5 Alternative Post-Graduation Plans

As the end of your undergraduate career approaches, it seems like there are only two options: a full-time job in your field of study or graduate school. Society has led us to believe anything outside of these standard paths is a let-down. However, that's certainly not the case. There are actually some incredible opportunities out there for recent grads that are a little outside the box.

1. Au pair

An au pair is (generally speaking) a young woman who lives with a family in a foreign country for a period of time and helps out with any kiddos. Families usually want you to speak English with the child(ren) and parents are curious to learn more about your language and culture, too. You don't have to pay rent, for food or insurance costs, and are usually paid around $250-$350 per month. While that's not a lot of money, you have very few expenses and can gain invaluable experience abroad.

Most families do not expect you to work weekends (giving you time to travel) or while the kids are at school (giving you the opportunity to explore your temporary home or take language classes). Whether you are interested in two months or two years, being an au pair is an unbeatable experience. Check out aupairworld.com--it's a great way to connect with families who are trying to find the perfect fit. 

2. Work/travel visa

With your American passport you are eligible to get a work/travel visa in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Ireland. If you're between 18 and 30, you can have the opportunity to work (from 6 months to 2 years, depending on location) while enjoying an extended stay abroad. Not only is it an incredibly fun and interesting experience, American employers really like to see international experience on your resume. Take advantage of this opportunity while you're young!

3. Service industry in a great location

While people dread working in a restaurant or retail after graduation, why not try it in a fantastic location? Work at a U.S. Virgin Islands resort for a year or set sail as an employee on a cruise ship. Suddenly the service industry doesn't seem so bad...

4. Distance learning

Want a graduate degree, but can't swing uprooting to move to your ideal school? Many schools in the U.S., and even more abroad offer "distance learning." This means you can get your master's degree from your dream school without actually having to be there. While many online-exclusive degree programs have a bad rep, this allows you to get your degree online from a top-notch institution. Really, it doesn't get much better.

5. Teach English abroad

Many countries like to bring native English speakers to teach their citizens or students the language. Some programs will even pay for your living expenses. While the highest demand is in Asia, there are programs scattered all over the world.

Whether you want to be close to or far from home, there are tons of options beyond those we normally consider.

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