If you're interested in living abroad for any reason or any length of time - from becoming an expat to volunteering or teaching English for a few months - this is the forum to discuss it. Learn about TEFL, Peace Corps, international volunteer organizations and corporate opportunities. Discuss visas, logistics of moving overseas and how to work 'under the table'.

who here has worked abroad?


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Joined: August 3rd, 2005

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  • Added on: November 25th, 2005
I'm testing my idea that teaching english is the most feasible way of doing this...and that even on a site filled with people who love to travel, not so many have actually done it because it's generally pretty difficult.

As I'm an American, I would be most curious to hear from non-Eu people who have worked abroad - it can be as brief or detalied as you'd like but can you just mention:

what you did?
how you were paid/visa issues? (legally, in kind/in exchange for room and board, on a student exchange visa like bunac)
how you came upon this job?

For me:
Bosnia, Hungary, Slovenia

taught english, some proofreading

generally had a work permit/paid through a bank account

found the jobs independently - searching online or in travel books or via networking.

The one time I volunteered in exchange for room and board was in India and it was just very disorganized and not productive...
Make cay, not war - Kesmen

Tracy Ann

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Gotta love the GB
Posts: 1411
Joined: February 27th, 2005

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  • Added on: November 26th, 2005
Internship in Irish Parliament, in Dublin, Ireland (duh), it was through school, didn't need permits and such. Non-paid position.

Marketing for a fitness products company in Sydney. Got through connections in the fitness industry, cash-in-hand (thus, no visa problems)

Waitress/bartender in Sydney, paid BUNAC to sponsor me for a 4 month work Visa. BUNAC was useless other than the face that it was the only way I could get my visa. Paid through local bank acct. Oh, found the job on a bulletin board in Sydney.
"Life is a runaway train you can't wait to jump on..." -Sugarland


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Extra Pages in Passport
Posts: 3123
Joined: January 21st, 2004

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  • Added on: November 26th, 2005
where: Brisbane, Oz
what: acting for a university corporate video (short gig, 2 hours but at $20/hr, can't beat that!) -- easiest job in my entire life
how was I paid: cash in hand, off the records
how I came upon this job: went to an international students BBQ and was hired on the spot

was also offered potential parts in movies about the Maori (they needed dark skinned extras), but was about the time that I was leaving the country, so never did it.

Club 333

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Guidebook Dependent
Posts: 24
Joined: January 7th, 2005

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  • Added on: November 27th, 2005
For me

6 months in London on BUNAC.

I worked a Westminster Abbey.

It is was an interesting place to work.

I was sad when it was all over.
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." Jimi Hendrix


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Extra Pages in Passport
Posts: 3368
Joined: August 28th, 2005
Location: Zürich

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  • Added on: November 28th, 2005
4 month student internship in London (BUNAC) which turned into an additional three years after finishing school six months later.

i've been working in Switzerland for the past 4.5 years, except...

the past few months volunteering in Thailand.

All of this work has been in software development.
"No. I was talking about the hooker in Reno" -- BostonBill @ the BOOTCOM10 Hostel


Lost in Place
Posts: 75
Joined: November 11th, 2005

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  • Added on: December 22nd, 2005
australia - just turned up
germany - just turned up
thailand - just turned up
bangladesh - headhumted in a pub in bangkok
indonesia - arranged in advance
malaysia - ditto
pakistan - ditto
indonesia - ditto

With the Wild Wind

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Thorn Tree Refugee
Posts: 2
Joined: January 6th, 2006

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  • Added on: January 11th, 2006
I have lived and worked in Poland for a year and a half, allowing me to travekl easily and incredibly cheap, while working comfortable hours and getting paid heavily,

I am an american who came across teaching english on the internet, go to either esl.com or daveseslcafe.com tefl.com etc.. etc... etc....

I took a tesol course in krakow for one month and got my tesol certificate which is useful and accepted literally around the world, although the job i work now does not require any kind of certificate,

I teach the callan method in Bielsko Biala, very structured, little or no preperation, mostly afternoon work and every other weeken, but time off is no problem if you give warning, i make 30 zl an hour, which amounts to about 10$ an hour, which in poland allows me to live like a king and party every night, while still haveing enough to travel by train or bus or plane to anywhere in eyrope just for 3 or 4 days,

hope this has been useful,,, good luck,




Sky Annie

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World Citizen
Posts: 1387
Joined: March 16th, 2002
Location: here

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  • Added on: January 11th, 2006
Australia - working holiday visa. Visa process took about 3 weeks. I got jobs through temp agencies, word of mouth, hostels and named referral.

