Centre for International Programs
A Condensed Guide to
Why Work Abroad?
Top 5 Reasons for Working Abroad (Monster.ca):
2. Global Perspective
Find out about life outside Canada.
3. Career Growth
Learn new skills that look great on a resume; many
employers are looking for international experience.
Gain new insights into your life, challenge yourself.
5. Language Skills
Improve your language skills or learn a new
Am I ready for this?
10 questions to ask yourself.
1. Are you interested in meeting people from other cultural and
2. How do you cope with uncertainty, canceled plans, lack of
3. How do you react when you are asked to complete a task
differently from how you normally do it?
4. Do you like trying new foods, new experiences?
5. How do you feel when you can’t understand the language being
spoken? How do you react? Are you open to learning a new
6. Are you flexible and open-minded?
7. Have you travelled before?
8. Are you comfortable being away from home/family/friends for a
long period of time?
9. How do you react when you’re under stress?
10. Are you a risk taker?
What’s my motivation?
Why do I want to work abroad?
Where do you want to work abroad? Why?
How long do I want to work abroad?
What type of experience am I looking for?
What are my expectations?
What skills do I have to offer an employer?
What am I expecting to gain from my work abroad experience?
How much money do I expect/need to earn? Do I have the financial means to
Will my work abroad fit with my long-term career goals?
How important is this to me?
Do I have the qualifications for the employment I’m seeking?
Take this test of your Globe Hopper IQ:
Help Wanted: An employee with the
Most experts (and CIP) agree that the characteristics and skills
most necessary for a successful work/study/volunteer abroad
Sense of Humour
Ability to adapt to new situations/handle stress
An open mind
Sense of adventure
Willingness to learn new ways of doing things
Some Myths about Living and
(Adapted from The Big Guide to Living and Working Overseas, 4th Edition, 2004, Jean-Marc Hachey)
International living is exciting and exotic.
International work involves a lot of travel with time to explore new
Living overseas is dangerous and involves substantial health risks.
The work I find frustrating at home will be more interesting overseas.
I can escape my problems by moving overseas.
International development work is very rewarding and I will make a
difference in the country I work in.
International jobs pay extremely well and I will save much of my salary.
The job search is the same for a domestic job as it is for an
Some of your options:
What is an internship?
An internship is an entry level position in a professional field.
International internships are a great way to build your international
resume and develop new skills, either during or after your academic
An internship usually has a duration of a month to a year.
Internships can be unpaid, charge a fee, or have a salary – they are
not a way to make money quickly.
What you will get out of an internship:
Practical experience and knowledge in your field of work
Cross-cultural communication skills
Experience living abroad
International work experience for your resume
Contacts to help you find international work
Where to find international internships:
The Government of Canada, all part of the Youth Employment Strategy (YES):
Young Professionals International Program (FAC): 400 internships/each year, mainly
Environment Canada’s International Environmental Youth Corps Program:
International Youth Internship program (CIDA): 400 internships/year, mainly with NGOS.
NetCorps Canada International: 250 volunteer internships/year, all in information and
communication technologies. (http://www.netcorps-cyberjeunes.org/)
Canadian Heritage and Parks Canada’s Young Canada Works (YCW):
The United Nations Association in Canada Junior Professional Consultants (JPC)
AIESEC: Global Internship program; Management, Technical and Development.
Build your own internship within a private company; network and sell your skills
The United Nations: jobs.un.org
IAESTE: The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical
Experience. You must be studying engineering, technical science or technology such as
architecture, agriculture or forestry. (http://www.queensu.ca/iaeste/)
English as a 2nd Language
English has become the language of business, technology, science and
Most demand for English teachers abroad is in Asia, Latin America and
Can teach English abroad with much less experience than required of
many other international jobs.
Many positions require an undergraduate degree; may require TEFL
(Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or other certificates and
degrees in teaching English.
The salary and compensation varies by country and organization.
