Student to Student
How to Get Ready to Live and Work Abroad After Graduation
Thinking about many options in the Italian mountains.
My semester abroad in Italy made me realize how much I loved traveling. With a student loan to cover the costs, it was basically stress-free. Those days are over, though. I received my bachelor's degree, and, as everyone had been telling me, it was time to get a job.
The questions was: How could I move to Italy and support myself? After being here for almost a year, I've found that there is something in Italy for almost everyone. The choices range from teaching English to working in environmental communities, and many of the options described apply to other countries around the world.
Get a TEFL Certificate
One of the most respectable and reliable jobs to travel long-term or live abroad is teaching English. Since it is a job in great demand in many parts of the world, with Asia and parts of developed Latin America now leading the way, it pays well enough to support yourself. Options in Italy are recently more limited due to stringent visa regulations, but work does exist via programs that combine a homestay and teaching English or a job as an English Assistant.
But you can't always just take off and to get a job. The first requirement is generally a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), offered worldwide, usually taking about 120 hours to complete on site or online. If you want to get started right away you can contact the TEFL training organizations listed in the teaching English abroad section. Some training programs also include lifetime job placement assistance. Most TEFL jobs now do require an undergraduate degree, but not all.
Use Your College Degree
If you can't or do not wish to take the time to get the TEFL certificate, for whatever reason, another possibility is to use your college degree. With a very well-written international resume you can get your foot in the door. People with degrees in education or languages may have a better chance of finding work, but a college degree of any kind will give you an opportunity. Also, if you are a teacher, or have ever done any teaching of any kind, don't forget to mention that on your resume.
Most schools are looking for people willing to make a commitment of at least a year. More important to the schools than the degree is a person's ability to learn new things and pass on the knowledge that they already have. We already know how to speak English. What schools want to know is whether or not we can teach it to others.
Also try STA Travel, an organization dedicated to helping students get overseas. STA Travel helps with both study abroad and work abroad trips in addition to booking airline tickets and railpasses. Organizations such as BUNAC will help you acquire visas to work in Australia and New Zealand for a year, where they can help you find a variety of jobs.
Volunteer on a Budget in a Workcamp, WWOOF, or with an Ecovillage
Another way people from all over the world are traveling and experiencing different ways of life is by working in one of the many ecovillages located worldwide. An association called The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) helps organize nearly hundreds of villages worldwide. Most of the villages need volunteers to help maintain gardens and harvests, build or restore buildings, and set up alternative energy systems. Room and board often can be traded for working.
An Ecovillage may not be the place to become rich, but from the people you meet, the things you learn, and the places you see, wealth will be gained in other ways. Here are some suggested contacts for Italy:
Assn. Culturale Torri Superiore allows you to volunteer in an ecovillage.
The European EcoVillage Network and browse their ecovillage database.
WWOOF Italia is an organization that allows you to work on organic farms for room and board.
Volunteer in Italy, includes volunteering from teaching English to workcamps to archeology.
For more information on work abroad see the extensive section full of ideas for many types of Work Abroad.
These are just a few of the ways college graduates can start their journey abroad. The most important piece of advice that I can offer is to keep trying. The other side of the world isn't much farther than right next door. If you try hard enough, if your desire to travel is strong enough, you'll be amazed at how easy it is to get to where you want to go.