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Overview | Strategies | Expert Advice

Excerpted from Work Abroad by Jane Cary
(With permission from Transitions Abroad.)
 
1. Before Leaving

2. While Abroad

3. After Returning

 
Before Leaving
 
  • Make a list of alumni living in the city and country where you'll be.
  • Talk with current students who are back from your future study site. Did any of them work or perform an internship while there? If yes, how did they arrange it?
  • Read the sections of all work abroad books that mention the country or city where you'll be.
 
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While Abroad
 
  • Maintain a "contacts" notebook. Include the name, address, phone number, e-mail address, etc. of every interesting professional you meet.
  • Contact alumni. Meet them at their place of business or socially. Express your interest in staying on after your program of study ends, or your interest in returning after graduation.
  • Check out the local Yellow Pages and scan the daily papers' 'want' ads for future reference.
  • Look for schools which teach in your native language. What qualifications do their teachers have?
  • If in a homestay, take every opportunity to meet the family's friends and extended family. Network.
  • Practice, practice, practice the local language. Meet locals in all walks of life, constantly. Read the local and national papers and periodicals.
  • Introduce yourself to older compatriots living locally. Learn about where they are or were employed and how they obtained their positions.
  • Pay attention to living costs of the country and figure out how much money you would need.
  • Have a standby friend at home pick up and save summer job and internship information for you.
  • If graduate study in that country is an option, get information while you're there.
 
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After Returning
 
  • Visit your Career Center early and often to learn about its services for job-hunting students; attend all relevant job-seekers workshops. Find out if firms with offices abroad recruit at your university. Don't be distressed to learn that you might have to work in your country first.
  • Ascertain whether you will need a higher degree to obtain the job you want. What graduate entrance exams are required? Where can that degree be earned? Make time to gather and pursue short-term and more permanent work-abroad resources.
  • Prepare your resume. Make sure it adequately describes your experience abroad and all the skills you acquired, including language competency. Keep in touch with all the contacts you gathered abroad. Write to them, stating your serious interest in returning to work in that country after graduation (if you are serious).
  • Assess your financial situation. How much money must you earn before you go? How long can you afford to live abroad?
  • Find a friend to job hunt with. Two heads are better than one: you can share leads and contacts.
 
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