Types of teaching jobs vary: Volunteer at an NGO, Private Schools,
Private Tutoring, Language Schools.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!
Talk to others who have taught English abroad to find out the reputation
of the companies you are considering.
What are NGOs?
Volunteer agencies with many different affiliations; religious, professional, research and operate
on a non-profit basis.
Funded through government, private business and public support.
Because of limited funding available to NGOs, you must be able to sell yourself as a highly
motivated and skilled individual.
Many jobs with NGOs are limited contracts contingent on funding available.
A requirement of many overseas placements is previous overseas employment.
Where to start:
Learn about the area of the world where you would eventually like to work.
Build your resume with international volunteering, study abroad and internships.
Get involved in Canada; volunteer with organizations in your community and on campus.
Diversify your skills; NGO’s need employees who can do a little bit of everything!
Research, research, research: Just because an organization is non-profit and has a
motivation to help others doesn’t mean it’s a great place to work.
Short-term International Work
Can be a great way to make money to fund your
Less competitive than full time work.
Looks great on a resume: You’re independent, open
to learning new ways of doing things, a risk taker.
Experience living as a local instead of as a tourist.
You will have enough money to pay for your flight,
visa, and living expenses until you find a job.
It is your responsibility to find work.
Short term International Work
International Youth Programs: A Short-Term Holiday visa (2 months – 2
years). See the world and earn money at the same time! The
Government of Canada has negotiated reciprocal temporary work
permits with close to 40 countries for Canadians between the ages of
18 and 35. (http://www.international.gc.ca/123go)
SWAP program: Student Work Abroad Program, administered by
Travel Cuts. Helps with Visa and offers assistance overseas finding
work and accommodation. (www.swap.ca)
Working Holiday Programs
Young Workers Exchange Programs
Student Work Abroad Programs
Building your Career Internationally
Start now! Research countries and the type of work
(Private, Public or Non-Profit) you are interested in.
Complete your degree; consider a Masters degree
Volunteer, Study, Internship or Work abroad short-
term to build your international resume.
Gain experience in Canada by volunteering in your
Develop other skills; leadership/management,
organizational, intercultural communication,
computer, research, writing
Learn a language
What’s the next step?
Start early: An international (and local!) job search can take anywhere from 6-
Self Evaluation: Learn about yourself; what skills can you market to a potential
Research: The country/region and organizations where you would like to work,
what type of work is available, international Job postings.
Network: Talk to friends, family members, professors, anyone who may be able
to help you with contacts within an organization or the field of work you are
researching. Research how networking is done in the culture you are interested
Build: An International CV. Every country expects different information on your
CV. Some employers will expect a photo attached to your CV and information
such as your date of birth, nationality and marital status to be included along
with your address. What language does your CV need to be in? What size of
paper should it be on?
Investigate: How interviews are conducted in the country you are hoping to
work in – do you bring your references, who speaks first, what do you wear,
what type of questions are typically asked? You may be surprised at the
questions that aren’t considered “off limits” in an interview.
Co-operative Education and Career Services, 3rd level, UC: Take workshops on
networking, interviewing, resume building
Venture Abroad Website, offered by Co-op and Career Services; has
international job listings: http://www.cecs.uoguelph.ca/home/
The Big Guide to Living and Working Overseas, 4th Edition, Jean-Marc Hachey
The Global Resume and CV Guide, Mary Anne Thompson
The Global Citizen: A Guide to creating an International Life and Career,
Work Abroad: The Complete Guide to finding a Job Overseas, Clayton Hubbs
Best Resume and CVS for International Jobs: Your Passport to the Global Job
Market, Ronald L. Krannich, Wendy S. Enelow
jobera.com: Lists examples of CVs from countries around the world.
labourmobility.com: Provides information on interviewing, CVs and networking in
Transitions Abroad Magazine: Great articles on working, volunteering and
studying abroad. www.transitionsabroad.com
Interviewing Across Cultures Article:
Monster.ca’s International Information: http://international.monster.ca/