate grind? Are you headed into law school or med school but need a breath of fresh air before you dive into exams again? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the following ideas might be of interest to you. There are many options to continue having experiences abroad after graduation; the following are some of the most popular choices of recent grads:
1) Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
Offering many opportunities around the world without a requirement for professional fluency in another language, teaching English remains the most popular choice for foreigners working abroad. Qualified and experienced teachers not only learn a new language and culture, but can also earn enough to start paying back student loans! Demand for teachers has risen in Asia in the Middle East, with Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and China as the most popular locations. An American or UK passport can be enough qualification for teaching in some countries, but a TEFL certification will make it easier to find better paying work. You can use this website for a list of possible courses. There’s a variety of online and in-class courses; prices vary wildly. The upfront cost of the course is high, but the investment has a short payback period. It’s also possible to get the certification through UT!
2) Peace Corps
Do you have a love of service, a desire to help communities around the world, and to foster world peace and friendship? Are you looking for a challenging but rewarding experience? If so, the Peace Corps might be the next step for you! Peace Corps Volunteers serve for two years in a community working on projects related to their area of expertise, often in the most underdeveloped regions of the world. Since language is crucial to integration within a community and cultural exchange, and Volunteers do months of intensive study to reach fluency. As employees of the United States government, Volunteers are held to the highest standards and are expected to uphold the core values of the organization. Check out the Peace Corps website for upcoming opportunities; there are rolling applications all year long. You can also contact the UT Peace Corps recruiter and see the list of upcoming events around campus.
Working abroad can be difficult, but volunteering opportunities around the globe abound. It’s possible to go for as little as a week and as much as several months in a single location. There are many organizations that charge thousands of dollars to unsuspecting volunteers with good intentions, but there are cheaper and more direct ways to donate your time and skills. For a small one-time fee, these following two organizations provide a wealth of volunteer opportunities all around the world. WWOOF focuses on organic farming around the world, while Workaway offers work ranging from chocolate making in the jungles of Ecuador to teaching English to children in China. The fee allows you to contact the different hosts, who usually offer food and housing in exchange for several hours of work per week. Volunteering is a great way to get to know people from all over the world and get an insight into the local culture that often escapes tourists. It’s also a fantastic way to get to know the world on a budget.
4) Working Holiday visa
Thinking about a gap year halfway across the world, but you don’t enough savings to live for twelve months? A working holiday visa in New Zealand or Singapore might be the answer. This special agreement between the United States and five other countries allows college graduates to spend up to a year abroad, working and visiting. The United States has a partnership with New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Ireland, and South Korea. See the following website that has a great guide on working holiday visas and how to apply for one.
5) Be creative!
Church mission trips, crowdfunding, being an au pair, working on a cruise ship, travel blogging, working at an embassy, couchsurfing, international house exchanges, graduate school abroad, starting a new language course, joining an international club in the community, volunteering to teach English in an immigrant organization, conversation circles with expats… the opportunities to add an international edge to your life are endless with some creativity and determination!