While I’m by no means an expert or even experienced, I have conducted my own informal research project on working opportunities abroad. Scouring for ways to travel long-term and still generate an income has been my favorite procrastination method. It hasn’t all been in vain. I do plan to pursue teaching English abroad. But in order to put my hours clicking through possibilities to good use (and procrastinate in studying for finals), I will share my findings. Perhaps another irresponsible student with a case of wanderlust will be inspired.
Teach English – Teaching English abroad is a popular way to get overseas, and for good reason. A high demand for native English speakers to TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) means new positions are opening all the time. TEFL teachers don’t need a degree in education. A Bachelor’s degree in some discipline is usually necessary and most (but not all) language schools require a TEFL/TESOL certificate. Certification can be obtained online or in a classroom setting through a variety of programs, some of which occur abroad. Pay varies widely depending on region. While you can make enough to break even in Europe or South America, teachers can save as much as $1,000 a month in Eastern Asia, where demand is highest. Africa and Central Asia also offer opportunities, but usually on a volunteer basis.
WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) – As funny as the acronym sounds, WWOOFing provides serious hands-on experience on organic farms around the world. The volunteer technically aren’t paid, but WWOOF farmers provide food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. WWOOF farms in the U.S. provide opportunities for those who wish to stay closer to home. However, there are also farms in over 30 countries with diverse environments. Volunteers can find farmers in need searching help in places as diverse as Switzerland, Sierra Leone, Argentina and Bangladesh. Volunteers will mix cultural immersion with sustainable development so both parties benefit.