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Overview

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Excerpted from Work Abroad by William Nolting.

You may be considering an overseas work experience for many reasons: an adventure, a chance to gain in-depth knowledge of another culture and of yourself, an inexpensive way to improve foreign language proficiency, or as preparation for an international career. The best time to seek work overseas and to prepare for an international career is while you are a student (or soon after graduation). Numerous special work abroad programs are available only to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as recent graduates up to around age 30.

Work abroad can be combined with study (before, during, or after), helping you to defray the cost and gain experience in a very different environment from academia. But two caveats:

1. Do not expect to finance study with part-time work. At best, it can provide extra spending money. Savings can usually be accumulated more quickly by working in your home country.

2. You must carefully investigate whether, and under what circumstances, work is allowed for students in a particular country.

Most countries do not allow students to work and may deport those who work without a work permit. However, student work-permit programs for some popular European destinations allow work combined with study. You have to enter the country with a special work permit provided by a work exchange program, which can only be obtained by applying in advance. Finally, a few countries (e.g., Australia and some locales in Germany) permit part-time work for students who are directly enrolled in local universities.

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