Australia - student visa. Visa process took closer to 6 months and cost close to $1,000 including the medical certificate. I got work from a job I had held there previously. Totally different position than the crappy one I had before - it actually required some skill.

UK - knew someone who knew someone... No visa involved.

Keep in mind, I'm Canadian.
"Fate loves the fearless." - James Russell Lowell

Riley Lewis

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Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 116
Joined: November 5th, 2005

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  • Added on: January 11th, 2006
Where: Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand
What: Volunteer dentist
How: I just e-mailed a lot of hospitals and orphanages and offered my services. They were really happy to hear from me. Loads of people didn't have a place to accomodate me, but I would go anyway to visit the kids (no dental work, just say hello)
Didn't get paid, as it was volunteer.

Though, if you are interested in working, you can go to http://www.christinanobel.com; it's an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh city, vietnam. They hire a lot of people to work there 6 months at a time. There was a Canadian girl who worked there as an arts teacher when I was there going my volunteer work. She didn't get paid too much, but it was enough to get her a pretty slick gaff in the city!

Jet programme is an easy bet. I had about 4 mates from Canada go off to Korea and japan to teach English with them. They loved it, and the money was good too.


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Street Food Connoisseur
Posts: 526
Joined: January 29th, 2004

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  • Added on: January 12th, 2006
Where: Germany
How long: 3 years
What: Accounting

It was a loooonng time ago.....late 70s. I was a military dependant (spouse not child) so there were a lot of opportunities for government and non govt jobs related to the military.
o o
..~ ~ |
[(o o)]J

Laurie in africa

Lost in Place
Posts: 69
Joined: October 28th, 2005

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  • Added on: January 12th, 2006
Ireland - 3 months - work visa through SWAP - worked in crappy pubs and some telemarking. Barely enough money to live, paid above board.

Uganda - current - 6 month internship through Canadian International Development Agency - working at a university - standard stipend and free accommodation at the university is a lot of money for here. Boring job, but saving lots to travel East Africa


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Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
Posts: 388
Joined: March 7th, 2003

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  • Added on: January 15th, 2006
I worked for a US-based bank in London for 8 months, but I was basically seconded: working for the US entity out of London, rather than working for the UK-based entity. This meant that I had an employer-sponsored visa, but UK tax obligations weren't my concern - the company paid them & I paid the US. I was working as an international relocations specialst, so if anyone wants to come to the US, esp. NYC, feel free to drop me a line.


Guidebook Dependent
Posts: 16
Joined: January 15th, 2006

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  • Added on: January 16th, 2006
It is fairly easy to find work on yachts. The pay is good, even just for daywork. Fort Lauderdale, Florida is a good place to start. $10 to $15/hour to start and you can probably get experience on the job.
Secure computing on the road: http://www.linuxfortravelers.com


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Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 205
Joined: September 9th, 2005

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  • Added on: March 8th, 2006
NZ - Odd jobs: gardening, WWOOFing, hostels. Just asked around.

China - English teacher. Dave's ESL cafe.

Vietnam - Divemaster. Took the diving courses with the shop and just never left.

Cyprus - Diving instructor. PADI job boards.

Egypt - Diving instructor. Emailed every dive shop in Egypt asking for work.
- Shopkeeper. Friend of a friend.
- Model. Friend of a friend.
- Recruiter. Friend of a friend.
- Well, you get the idea Smile

None of these jobs have been strictly "legal"; I've never had a work permit. But, generally, a company that's willing to hire you without a permit is willing to take care of the consequences. (Almost no one in the diving industry works legally, outside of the US and Caribbean.) Generally, finding work isn't that hard; the biggest part of it is just being there.
"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm." - Colette


Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 117
Joined: April 6th, 2003

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  • Added on: March 10th, 2006
I've been working in Spain as a English language teaching assistant.

I found the job through the US Embassy.

It's ok, I'm in Sevilla, and things in Andalucia move slower than in other parts of the country, and it took us three months to get paid.

But, I have a visa and am here legally, with health and dental insurance, so that's great.


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