Going Global

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Working abroad

Working abroad

Recent research by the Higher Education Careers Service Unit (Hecsu) revealed that up to 40,000 of this year’s graduates are struggling to find work: for the class of 2009, a degree doesn’t guarantee a job.  But there are options – albeit overseas. With job opportunities in the UK few and far between, now is the time for your 20 something to combine their need to earn with their desire to travel. CD Traveller considers the possibilities… 

Where’s the work?

British citizens can work with minor restrictions in Europe (check out www.ec.europa.eu/eures/home.jsp?lang=en), but to work almost anywhere else you need a work permit. The easiest option for short term work overseas is to apply for a one or two year working holiday visa. The most celebrated of these is the Australian Working Holiday Programme which allows British Citizens under 30 to work for up to a year in causal jobs. The catch? You can only work for one employer for three months, that’s it. Check out www.immi.gov.au.

Australia’s antipodean neighbour, New Zealand, offers a similar scheme – only without the three month job restriction. Those keen to become temporary kiwis can work for up to a year and stay for a total of 23 months. For details, visit www.immigration.govt.nz.

Canada also has a 12 month working holiday scheme, which requires enrolments in a programme run by an organisation such as BUNAC (British Universities North America Club, see www.bunac.com). There’s also a working holiday scheme in Japan which allows British citizens to work for up to a year – visit http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa for more information.

A sucker for the States? The other side of the Atlantic is a tougher nut to crack but there are some opportunities. The popular H-2 visa allows people aged 18-40 to work in tourism and agriculture for up to 10 months. Or try BUNAC’s Work America programme which places people in ski resorts, theme parks and the like. Finally if you’re graduating this year, you could consider the J-1 visa (try www.ccusa.com, www.interexchange.org or www.jobsamerica.co.uk) as a way to work in America. It’s designed for graduates looking for work experience and allows you to work for up to 18 months in a trainee position at a US based company – a great way of getting experience for your CV!

What’s the work?


If you like the idea of working your way around the world, then Teaching English as Foreign Language could be your ticket to ride. Would-be language teachers can learn enough in a single week-end to allow them to front a class – therein lies the beauty of the accredited TEFL course. What course you choose may depend on time and money constraints. A 20 hour week-end course provides the minimum level of certification needed to teach English abroad, the 40 hour course includes Grammar Awareness while month long and online options are also available. The best respected (and most expensive courses) are run by the University of Cambridge (www.cambridgeesol.org) and Trinity College London (www.trinitycollege.co.uk).

If you haven’t got the cash to splash on a TEFL course, fret not. Some schools in China, Japan and Korea accept English teachers without a certificate. The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) stands head and shoulders above the rest and so places are in demand. Get your application in early. The initial contract is for one year but can be extended for up to five. (www.jetprogramme.org). You’ll have to find your own food and accommodation costs but flights are free and there’s an annual salary of approximately £18,000. Got your qualification? Log onto www.saxoncourt.com and look for a job.


Cruising to success

Cruise ships are a great way to earn while you travel; the average ship employs around 10,000 crew in every conceivable area; from stewards to receptionists, beauty therapists to bar staff. If you’ve got relevant experience, try contacting a specialist agency like Berkeley Scott Selection (www.berkeley –scott.co.uk) and check out the job sections of travel mags like Wanderlust (www.wanderlust.co.uk).


Chalet skivvy

More than 8,000 people leave the UK to work in the mountains each winter. It looks like a fun assignment – chalet girls and guys mix long hours on the slopes and in the bars with a few light duties indoors, right? Err, wrong! As Liverpool geography graduate Vicki Clipper learnt: “Being a chalet girl is non-stop. The beds must be made, the carpets vacuumed, the breakfast cleared away and the kitchen floor mopped in the morning. Your guests must have left for the day’s ski-ing before you can get to the slopes yourself. At 4.30pm, it’s time to make a start on dinner – a job that lasts until about 10pm before some very thorough clearing up! It’s only then that you can go out for some long anticipated chalet host nightlife – if you have the energy!”

