money for living abroad?
February 23, 2007 11:53 AM   Subscribe

What are some sneaky ways to get paid to go to a foreign country? Ex: JET or French Assistantship

I understand that, in theory, I can just show up anywhere and find a job under the table or I can pay some agency $1000 in order to find me a job abroad. But are there other legitimate programs like JET or French Assistantship that will let me work somewhere in Europe, South America, Asia, or Australia?

I have seen University of Michigan's page and I know that the Peace Corps exists. But I am looking for more specific answers, perhaps even experiences.

In answers, keep in mind that I am an American citizen and will have a college degree (BA).
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel to Work & Money (18 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know from programs, but you can find a lot of job postings and general advice here.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:15 PM on February 23, 2007

If you're good with children, you can become an au pair. I found my job in Paris through great au pair
posted by logic vs love at 1:19 PM on February 23, 2007

Best answer: You've already seen the U-M page! You've stolen my automatic answer to these questions. :(

If you have recently graduated, you might be eligible for BUNAC. I've known people who have done that program - it goes to several English-speaking countries and people usually end up doing temp work or waiting tables, but it gives you an opportunity to make some money, so if you're not looking for something huge career-wise it usually seems to pay off and the people I've talked to have been happy. I've heard that Edinburgh is a nice place to go to do that - people don't necessarily think of it because they're all heading to London, but it's not as expensive to live in as London is. CIEE also offers a few teaching programs in interesting locations.

This is all hearsay! I did the France Assistantship myself. Thumbs up.
posted by srah at 1:21 PM on February 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Are you only interested in getting paid, or are you okay with simply receiving assistance with travel and accommodation?
posted by acoutu at 2:11 PM on February 23, 2007

I did it by finding a freelance job where they didn't care where in the world I was as long as I got the work done.

But the visas can be a pain this way.
posted by Ookseer at 2:57 PM on February 23, 2007

BUNAC can be great, but it's also a slight pain. I spent a year in New Zealand on the program. Having a work visa was amazing, but the fee seemed a bit steep, and the support they offer you is far less than they make it out to be. It's not technically getting paid to go to a foreign country - it's getting a visa that allows you to work legally in non-permanent jobs. For airfare, housing, and so on you're on your own. But if you're willing to pay them to sort out your visa, and you're willing to do the kind of short-term work you'll most likely find (I temped and worked in vineyards), you can save enough to travel around, and you'll have an amazing time.
posted by bassjump at 4:48 PM on February 23, 2007

Response by poster: I am interested in actually getting paid. I don't want to pay a fee greater than $150. I do not want the work visa to be a huge pain in the ass. I have seen the ESL cafe site - it looks like a great resource but I am looking for more specific rather than general advice.

srah: how did you like the French Assistantship program?
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 5:06 PM on February 23, 2007

Seconding bassjump. Did BUNAC in the late 80s and worked in London for six months, and um, overstayed another six months (a weekend jaunt to Amsterdam saved me - I re-entered with another six month entry stamp). Besides getting you the work permit, they really don't do much at all. But anyone who works abroad learns by the seat of their pants and the experience for me totally changed my life. I found work through temp agencies in London and rarely found myself twiddling my thumbs. I worked at the BBC and at major banks and financial institutions with some great perks. Loved, loved, loved that year!
posted by HeyAllie at 5:08 PM on February 23, 2007

Listen to Ookseer -- in addition to looking for country-specific work, also do everything you can to find telecommuting work. That's how I've been & will be able to do some really flexible travel (in the spirit of "travel anywhere that has cheap reliable internet").
posted by allterrainbrain at 8:28 PM on February 23, 2007

Ookseer and allterrainbrain: Just in case mustcatchmooseandsquirrel isn't interested in telecommuting work, could you please give some tips/hints on how people who are interested in it get started?

For the good of the thread, and for interested lurkers! (myself included)
posted by philomathoholic at 10:39 PM on February 23, 2007

logic vs love: Do you have a better link to something about "au pair" than the Wal-Mart Wii?
posted by philomathoholic at 10:41 PM on February 23, 2007

I went to London in 2002 on the BUNAC UK visa. I thought they were pretty helpful. I found a web design job through the board they have in their office in the city.

