Many consider that to travel, study or move abroad is a dream opportunity. Many of those who go through all the needed procedures and finally move abroad will hear someone tell them how lucky they are for doing so. Personally, I don’t think it’s luck, I think it’s more of an opportunity some choose to create. Whether it’s for studies, for work, or for traveling, everybody has, at some point or another, had the possibility of going abroad; it’s just that not all decide to go for it.
In this article, we’ll be speaking about these possible reasons for going abroad, how to make them a reality and how to prepare for them.
If You Want to Travel or Move Abroad? Here’s How to do it!
Why Are You Going to Travel or Move Abroad?
As I said above, everyone has the opportunity to travel, study or move abroad, but not everyone makes an effort to make it a reality; and making an effort requires a plan. All those who go abroad can be regrouped in one (or more) of these three groups: some who do, do it as part of their studies, some find a job (probably to move abroad permanently), and some simply wish to visit the country.
- For an academic exchange in Europe, you may be illegible to go with the exchange program from Erasmus+ which will allow you to study from 6 months to a year in a European university without paying any university fees (except for the ones for your university in your home country) while having a scholarship. The Erasmus+ scholarship is paid out automatically, and its amount varies depending on the costs of the host country (between €150 and €300 a month). The Erasmus+ program gives you the right to other entitlements for local public transportation, it’s up to you to check with the university.
Please note: recently, the Erasmus+ program (which has replaced Erasmus) not only allows students to go, but also teachers, professors and other university staff, and youth workers. Find out more here.
- For an academic exchange outside of Europe. Unfortunately, most of the times, you will have to pay inscription fees yourself for the university you choose—fees which, depending on the country, can be high; but even then, there are scholarships you could get from your country or state—. For example, the Crepuq program helps students go study in Canada. You can easily find programs to go study outside of Europe yourself. Searching on the internet for “study in (insert country)” will give you immediate result. The requirements aren’t always evident, but, if you’re motivated enough, you can find all the information you need online and with the help of your professors.
- Do an internship abroad: as part of your studies, you might have to do an internship. Why not do it abroad? Of course, one of the conditions for doing an internship abroad is to know at least a bit of the language. To help you with this, our apps could be of help.
For the rest, you can:
1. find more information on websites, such as gooverseas, which offer their help for doing internships abroad
2. find out more about internships at your university. Even if they don’t have any internships to offer, they may have contacts of companies abroad who have already had interns, or they may know of internships
3. contact companies from your country with international branches yourself.
Please note: interns aren’t always paid. But, even if you aren’t, you could find out if you could receive financial help by the country of residence.
So, you’d like to move abroad (if so, this article will be very useful for you!)? In this case, the obvious thing is that you’re going to have to look for a job. Because thinking of leaving, taking your family, belongings, and finding a job right there, is somewhat risky. Do know that depending on your destination, obtaining a working permit in the host country can be something which requires months. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to find a job, or which will at least point you in the right direction, much before you start packing your bags. Let’s see some of them:
- Getting on board with programs such as VIE (Volunteer for International Experience), which, between you and me, has nothing to do with being a volunteer because you normally get paid proportionally with the cost of life in the country, get a place to stay, and maybe even plane tickets.
Jobs go abroad is a website which helps you search jobs abroad by locations or by types of job (for those who don’t really mind where they go!). Through this website, you can apply for jobs, and find all the help needed in terms of paperwork.
- The Working Holiday Visa (WHV) is, as its name suggests, a visa which allows you to travel and work abroad for an entire year in certain countries. Which countries, you ask? Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Japan, South Korean, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Chile, Colombia, Brazil (not available just yet), Mexico, Uruguay, Belgium and Russia. Of course, this list is getting longer and longer by the year.
The WHV, depending on the host country, allows you to work legally in a country for 1 to 2 years and to freely travel in and out the country as often as you wish. The costs of the paperwork and of the trip all depend on the country. Even the method for applying for a WHV depends on the country. To go to Canada, for example, it can all be done online, but when it comes to Argentina (where I got to go), you have to have a paper file which you have to send to the embassy at least 30 days before departure. So, make sure you are find out everything that is needed for applying to work in the country of your choice, as well as the requirements for getting this visa. The WHV can be a wonderful opportunity for living, traveling and working abroad.
- Being an English teacher. Needless to say that English is highly sought around the globe. And although most schools/universities in the world have English teachers, most don’t have native English teachers. The TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate is a great solution for native English speakers who enjoy teaching and want to move abroad. You’ll be shocked by the amount of job offers you’ll be able to apply to with this certificate!
- Work as an au pair. This is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to go abroad with a job. The idea is to live with a family in a country which doesn’t speak English, they will take you in their house, feed you, pay you, and you will be in charge of staying with and teaching their children. Generally, this means teaching them English, but it can mean teaching other subjects, too. So, make sure you know all the details before you get into it. The only constraint to working as an au pair is to find a country where you won’t have a problem with visas.
Who has never dreamed of simply traveling abroad? However, you will obviously have to save up to visit a country. So, the country you choose will be highly dependent on your budget and how long you plan on staying. For example, if you are from Ireland, Asia might be a better choice, if you plan on staying there for a few months or so (high ticket price, but low cost of living), but France might be better if you are only going there for a week (cheaper ticket price compensates for the high cost of living).
Once there, there are ways to bring the costs down to a minimum:
Platforms like Helpx. Such platforms are for me a true revolution as they allow you to find a small job in a company, at someone’s house or at a farm in exchange for a place to stay and/or food (depending on how much work you will have agreed to do). Generally, this type of exchange is not paid, but it is extremely rewarding as you completely immersed in the culture and language of the country all while possibly learning new skills, your hosts’s lifestyle, ways to work, etc. Helpx will help you find different hostels or farm businesses. You can access the website for a very low price and will be able to search places to stay by countries or type of work. There are many places to stay there, allowing you to easily find a host/employer.
Additional Info: What You Should Think of Before Leaving
Just as a reminder, here are the things you’ll have to think of before you leave:
- an international health insurance, because you want to be able to be treated in case of an emergency. Also, some programs, such as WHV, require travelers to have health insurance.
- a visa. Will you need a visa? How much will it cost and what do you need to apply for one?
Having a visa is of utmost importance because, apart from the WHV, none of the opportunities mentioned in this article include automatically obtaining a visa. So, let’s say you find a job as an au pair in France, you will still have to make sure you obtain a visa, which might be more complicated than getting the job itself
- the language. Don’t assume that because you speak English, everybody will understand you. Even if you’re going there to learn the language, it would be best if you know how to say at least something to be able to get by in a foreign country where not everyone speaks English. If you need a bit of help with this, you can download our free phrasebook to know the basics of the language and/or, if you want more, you can download our apps. I recommend learning as much of the language as possible before going, so that you can jump start to the more complicated things once there. After all, it would be a shame to spend a few months in a country learning something you could have done at home, instead of spending the same amount of time there and heading back home with an advanced level of the language!
I hope that after reading this article, you’ll go study, travel or move abroad. If you’ve just come back from a foreign country or are still there, don’t hesitate to share your experience with us in the comment section!
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This post is also available in French.