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How to Get International Experience Without a $10,000 Price Tag

Get international experience abroad; skyscrapers

Yesterday Go Overseas got a shout out from the New York Times in their article, Internships Abroad: Unpaid, With a $10,000 Price Tag. It focused on the irony of having to pay to intern abroad.

We believe that everyone should feel empowered to go overseas -- no matter their budget.

While we strongly encourage students to get out of their comfort zone and intern abroad, the article reminded us of something that's almost always overlooked by young Americans and their families: there are dozens of ways to get an international experience -- whether it's an internship, job, or gap year -- for free and (even better) for pay.

For example, Europeans, Australians, and New Zealanders have been spending gap years working abroad for decades, making great money and getting international experiences while doing manual or professional work. The idea is just catching on in the US (we're seeing incredible growth within our Gap Year section), but most Americans just aren't looking for them yet.

In response to the NYT article, we’ve put together a list of Go Overseas resources to help you get professional development abroad on a budget, because we believe that everyone should feel empowered to go overseas.

1. How to Find Paid Short Term Work Abroad

hostel

Too often travel and vacation are used synonymously. Unlike vacationing, travel doesn't always mean spending lots of money, or long days lounging on the beach.

What’s better than an unpaid summer internship in the United States? A paid summer internship abroad (duh).

In fact, many long term travelers and gap-yearers are spending their time abroad working and making money. If you're flexible about where you work, you can definitely find a way to fund your travel while you're traveling -- a win-win as far as we’re concerned.

Work visas can be tricky to obtain, but most countries have opportunities for short term work abroad. This article discusses some helpful tips, strategies, and where to look for short term jobs abroad.

2. 10 Paid Internships Abroad in Summer 2015

girl on couch

What’s better than an unpaid summer internship in the United States? A paid summer internship abroad. These lucrative opportunities are hard to come by, but they are out there. As the world pivots to a more globalized work force, companies are looking to diversify their offices with international interns. In this article, we list ten opportunities to not just intern abroad -- but get paid for your work.

For Spanish-speakers and Latin American enthusiasts, narrow down your search with our article on How to Score a Paid Internship in Latin America for more advice on landing a paid internship abroad.

3. 7 Major Corporations You Can Intern Abroad WIth

interns

For students who can't afford to spend money on an internship placement provider, pairing up with an international corporation is another alternative to getting an internship abroad -- without breaking the bank. In fact, many of these corporations will provide a living stipend and other financial assistance.

While interning is ideal for professional development, there's more than one way to work abroad.

Of course, these internships are highly competitive, so bring your A-game to the application process!

4. Essential Tips for Your Au Pair Abroad Job Hunt

While interning is ideal for professional development, there's more than one way to work abroad. Becoming an Au Pair allows you to immerse yourself in a new culture, learn a new language, and live abroad with financial security, among other perks.

Moreover, it is a great way to develop your international network. While Au Pairing you can also be attending networking events, taking classes, and finding ways to capitalize professionally on your time abroad. Not sure where to start? Check out this article for tips on your Au Pair job hunt abroad.

5. How to Get a Job Teaching English Abroad

Did we already mention there's more than one way to work abroad? Perhaps the most popular way is to teach English in another country -- especially among recent college grads who don't have the "1 - 2 years relevant experience" needed for most entry level jobs.

Volunteer experience and unpaid internships are not so different as you might think.

In this article, Go Overseas outlines ten straightforward steps on how to get started with a job teaching English abroad. From TEFL certifications to applications, we will get you pointed in the right direction.

It may not be an internship with Google, but by putting teaching abroad on your resume, you demonstrate that you're flexible, patient, creative, have leadership skills, resourceful, and independent -- qualities any company would want in a new hire.

6. How to Volunteer Abroad for Free

couple in Bali

Volunteer experience and unpaid internships are not so different as you might think. Volunteer opportunities can easily be used as a professional development opportunity if you play your cards right.

Low cost programs, often run by fairly small, local organizations, would surely not turn away a business student wanting to help out around the office. When looking to volunteer abroad think about what unique strengths you bring to the program and what skills you want to develop. In this article, perhaps one of our most popular of all time, we list dozens of free and low-cost opportunities to volunteer abroad -- and we'll be adding even more soon.

7. Why You Can’t Afford NOT to Take A Gap Year

take a gap year

A few weeks ago I was talking to two Berkeley students who claimed that they had worked too hard to get into the university of their choice to risk taking a gap year.

It takes a very unique student to succeed in the workplace while also juggling moving abroad, life in a foreign culture, missing home, adapting to a 40 hour work week.

Unfortunately this is the mindset of most Americans, despite the fact that 90% of students who take a gap year return to college within a year and overwhelmingly report being more satisfied with their jobs after graduation. Besides, what employer wouldn’t be impressed with the maturity and independence it takes to leave everything you know behind to explore new cultures and ideas?

If that's not enough to convince you to take a gap year (on a budget) rather than a pricey internship abroad, this article's full of good reasons.

8. A Practical Guide to Finding International Jobs

finding a job abroad

If you're the ambitious type who can’t fathom taking a year out of the office, finding a job abroad is the way to go. Again, this is one of those easier-said-than-done options -- but by no means impossible.

As former Go Overseas-er Megan Lee put it, “It takes a very unique student to succeed in the workplace while also juggling moving abroad, life in a foreign culture, missing home, adapting to a 40 hour work week (culture shock in it of itself!), wanting to make new friends and have adventures.”

Instead, take a gap year, study abroad, and once you graduate, use this practical guide to plan out finding your dream job -- abroad!

9. The American's Guide to Working Holiday Visas

working holidays

Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, and Ireland offer working holiday visas for Americans. These visas are open to people 18 - 30 years old and fairly easy to have approved.

If interning abroad is something we really want, then not having money isn't an excuse.

But how exactly can you go about getting a working holiday visa? What do they allow you to do? How long can you stay? This article discusses working holiday visas in five countries, as well as some extra helpful tips to get you started with spending time working abroad.

You Can't Afford NOT to Go Overseas!

At the end of the day, companies like Global Experiences, Dream Careers and The Intern Group are fantastic options for those who can afford it.

These programs have spent years developing their international network, provide on the ground support throughout your stay, and certainly provide peace of mind for parents anxious about sending their child to the other side of the world.

For the rest of us, if interning abroad is something you really want, then not having money isn't an excuse. We have options -- paid internships, international jobs abroad, volunteering with reputable organizations, teaching English, au pairing, and gap year work. To make it happen, set goals for yourself, do your research, start saving, connect with other travelers, and make a plan.

Here at Go Overseas, we encourage you not to back down from the challenge, because sometimes finding your own way is the most rewarding part of the journey. Moral of the story? Just go (overseas).

Photo Credits: OzinOH.

Mallory Meiser

Southern Marylander gone rouge, Mallory moved to Berkeley via London after a stint in Washington DC. Prior to becoming Community Manager at Go Overseas, Mallory worked in England as Location Coordinator for Global Experiences while studying for her MA in Global Media and Transnational Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London.