One of the most unique travel experiences you can have is working abroad. Finding a job overseas allows you to settle into one place for an extended period of time and live as the locals do. But for all the logistic difficulties of planning a vacation, moving to a foreign country and finding work there is an even greater challenge. Here are four major ways to gain work experience and potentially earn money on the road.
Word Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms may not be for the faint of heart, but that doesn’t keep it from being one of the most popular overseas work programs on the globe. The organization places volunteers with hosts at organic farms, gardens, vineyards, and other sustainable agricultural facilities. WWOOFing is physically demanding, with possible tasks including weeding, sowing seed, harvesting, milking, and other common farm chores, and is therefore more popular with young travelers. There’s also no money involved – rather, four to six hours of work a day will earn you your food and accommodation. But that also makes it a unique cultural exchange that remains easy on the budget. To become a WWOOFer, choose your destination and contact that country’s chapter.
While admittedly not for everyone, teaching English is one of the most common ways for Westerners to find work in foreign countries. Not all countries require teachers to be certified, but some do, and having a certification from an organization like TEFL won’t ever hurt your application. Teaching jobs with classes of children are, of course, the easiest to find, but if you’re not a kid person, it is possible to snag an opportunity working with adults. Whomever you work with, teaching English is one of the quickest ways to save money for future travels, particularly if you choose to take your certification course abroad, which may be cheaper than doing so in the U.S., and if you secure a position in a country with a low cost of living, like Thailand.
The ever-increasing ubiquity of the internet at cafes, airports, and hotels has made “digital nomad” the ultimate 21st century dream job. Many of the skills you already use at a typical 9-to-5 desk job are actually portable, and with patience, diligence, and a solid WiFi connection, you can establish a career from anywhere in the world. Platforms like Upwork connect freelancers and clients in a variety of fields. Writing and design work are, of course, on the list, but IT support, accounting, legal consultations, and a whole host of other job categories are also available. This flexible style of work is ideal for folks who want to stay on the move.
Working odd jobs
Maybe you don’t have a skill set like marketing or tech support that you could build a virtual career on, but that doesn’t mean you have no skills whatsoever. Think about things you’re good at and get creative. Make arrangements at your hostel to set up shop in the common room and cut fellow travelers’ hair for a few bucks. Teach a yoga or dance class. Find a bar or cafe looking for help – you rarely need a specialized skill set to be in the service industry. Sign up for a housesitting service like House Carers or Trusted Housesitters and score a free place to stay in exchange for small chores like watering plants and walking the dog. Offer restaurants help proofreading their English language menus. The possibilities are endless.