It’s that time of year, graduating collegiettes! You’ve packed up your bags, saved up your pennies and with diploma in hand, you’re ready to take on the world!
But before you step off the graduation stage and buy that plane ticket to Barcelona, you might want to consider the different jobs and volunteer programs that can take you there for free—some complete with medical insurance and housing packages! Whether you’re backpacking through Europe or bicycling across the African continent, there are plenty of professional and volunteer-based opportunities for you to fit some globe-trekking into your post-grad plans.
1. Tour guide
This is probably the most obvious choice for limitless locales and paid-for flights, accommodations and day-to-day expenses. As a tour guide, you escort tourists from city to city and country to country, interpreting the cultural heritage of your tour. While your friends back home are stuck at the office, you’ll be working your 9 to 5 on a double-decker bus rolling down Oxford Street in London, a safari jeep crossing the Saharan desert or a tent camped out in the Swiss Alps! You should be able to retain historical facts, dates and names, but also be able to relate this information in a fun way to your tour group!
Brittany King, a graduate of the University of New Hampshire’s class of 2010, found a job as a hotel caterer and part-time tour guide through the BUNAC work abroad program. This program placed her in Ireland’s capital, Dublin.
“I applied through BUNAC’s 4-month program,” Brittany said. “Since I graduated with a degree in hospitality, I found a job as a caterer at the Merrion in Dublin, a five-star luxury hotel. On the side, I worked part-time as a tour guide, which was a way to have fun and get to know the city myself. I love the Irish culture and history and I wanted to relay that to people!”
Career Advisor Nancy Hoff at the University of New Hampshire says this career is great for those who have graduated with communications or public relations majors or those with strong communication and people skills. “There are lots of opportunities in the international tourism industry,” says Hoff. “There are hundreds of multinational hotel chains that hire through placement programs.”
For more information, check out:
2. ESL teaching
English as Second Language, or more commonly referred to as ESL teaching, is a great way to immerse yourself in a foreign culture and make an impact on the community. It’s easy for a recently graduated collegiette to teach ESL in a foreign country, because all that you generally need is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college, and a work visa to teach ESL abroad. If you want to teach ESL in a foreign country, then you don’t need to have an ESL teacher certification, but it definitely makes you more attractive in an increasingly competitive job market.
The easiest way to apply for an ESL teaching job overseas is through a U.S.-based program. When choosing among these programs, it’s best to ask about fees, salary, job placement, housing, insurance, whether there is an orientation and the level of on-site support. Remember, in some cases of ESL teaching, you’re traveling to a foreign place with little to no orientation. It’s best to orient yourself with the cultural norms and basic language of your host country beforehand!
Kerry Mayou, a graduate of the University of New Hampshire’s class of 2010, has been teaching English to grade school children in Beijing. “I literally had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated from UNH,” Kerry said. “All I knew was that I wanted to travel, so I looked into placement programs for ESL teaching. I applied through the CIEE. Now that I’ve spent a year in Beijing, I’ve made friends here, built a life here, and become a part of the culture. I was provided a housing package and lessons in Mandarin Chinese. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
The good news is that the demand for ESL teachers is increasing every year, says Hoff. “ESL teaching is probably the best way to work abroad,” she says. “There are three major regions that are looking for English teachers- South America, Eastern Europe, and Asia.”
For more information, check out:
3. Volunteer programs
Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid to travel around the world and also feel like you were making a difference? Volunteer programs and non-profit organizations like AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, WOOF and Vista hire graduating collegiettes every year of all majors and interests.
UNH campus recruiter for the Peace Corps, Ally Snell, says that like a lot of volunteer programs out there, the Peace Corps particularly provides nice benefits to reward the helpful volunteer, including a monthly living allowance, education and medical benefits. All volunteers are required to commit 27 months or two-and-a-half years of training and service, but they schedule vacation time as well.
Carolyn Lishawa, a junior at Ohio Northern University, is considering going into the Peace Corps after graduation.
“I think what appeals to me most about the Peace Corps is the chance it gives me to focus all of my time on serving and helping other people who really need it,” Carolyn said. “I would love to go to other countries and be able to physically interact with the people there!”
For more information, check out:
4. Freelancer (blogger, writer or photographer)
If you’re out exploring the world, why not blog about it? With the advent of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, blogging abroad has never been easier! If you’re looking for a profession that enables you to work on your own terms with the freedom of every day travel, consider becoming a freelance blogger, reporter, or photographer. There are literally hundreds of travel guides, magazines, newspapers and online publications that will buy your articles or photographs.
Although it’s unlikely that this will immediately land you on the front cover of National Geographic, pursuing your own narrative can be rewarding. Most travel writers deal with unsteady incomes, but some very nice perks come with freelancing, including occasional compensation when traveling on assignment. Imagine writing a review of five-star hotels in Venice or the best in Parisian cuisine for free!
After earning her degree, Karina Martinez-Carter, a graduate of the Northwestern University’s class of 2010, moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina to become a freelance journalist.
“Being a ‘freelance journalist’ was the planned approach because journalism was what I studied and had experience doing,” says Karina. “Also, during the latter half of college I became very interested in travel-related writing and reporting, and being in a foreign country writing was a definite direct path to pursuing that.”
“Those looking to do freelance work abroad and plan on that being a main source of income might want to consider the exchange rate when deciding where to move. Financially, it’s advantageous for me to make American dollars for freelance work in a country like Argentina, where the dollar is worth about four times as much,” explains Karina.
In terms of advice, Karina says, “Get to know a lot of people, both inside the journalism world and out, and let them know your plans. I spent a lot of time before moving down finding and chatting with people who had lived in Buenos Aires, as well as connecting with people who work as full-time freelancers or had done the ‘travel writing abroad’ thing, all of which provided me with a lot of valuable advice and contacts. When it comes down to it, the more people who know who you are, where you are and what you are doing, the more people you have looking out for you.”
For more information, check out:
For you collegiettes who are looking to fulfill your patriotic duty and travel overseas, the military may be the opportunity you’ve been looking for. There are many benefits for collegiettes-turned-soldiers, including full to partial college tuition reimbursement, health insurance, housing and travel coverage. This is a great career path for collegiettes™ who majored in criminal justice studies or are enrolled in ROTC programs in college.
Persephone Merritt, a graduate of Curry College, studied criminal justice before enlisting in the National Guard. She is waiting for her ship date in June to Basic Training before being stationed either in her home country or overseas.
“I’ve always been into the military and law enforcement,” Persephone says. “The first time I seriously thought about the military was when I changed my major to criminal justice. I finished out two semesters at Curry before getting in contact with a National Guard recruiter. We discussed options and benefits, career choices and what I wanted to do. There are many benefits for Guard soldiers, including full in-state tuition for the state you’re serving in, or, as in my case, the full payment of my federal student loans because I didn’t go to a Massachusetts state school. I’ll be deployed two weeks after I return in January to an army base in need of a medic, somewhere around the world—not exactly sure where yet—but it could be Germany, Alaska, Korea, Texas, Iraq or even Afghanistan!”
Whether you look into internships, volunteering or work abroad, Hoff says that there are virtually limitless professional opportunities for post-grad travel. “For students who come to me asking what they can do after college to travel, what usually spurs that conversation is a semester studying abroad or some other expanded international experience,” says Hoff. “There are several programs that can either direct a student to a paying job or a stepping stone for an international career. You just have to look.”
Ally Snell, Peace Corps UNH Campus Recruiter
College students and recent graduates from across the country
Nancy Hoff, Career Advisor, University Advising & Career Center, University of New Hampshire