Working or volunteering abroad is a wonderful way to grow your cultural competencies and knowledge of other cultures’ traditions and social norms. However, searching for a position in another country can be a challenging experience. There are many factors to consider: paid versus volunteer positions, lodging, travel, travel insurance, visa status, employment laws/regulations in the country you are visiting, social norms/customs, vaccinations and health conditions, culture shock and homesickness, in-country transportation, work and internship contracts and agreements, and so forth. There are several offices at WSU that can support your preparation for international travel and work. Please consider visiting the International Programs Office (Maxwell 105) and Warrior Success Center (Maxwell 314) to support your interests in international experiences. Below are a few resources to begin your search process.
(All sites noted below were taken from Escape Normal)
Short-Term Work Opportunities
Escape Normal Jobs
Search for seasonal jobs all over the world, from work-exchanges on exotic retreat centers in Costa Rica to adventure kayak tour-guide positions. Many of the employers include food and housing as benefits. The job postings are laid out in a very user-friendly way and with information about what you can expect your new adventure life to be like, what seasons the employer is hiring for, etc.
Back Door Jobs
This is for the adventurous type who still wants to make money while traveling. Here you'll find a bunch of crazy short-term jobs in interesting places, from a cheese-making apprenticeship in Colorado or a volunteer gig maintaining a national park, to travel camp counselor position for the more experienced folks.
This site is so simple to navigate and has all the seasonal job you could ever think of in one place. You can filter your search by job type (restaurant, volunteer, ski, state park, diving) or pick a job in a specific season. It's a great way to finance your travels - hop from one place to the next in the on-season. If you are outdoorsy, it's the ultimate way of getting paid to travel without making a long-term commitment.
For those of you looking to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) while traveling to generate income, this site has you covered better than any other TEFL site. It guides you through the process of finding a job and getting to the country, and even has a bunch of job openings with schools that will pay to fly you to the country and house you, on top of paying your salary. You need to commit for a few months. The only required qualification is that you are fluent in English. Of course more and better-paying opportunities will open up if you get a TEFL certificate, which can be done online in 50 to a few hundred hours.
GVI is a well laid out travel site with volunteer and travel opportunities. They have a job board that has some really interesting and unique experiences that I haven't seen elsewhere, but some of them do require a bit of experience in the field. The jobs tend to be managerial - Head SCUBA instructor, a TEFL certification course instructor, manager of a field expedition in the Amazon rainforest, etc., but there are also a variety of other volunteer and internship opportunities.
This is a great site with both employment and volunteer opportunities. What makes it unique is that the positions are all focused on causes, from saving the environment to working with mentally handicapped individuals, and a ton of non-profit companies are represented. The positions range from the general to the specific, so whether you are looking to gain experience outside of your field or advance your career, you should be able to find something here that appeals to you. The search feature on this site is excellent and makes it one of the most user friendly options.
Inter Exchange (Au Pairs)
Inter exchange focuses mostly on au pair (live-in babysitter) jobs abroad, with a small number of other opportunities. There are a lot of choices in various places and it seems like a good organization to work with. You get paid a small amount weekly, in addition to free living and most-likely food, and a possible education stipend so you can take classes abroad. If you like kids, this may be a good choice!
This site has tons of different opportunities abroad and has a very useful layout; jobs are broken up by season and type. There are tons of ski jobs, hospitality, TEFL, outdoor, and childcare jobs, as well as Gap Year opportunities.
Go Workabout Australia
This site is geared toward - you guessed it - only Australia. There are a bunch of different types of jobs, from spa jobs to down-and dirty labor, like vine pruning and apple picking. While most of the jobs require you to get your own Visa and find housing, the dirty jobs are often part of a "complete package," meaning Workabout Australia will help you secure the job and have everything you need set up before you go, for a fee of course. That may be a helpful option for some people.
There are some really interesting jobs on here that I haven't seen on other sites, and they are from all corners of the earth. From becoming a managing partner in a new company based in Sri-Lanka to Chef jobs working in a French nursery with children, there are opportunities for both people with little experience and people well into their careers.
