Working Abroad or Volunteering Abroad After College

Working Abroad or Volunteering Abroad After College

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This is a discussion on Working Abroad or Volunteering Abroad After College within the Education & Career Talk forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; Hello everyone! This is my first time posting in this specific thread category, so I might not be posting this ...

  1. #1

    Working Abroad or Volunteering Abroad After College

    Hello everyone!

    This is my first time posting in this specific thread category, so I might not be posting this in the best place, but it looked fitting based on my first glance at things.

    I wanted to see if anyone had experiences either volunteering abroad after college (for more than 1-2 months preferably) or working abroad in a different country (temporarily). I was hoping to get general advice and/or tips from someone experienced. Working abroad is complicated, especially with the specific country I have in mind (the one I'm studying abroad in). However, it is the more financially stable option even with the modest salary.

    With volunteering, I obviously have to pay to do it, which kind of sucks. However, I would guess it'd be much easier to get language exposure and to make friends (unless I stayed with a family). And the work would be intensely more rewarding, generally speaking.

    On a less related note, is volunteering abroad after college in a position not related to your career goals disadvantageous to your resume when you come back? I personally don't believe it should be a disadvantage, but given how competitive it is to get jobs, I wonder if they'd see it as "not following the path" (and thus, "risky" to employ.



  2. #2

    I volunteered with AmeriCorps for two years out of college. It was great because I didn't have to pay to do it-- I got just enough of a stipend to break even in the end living modestly and then I got a $10,000 grant to put towards my student loans. I worked within my field for my service years, so it ended up strengthening my resume in more than one way, but I think as long as it's something you could potentially relate to your field in the end, it certainly won't be a detriment either way. The job market still kinda sucks in most fields and sometimes volunteering is the only way to get the experience employers are looking for before hiring. In my case, one of the people on my interview board for my current job was incredibly impressed that I volunteered at all and with what the experience of teaching in a different culture (I taught on the Navajo reservation) would bring to my current job.

    As for "not following the path"-- I don't think most employers think about it as a set path anymore. The "graduate high school, get a bachelor's degree, get right into the workplace" shtick is just tired and overdone (not to mention virtually impossibly in some field with this economy). Almost everyone goes to college now. What gets you noticed and employed isn't usually your education, it's what sets you apart-- the unique things you've done (internships, school activities, other work experience, volunteering) that give you skills and experiences you can bring to the table that other recent grads can't. And honestly, no matter what your career is, you can find skills to bring to the table from a volunteer position-- whether it's organization and fundraising skills or just general people skills and "working with people of different backgrounds for a common goal"-- things that almost all volunteer positions teach.

    What is your field, btw?

  3. #3

    Quote Originally Posted by paige1136 View Post
    I wanted to see if anyone had experiences either volunteering abroad after college (for more than 1-2 months preferably) or working abroad in a different country (temporarily). I was hoping to get general advice and/or tips from someone experienced. Working abroad is complicated, especially with the specific country I have in mind (the one I'm studying abroad in). However, it is the more financially stable option even with the modest salary.
    Not after college. I decided to take a sabbatical from my corporate job to (voluntarily) work in Kenya.

    One of the best experiences in my life. Maybe THE best.

    It's like an eye opener. A part of the world you only knew heresay from and turn out to be an amazing place full of opportunity and great people.

    But, because if I would stay here I wouldn't be able to afford my mortgage/car and because I already have a life back home it's hard for me to decide to stay.

    If I could change my life decisions I'd definitely would have gone after college.

    With volunteering, I obviously have to pay to do it, which kind of sucks. However, I would guess it'd be much easier to get language exposure and to make friends (unless I stayed with a family). And the work would be intensely more rewarding, generally speaking.
    You can also find jobs that pay enough for basic expenses, or an organization that has accomodations for people to stay during their visit. You'll need some savings but not all charity work is completely unpaid.

    I chose unpaid because I have enough money to sustain myself but if you are just out of college that can't be expected of you.

    Still, I have some colleagues who came here on savings or support from their family.

    You'll make friends for sure as you'll find that people who give up their safe life for a while to help others in a different continent tend to be nice people^^

    On a less related note, is volunteering abroad after college in a position not related to your career goals disadvantageous to your resume when you come back? I personally don't believe it should be a disadvantage, but given how competitive it is to get jobs, I wonder if they'd see it as "not following the path" (and thus, "risky" to employ.
    It is definitely not. You show that you are intrinsically motivated and entrepreneurial. And are also not afraid that you can handle yourself in a completely new environment.

    Experience abroad is almost always a plus, whatever the form and also, will make you stand out from the crowd.

    Good luck. I can heartily recommend doing this.
    paige1136 thanked this post.

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  5. #4

    I recommend not spending your money, unless you have some saved. My current SO is experiencing financial troubles for volunteering in tons of places right after college... Now she may have to move away because of it. Needless to say, I am slightly disgruntled about the entirety of it.

