Have you traveled to other countries and thought, “It would be so interesting to live and work here?” Do you believe that there is a lot to learn by understanding people and cultures that are different than your own? Do you daydream about the bigger world? If you answer yes to any of these questions an international career may be right for you.
But isn’t it hard to get a job in another country?
The answer is yes, and no! Like any career choice you will benefit from learning as much as you can about the organizations that hire, the types of positions available, the skills and requirements necessary, and the recruiting and hiring process. The next step is to analyze your skills and experience, determine the gaps, and work to gain the skills and experience you need through education, training, work, or volunteering.
Deciding to make a career change that focuses on something you are passionate about can be exciting and energizing. You want to get started and you may want to make immediate big changes. That is not always possible; sometimes you need to plan for a year or two in the future. In most cases planning, preparing, and patience will pay off and you will be able to make thoughtful, career enhancing decisions that follow your passion.
Is there an easier way, a “back door” to international careers?
If you are ready to go, ready to set aside everything and go for it, it is possible to find an international job on the ground. This is especially the case in some underdeveloped countries.
Imagine you decide you want to live and work in Guatemala. It is possible to go there, find a place to live, and start interacting in the community — especially in the ex-patriate community. You will realize there is a need for ex-pats in the workforce for jobs like teaching English, or interacting with U.S. businesses. This might not be the most lucrative work but it will keep you connected to the community and perhaps pay the bills.
Stay connected to the international community and keep your eyes open for positions with international organizations using your connections in the country. If you are educated, have basic skills, and you are personable you are likely to find a position that, 1) if they were recruiting internationally for they would set higher requirements, and 2) since they know you and think you are pretty capable they will hire you on the spot and train you.
Since there are many things to consider when looking at an international career it is best to get as much information as you can. Talk to people you know who have worked internationally, read articles, and educate yourself so that it becomes a positive and enriching experience.