Long-Term International Opportunities
As you probably know, the Peace Corps is not for the weak-willed or commitment-phobic. People stationed to volunteer in one place for 2 years. There are benefits to being a part of this program- in addition to a monthly stipend for food and housing, you get a small stipend at the end of your stay to tide you over while you look for a job, and you can get your student loans deferred while you are participating. And of course, the Peace Corps stands out because there is no financial cost to you, unlike many other volunteer programs. While many people find working with the Peace Corps to be a life-chaning experience, and it is also great for resume building, I’ll be honest- I wouldn’t join. While it is a viable option for many travel-hungry personality types, if I wanted to settle down in one location for 2 entire years, I would just get a job.
Another long-term volunteer program - you can serve up to 3 years. Americorps
is more focused on social issues, like poverty, so this may not be the bright,
exciting adventure that avid travelers are craving. But there are definitely
benefits, including a stipend for food and housing, as well and training,
healthcare, and having something unique to put on your resume.
is much easier than you would expect to find a job as an English teacher
abroad. English fluency is one of the most highly-demanded skills in the world.
Sometimes you need certification, which you can easily get online. I became a
certified TEFL and “younger learner” teacher via this site in only a few months
of work on my own time- a few hours a week.
roommate and I volunteered to teach English in a Thai high school for a week.
There we met English teachers from other English-speaking countries who were
living in the town and making big bucks (by Thai standards, but not by
American.) So while they were not able to save up money for the future, they
were living like kings in Thailand, with good food, and at the nicest place in
This is a great resource, especially for younger people. WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is a group of hosts and volunteers dedicated to sustainable agriculture. What you give is your time - you get to work on a farm, either with plants or animals, or both, and in exchange you get food, accommodations and an education.
This is very similar to WWOOF, except the opportunities have a slightly wider range. There are the farm gigs, but you can also find people with bed and breakfasts, hostels, and even sailboats who are willing to exchange food and accommodation for your volunteer work. Help Exchange seems to be one of the most popular free volunteer sites.
This site is a travel-for-free heaven. It provides you with a list and pictures of beautiful places from beach side retreats in exotic countries or family owned campsites in rural France, who want to give you free food and housing in exchange for some volunteer work.
Student Conservation Association: Rugged Interns and Volunteers
This site has tons of experiences in conservation and outdoor work, both volunteer work and internships. The positions are all across the US, and the internships are expense-paid with opportunities for educational awards. You will be working to maintain and restore and important natural environment, like national parks, marine sanctuaries, and landmarks. Jobs are geared toward high school, college aged, and graduate students, but there are opportunities for other age groups too, based on qualifications.
All Hands is a non-profit that offers both volunteer jobs and permanent positions within the company. All Hands sends volunteers all over the world to provide disaster relief. And it comes at no cost to you - you get yourself to the location and give your time to the cause, and they will pay for food and housing. The minimum age to volunteer is 18, unless accompanied by a parent.
Habitat for Humanity
Through this well-known volunteer program, you can help build homes for families in need. In addition to opportunities across the US, there are also opportunities abroad, but these are longer positions - from 6 to 12 months. Must be 18 years old to participate.
This site has a lot of different options, from regular volunteering, professional opportunities, and family-friendly experiences. Volunteer opportunities are in a few select impoverished areas abroad, with programs in a bunch of different organizations. Programs range from a few weeks to a few months, with fees reaching up to $3,000. Not the cheapest volunteer program, but still far less expensive and more fulfilling than a regular vacation.
These volunteer opportunities let you give back to the environment and to people. There are many types of experiences available, from learning to SCUBA dive and replant coral, to helping manage small businesses in poorer countries. Programs last from a few weeks to over a year, with the pricing varied based on the organization. This is definitely a cool website to search for ideas, even if you decide int he end to go with a cheaper option.
International Humanity Foundation
This site is geared toward the type of
things that you might think of when you hear “community service,” such as
helping in orphanages, distributing food to the hungry, teaching children, and
helping poor communities to become sustainable. I find the site a little
confusing to navigate so it is up to you to find out further information if
this is the type of thing you are interested in.