Work abroad: Why recent college grads should conduct a global job search

Work abroad: Why recent college grads should conduct a global job search was originally published on College Recruiter.


Jobs that require travel or allow recent college grads to work abroad can help build cultural awareness, strengthen one’s ability to navigate through dynamic environments, and cultivate a level of agility, which is required by most employers today, says Ayana Pilgrim-Brown, assistant director of career competencies at the Center for Student Professional Development within Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

It’s no secret working abroad can help recent college grads land that first job. That’s why recent college grads seeking frequent travel to exotic locations, should explore options as tour guides, travel consultants, and within the airline industry, says Pilgrim-Brown. For a business student who wants to solidify his or her status as a global business professional, jobs in consulting, supply chain management, and sales offer the chance to travel to vast locations throughout the world. New graduates who aspire to make a difference in the world should consider non-profits and non-governmental organizations. There are several pathways in the areas of development and humanitarian assistance, adds Pilgrim-Brown. And for the multilingual applicant, there are solid prospects using language skills as a TEFL instructor, translator, or interpreter.

“Job seekers should do their due diligence to make sure these opportunities are formalized and in writing with agreeable terms of employment,” says Pilgrim-Brown.

Rustic Pathways is a non-profit organization that facilitates educational experiences for students through travel and philanthropy.

“Traveling equips recent college grads with a unique and necessary skill set that will help them create successful careers,” said Chris Stakich, CEO of Rustic Pathways. In fact, Stakich is quick to credit how traveling throughout the world for work the first four years of his career helped build professional skills necessary to become CEO.

“Most of my success has been a result of living out of a bag for the first four years of my career,” he says.

In addition to service opportunities–such as working with Peace Corps, or with a multinational organization or large employer, or through a non-profit–there are more opportunities than ever for recent college grads to work abroad, and get paid to travel. There are also training opportunities, such as the Rustic Pathways Leader Corp program, which are designed for recent college grads looking to make the transition from college to career.

Traveling for work, and working abroad, teaches these important soft skills that employers covet, says Stakich:

1. Traveling naturally challenges people’s assumptions about the world and themselves
“By immersing yourself in an environment that is out of your comfort zone, where the food/language/music/religion/culture is different, you begin to see the similarities and differences amongst all people and cultures,” says Stakich. “This experience expands horizons, and helps people identify the limitless opportunity globally, and typically leads to people identifying their passion and purpose.”

2. Traveling helps people develop the communication skillsets that transcend language, culture, religion, and geographic borders
The next generation of leaders in business, finance, healthcare, education, and government will need to be able to work across country borders, says Stakich. “If you can identify opportunities and challenges, create solutions, and translate those solutions onto the global stage, you will have a great competitive advantage compared to most people.”

3. Traveling develops the real world skill sets that most companies identify as making people successful
Soft skills like communication, collaboration, grit, humility, self-awareness, and empathy, are all essential to success, and rarely taught in the classroom, but can be learned while working abroad, or through traveling for work.

Mary Grace Gardner is the founder of The Young Professionista, a college admissions and career consulting firm that helps Millennials with landing their dream job. Gardner recently spoke to a group of 150 UCLA students about landing their dream job and is also chief of staff to the CEO for a large healthcare system. Gardner has mentored college students and college grads, developing them for healthcare management roles.

Gardner recommends college students or recent college grads consider these travel-focused jobs:

  1. Flight attendant: “What better way to jet set around the world than having your boss pay you to fly,” says Gardner. “You get the chance to travel the world and oftentimes get to stay a day or two at your destination.”
  2. Cruise employee: Cruises specialize in projecting a relaxing experience for vacationers while they see the world – and there are hundreds of people behind the scenes who work hard to make that happen. You can find a job as an on board nanny, youth director or server, which would include perks like spending a day off the ship and exploring an exotic location.
  3. Work for a non-profit providing assistance abroad: If you want to exercise your philanthropy, working for a non-profit specializing in providing aid abroad could be a perfect way to get paid for travel, says Gardner.

“For recent college students and recent grads, a job that allows for travel can be an excellent way to build your resume,” says Gardner. “It shows your willingness and ability to adapt to different environments, cultures, and people.”

Anthony Naglieri, is Senior Director of Communications for Cultural Vistas, a U.S.-based nonprofit that facilitates educational and career-focused exchange programs in the U.S. and around the world. Cultural Vistas also provides customized internships, work authorization, and support for students and recent graduates to pursue paid internship and work opportunities across Europe. Through working with Cultural Vistas, Naglieri has traveled to implement programs in Cambodia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Austria, among others.

The opportunity to travel as part of his job has helped Naglieri expand and build his personal and professional networks.

“The relationships formed, whether friends or colleagues, are invaluable and can be called upon throughout your life and as you continue to build your career,” says Naglieri.

Naglieri recommends college students or recent college grads seeking opportunities to work abroad, or travel as part of their job look for companies that have satellite offices in other countries. For example, Cultural Vistas also has an office in Berlin, Germany, where U.S. staffers have been able to work from.

In the article 5 reasons recent college grads should consider work and travel jobs, Ilona Jurkiewicz, head of the Early Careers Program at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, says traveling for work, or as part of a job, is a great way for recent college grads to see the world, while building important professional and life skills that will benefit individuals throughout the rest of their career.

“Experience is the best teacher,” says Jurkiewicz, who leads internal and external strategy for how Thomson Reuters will attract, assess, develop, engage, retain, and flow early career talent. “You can read about business etiquette, cultural nuances in offices, or the pace of change in emerging markets all you want, but nothing beats seeing and feeling these things up front and center,” adds Jurkiewicz.

The time is now, for recent college grads, to consider work abroad, or travel work options. In fact, a survey detailed in the Harvard Business Review article titled A successful International Assignment Depends on These Factors, showed that 32 percent of 82 executives surveyed said they turned down an international assignment because they didn’t want to move their families, and 28 percent said they did so to protect their marriages.

“The older you get, the more responsibilities and roots you have,” says Jurkiewicz. “You buy a house and a car, and you have to figure out how to solve for that. Your partner has a job that doesn’t allow travel, so that becomes a factor you have to take into account. A pet requires constant home care and attention. Your parents begin aging and you worry about being closer. Earlier in your career, your life is less tethered and you are also likely more easy going and willing to forego the ‘perfect’ travel scenario because you want the opportunity more than all the fanfare that goes with it.”

Are you ready to make the move and work abroad? These tips show why now is the best time for recent college grads to work abroad, and  consider a global job search.

For more tips on the benefits of traveling overseas for work, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

By College Recruiter
College Recruiter believes that every student and recent grad deserves a great career.