Hard work it maybe, but there are upsides too. As Vicki says: “You do forge friendships which make it worthwhile and of course the ski-ing and boarding is brilliant. I would recommend a chalet season to anyone, as long as they love winter sports and don’t mind mucking in. I would have done it again if it hadn’t been for my nagging parents and an ever increasing overdraft!”

And that’s resort life in a nutshell – demanding work but most people seem to love it. What’s more, room and board is almost always included with the job. Tempted to sign up? Read Working in Ski Resorts by Victoria Pybus and check out one stop shop www.natives.co.uk.


Camp Counsellor

If you think you can be a cross between a teacher and a big brother or sister, you maybe interested in spending the summer in America as a Camp Counsellor. Work is in one of the 12,000 children’s summer camps scattered across the States and counsellors look after a group of children throughout each day, teaching them a wide range of activities and interacting with them. Manchester University graduate, Sarah Briton, spent two summers in America working as a counsellor. Sarah says: “There are all sorts of camps but most are outdoors so expect to do without your hairdryer – and electricity if you are in a very traditional camp making a torch a must.” The former psychology student went through Camp America: “You get to meet and make friends with people from all over the world plus it’s great if you’re considering a career working with children.” After camp closed, Sarah travelled America for a few weeks: “You can save enough to travel around for a bit as you don’t get a chance to spend much while you’re there. But forget it if you want to make big bucks.” The negative? “It is hard work – mostly because you have to be upbeat and cheery for the kids all the time. You don’t get a lot of time off so you have to really enjoy what you are doing day-to-day. But overall there are more pros than cons”. Interested? For the low-down, visit www.bunac.co.uk and www.ccusa.com.


Move over Mary Poppins

If you really want to get to grips with a foreign culture but don’t fancy forking out for food and a flat, working as an au pair is an excellent option. But be warned patience is a pre-requisite and you’ve got to love little ones. Au pair opportunities are advertised in The Lady magazine which is published every Tuesday. Or try Europe’s largest net based agency for au pairs and nannies, www.aupairsearch.com.


For Disney devotees

Potty about Pooh? Barmy about Buzz? If the answer is yes, then working at a Disney park has got to be your dream job! Employment is available in bars, restaurants and hotels as well as in guest relations, retail, supervision or rides and entertainment. Visas to work at Walt Disney World and Walt Disney Land can be arranged but much easier, closer to home and cheaper is Disneyland Paris. Conversational French is preferred but see www.disneylandparis.com for application details and conditions.


Resort work rocks

If Disney doesn’t do it for you, why not try other resort work? Most holiday resorts hire extra staff for the holiday season (which is fast approaching) so you can pick up short-term work in bars, shops, hotels and restaurants. The subsidised (or free) food and lodgings plus a party lifestyle often compensate for the paltry pay. Check out www.vrgcampingrecruitment.co.uk


Of course, working overseas isn’t always easy. As well as coping with jet lag, you’ll also have to adjust to an unfamiliar social environment and possibly tackle homesickness. However chances are you’ll soon be having a fantastic time. In fact the hardest part maybe fitting into life back home as Amit Malhotra, who spent two years teaching English in Japan, discovered: “I found re-adjusting to life back in Blighty difficult. And moving back in with my parents was hard for us all!” Your old life in Britain may seem bland compared to beautiful Borneo or buzzing Barcelona, and while you’ll love to reminisce, long suffering friends and family may soon tire of your fabulous life overseas…but give it a go!


Need to know


Lots of information on a whole host of jobs.



Online directory of jobs and information on working abroad including temporary winter and summer jobs.



Does what it says on the tin…



Fancy teaching winter sports? Accredited ski and snowboard instructor courses are available in Canada, Argentina, Switzerland and New Zealand.



Youth development charity that enables young people to work together on environmental and community projects around the world.



Aussie organisation that places recent graduates on internships in more than 10,000 Australian companies.



Operates in 24 countries, helping people living in extreme or absolute poverty.



An umbrella site which provides links to major cruise operators as well as job opportunities.

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