Most jobs overseas, you'll find that you need to be highly skilled and have a company sponsor you which is very difficult or you can come in through a short term visa and you have to find your own job.

Australia has a Skilled Migrant Visa that you can apply for. It's a long process though and you must have certain qualifications to be accepted.
posted by wilde at 11:39 PM on February 23, 2007

I wish I had known about that French Assistantship thing before I joined the JET program.

It's too late to apply for 2007-2008 JET, but there are private organizations like Interac if you want to teach in Japan but don't want to teach for an eikawa.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:03 AM on February 24, 2007

at the moment australia is booming in exports of natural resources, because of the chinese manufacturing boom. as a consequence, there are a lot of jobs in the mines and mining towns (cooking, cleaning, etc). if you want to see the real country, and don't mind some heat, get out to the west - they are paying some good money at the moment for unskilled ppl.
posted by edtut at 2:38 AM on February 24, 2007

philomathoholic: re. telecommuting, I found my best and best-paying telecommuting job (a year long, part-time) by searching for "telecommuting" on Craigslist New York. It would also be useful to think of (and google for) "freelancing," because unless you find a stable telecommuting job you'll have the best luck building a freelance practice in something you do or can teach yourself to do (web design, writing/editing, tech, etc.) Also search for "wahm" (= work at home mom) to find good telecommuting discussions & resources.
posted by allterrainbrain at 6:55 AM on February 24, 2007 [4 favorites]

Best answer: re: telecommuting:

I'm not sure how unique my experience is, but I do know two other people who have telecommuted for at least 6 months while traveling globally.

All of our jobs are internet or computer related (programming, design, development.) I've worked as a freelancer for more than ten years, but my current contract was for 18 months for a small completely Virtual company (they have no real office, just email and phone numbers.) To keep international call costs to a minimum we used Skype.

Freelance work can take more work to get but it will pay much more than many other jobs. (On my last trip I was offered a job teaching English. At 1/10 my freelance rate.) However in many countries you'll only get a travel/tourist visa which will keep you from renting most places, or even opening a bank account. (Again, depending on the country.) And you'll have to leave the country after 90 days, but typically you can come right back.

I also know a travel writer who has a brilliant job, but I think those jobs are very competitive and often require fluency in several languages.

On reflection, just about any kind of writer could work in another country, publishers don't care where the postmark comes from.

If you're not picky about your country you can try something like Peace Boat or just save up a few dollars and go somewhere really cheap (several southeast Asian countries and some of Africa comes to mind.)

In most of the countries I've visited you can get a job teaching English simply by having a 4 year degree in anything. See if any of the language schools in your area are international, then stop by and see if they are recruiting in other countries. It's not the best job, but they'll take care of the visa stuff and often give you a place to live and a decent amount of free time.
posted by Ookseer at 11:02 AM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

A few days late here, but I can't believe I linked to Wal-mart in my last comment. Oy. I found the family I ended up being an au pair for through great au pair. I didn't have to pay anything, and the au pair visa was easy to get and vaild for 18 months (iirc). I got room and board (in a seperate apartment), and a small salary. All in all, I think it's a great experience for someone who wants to live abroad, but of course, you've gotta be okay with kids and whatnot.
posted by logic vs love at 2:44 PM on February 27, 2007

Sorry - I haven't been back to the page to see I'd been asked a question!

The France Assistantship program was great. I was miserable half of the time and ecstatic half of the time, and in the end it all evened out - I grew from the bad times and have great memories of the good times. It taught me that I didn't want to be a teacher for the rest of my life (without wasting the time/money on a degree in Education) and gave me an opportunity to live in France while only working 12 hours a week, interact with people of a variety of ages and backgrounds, and live in an area I never even would have visited otherwise. You do have to be "proficient" in French for the program. This is the guide I made to the program. Contact me if you have any more questions, and check out the France Assistants page!
posted by srah at 11:15 AM on February 28, 2007

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