    Paying money to volunteer is slightly bogus to me, and it makes me feel like its for richies who want to donate money but get a 2.0 philanthropic experience.
    paige1136 thanked this post.

  6. #5

    Quote Originally Posted by Alles_Paletti View Post
    You can also find jobs that pay enough for basic expenses, or an organization that has accomodations for people to stay during their visit. You'll need some savings but not all charity work is completely unpaid.
    Are you talking about jobs where you obtain residency in the country or jobs with a headquarters in the U.S., but an abroad location? For the latter, is it practical for me to obtain a job abroad right away as a recent grad, or do I have to work my way up?

    I've having a heck of a time finding organizations that will pay for the flight (like I had heard being done in some cases) or providing a small stipend. Most I've seen require you to pay your way for housing, food (food is expected, though), flight, etc.

  7. #6

    Quote Originally Posted by paige1136 View Post
    Are you talking about jobs where you obtain residency in the country or jobs with a headquarters in the U.S., but an abroad location? For the latter, is it practical for me to obtain a job abroad right away as a recent grad, or do I have to work my way up?

    I've having a heck of a time finding organizations that will pay for the flight (like I had heard being done in some cases) or providing a small stipend. Most I've seen require you to pay your way for housing, food (food is expected, though), flight, etc.
    You don't need residency, a work permit is needed though. Well educated people who are willing to work fot the salaries offered by the companies ive mentioned are scarce. Even as a starter. I know people who founded their own company in Afrika without work experience and did well.

    It is true that they seldom pay for the flight although housing can be provided. I lived in the office of the company I worked for. It is good if you have family who are willing to support you endeavour by eg paying for your flight, true. Food is pretty cheap if you get good at shopping.

  8. #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Alles_Paletti View Post
    You don't need residency, a work permit is needed though. Well educated people who are willing to work fot the salaries offered by the companies ive mentioned are scarce. Even as a starter. I know people who founded their own company in Afrika without work experience and did well.

    It is true that they seldom pay for the flight although housing can be provided. I lived in the office of the company I worked for. It is good if you have family who are willing to support you endeavour by eg paying for your flight, true. Food is pretty cheap if you get good at shopping.
    Learning how to save on food and every-day expenses is easy if you've been through college. Where I'm confused is what specific companies (and industries) will hire me abroad as entry-level (whether they be located in the U.S. or my country of interest). I've been told it'd be best to go through U.S. companies, where I assume my pay would be the same (just in a different currency), no?

  9. #8

    Quote Originally Posted by paige1136 View Post
    Learning how to save on food and every-day expenses is easy if you've been through college. Where I'm confused is what specific companies (and industries) will hire me abroad as entry-level (whether they be located in the U.S. or my country of interest). I've been told it'd be best to go through U.S. companies, where I assume my pay would be the same (just in a different currency), no?
    Can't help you there, I worked for a startup and those are mainly the people I met.

    Those will definitely not pay you as much a U.S. Companies.

    If you manage to get a US salary working abroad as an expat than you have done well for yourself. At entry level, I doubt it though, sorry.

  10. #9

    Tech and gvernment positions (I know, I've looked).

    You do data analysis? You can probably land a job in Singapore. Interested in government work on military bases? Provided you've got the right clearance level (which can mean just a bachelor's degree and US citizenship in some cases), most anywhere.

    Other option is to check international companies. There are more travel opportunities with them. That being said, you'll probably have to be higher up than entry level, unless you are fluent in a foreign language.

    Oh, a last option is to just move somewhere and pick up a job. I knew people who just packed up and moved to China for six months and worked as dishwashers. Another friend moved to Japan and got a job at an international hostel. Granted, they aren't going to be high pay, and likely won't lead to a full career unless you're really good at selling yourself, but it is an option.

  11. #10

    Quote Originally Posted by Marlowe View Post
    Tech and gvernment positions (I know, I've looked).

    You do data analysis? You can probably land a job in Singapore. Interested in government work on military bases? Provided you've got the right clearance level (which can mean just a bachelor's degree and US citizenship in some cases), most anywhere.

    Other option is to check international companies. There are more travel opportunities with them. That being said, you'll probably have to be higher up than entry level, unless you are fluent in a foreign language.

    Oh, a last option is to just move somewhere and pick up a job. I knew people who just packed up and moved to China for six months and worked as dishwashers. Another friend moved to Japan and got a job at an international hostel. Granted, they aren't going to be high pay, and likely won't lead to a full career unless you're really good at selling yourself, but it is an option.
    Which international companies do you recommend, especially for someone at my level? I have a very precise location in mind, and it's not at a "hub" location like several Asian and European cities. With that said, there's definitely a presence with U.S. companies there. I don't care that much about the pay (as long as I can afford necessities every month).

    I've considered the option of just moving and taking a job that doesn't advance my career in any way (ie: help me gain relevant experience), but I worry that will hinder my career potential/advancement when I'm done, as opposed to benefit me.


     

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