Written By Monica Page


Study abroad is the ability to explore a new culture while still enrolled in school. Although there are plenty of scholarships and grants to aid students “cross the pond,” it can still be a pain for many to afford the room, board and class credits. Waiting until graduation to go abroad can be a little stressful, but for some that is the only way to go without backpacking. Instead of spending all your money on a plane ticket to the “Old World” with no place to live and sleep, it’s best to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can.

Teach English
Although Mandarin and Cantonese may be gaining ground on the international learning front, English still remains the dominant language of business. When going abroad, it can be pretty easy to find a job teaching English, most likely in an Elementary school. There are two ways in which you can do this: you can obtain a certificate to teach English as a Second Language (most likely at a local college) or you can go abroad with various programs sponsored by international governments (the most well known is probably the JET Programme in Japan). The benefit of teaching English is that even if you don’t like children, you can also make money on the side teaching English to business executives and college students. Many of these side jobs involve no more than just speaking with other people in English for an hour.

HireACane Tip

Check out the following programs recruiting through HireACane!
EPIK (located in South Korea) and People Recruit

Go to a Country Where You Like the Language
Just like the stewardesses on Pan Am, knowing the language of the country you want to go to is very beneficial in survival. Since you are not going as part of a study abroad program, it is safe to assume that you have control over your final destination. If you enjoy Italy, most likely you have studied Italian either in a formal setting or as independent study. Knowing the language not only makes you a more attractive candidate, but it is also a way to improve on skills you have already developed. It is totally possible to go overseas without knowing the language and speaking in Lonely Planet phrases and do-it-yourself sign language, but who wants to be the uneducated American?

HireACane Tip

Established by President Kennedy, the PeaceCorps is a way for Americans to travel and give back to countries in need. Not only does it provide an entrance into a new culture and the ability to change someone’s life, it also provides tuition remission and a paycheck. Check HireACane for updates regarding the PeaceCorps on campus.


Let the Company Pay For Your Relocation
If teaching English to mini-humans isn’t very attractive to you, there is always the option of working for a company that requires travelling or living abroad. Most likely the company pays for any expenses incurred while travelling and also relocation fees. Just like most things in life, after the “honeymoon” period is over, it is up to you to pay for your housing, food and regular expenses. On the topic of money, it is also intelligent to learn the exchange rate overseas. If you work for an American based company and they tell you your salary in U.S. dollars, make sure you figure out the exchange rate. Just because you are making five figures in the land of the stars and stripes does not mean you can live in the same comfort overseas.

HireACane Tip

Many companies allow for the chance to work and travel abroad. Check companies such as IBM, Proctor & Gamble, U.S. Department of State and CIA, all which recruit through HireACane.

Explore The Region You Move To
If you are going all the way to a new country, you may as well enjoy it. Don’t just go back and forth to work every day. For those who do “Teach English” programs the company usually has outing and gatherings for foreign and local workers. Just like moving from high school to college you will make friends and move away from them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep in contact with them when you move back (if you do). Also, make sure you go off the beaten path when exploring your new country. Don’t be the person who goes to Paris and only visits the Eiffel Tower, because that is a total waste of an experience and people will look at you as if you aren’t worthy of traveling.


Become a Flight Attendant
Really, if you don’t want to teach English and don’t want to work for a company overseas, you can always become a flight attendant. I did use Pan Am as the subject matter for this blog post.

HireACane Tip

Log in to HireACane to access Career Insider by Vault’s Guide to access information about flight attendant careers and other traveling based professions. When you are in your HireACane account, scroll down the main page until you see the link to Career Insider.

Going abroad is an opportunity that many people will never have the chance to take advantage of. You can also go when you get older, but who knows what your beliefs and ideas will be then. It’s best to go now while you are thinking about it and, even if it is only for a year or a couple of months, take advantage of what’s available. Plus, we are in a recession and backpacking through Europe is only for people from the ‘90s who had the opportunity to be economically stable and able to take the time off.