While working, studying and volunteering abroad have always been exciting options for many, the popularity of these affordable ways of traveling, acquiring a language and accumulating life experiences has increased over the past decade.

Numerous coordinators and organizers, both profit and non-profit, exist in several countries on almost every continent. Programs involving humanitarian issues, research, wildlife conservation and education can be found along with opportunities in fields from academics to reforestation to medicine and almost everything in between.

Many schools, colleges, universities and educational institutions around the world offer, or at least provide information on, overseas education possibilities whether in the form of student exchanges, short-term homestays or internships as a part of, or as a supplement to, the regular curriculum. Websites, job boards, forums and blogs abound with postings for qualified individuals seeking international employment or those hoping to volunteer, with availability for positions from nannies to doctors in nearly every part of the globe.

Working overseas: Working overseas has the potential to be both exciting and daunting. It can be one of the most rewarding adventures of a lifetime as well as one of the most frustrating and emotionally, financially and physically taxing. Regardless of whether the overseas job-seeker is an experienced professional, a student in pursuit of an adventurous career or an entire family inclined toward a total life and location change; there are a multitude of things to consider.

Volunteering overseas: Regardless of one’s interests, abilities or qualifications, there are so many volunteering opportunities available worldwide that it would be more difficult to find a location without one. Ever more popular with recent graduates, retirees and disenchanted individuals in pursuit of meaningful careers, numerous options exist and encompass a wide range of projects.

Some volunteering positions are as simple as unskilled manual labor while others are as specialized as medicine. Some can last for periods short enough to incorporate into a vacation while others require commitments of one to several years. For many whose ‘back home’ options include little more than a minimum wage job or a post-graduation entry-level position, the excitement, adventure and sense of fulfillment of volunteering often offers a great deal more than the basic employment choices most people make.

Studying overseas: Studying abroad offers a number of unique opportunities to students of all ages. Language immersion, cultural awareness, travel, and adventure in exotic locations are only a little of what an international education might provide. There are literally hundreds of programs available with numerous institutions organizing placements in dozens of countries around the world in such diversity as semester programs, summer exchanges, high school programs, language specific programs, graduate programs, doctorate programs and internships, to even opportunities of acquiring an education at sea.

The sheer volume of information available requires only a little patience to sift through. The internet, bookshops (online as well as conventional), school libraries and newspapers offer a wealth of resources and excellent starting points for those interested in either working, volunteering or studying overseas who don’t have the benefit of knowing someone who has already done it.

Some useful website on working, volunteering and studying abroad:

  • www.goabroad.com/
  • www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/study/index.shtml
  • www.studyabroad.com/volunteer.html
  • www.onesmallplanet.com/geninfo.htm
  • www.internationalcenter.umich.edu/swt/work/workfaq.html
  • www.internationalcenter.umich.edu/peace/
  • www.petersons.com/stdyabrd/us.asp