Working Abroad

Explore new worlds

An international job can mean working in a country abroad, working for an international company in the United States or working in a job that requires global travel.  If you're considering an international career, you should ask yourself some questions first:

Why are you interested in an international career?

Consider your answer to this question carefully. Not only will it help guide your job search, it will also prepare you for the interview process. Ask yourself:

  • What is my purpose for wanting to go abroad? (travel, new experience, build a career) 
  • What do I rate as most important? (job, location, pay) 
  • Why am I drawn to an international career? (emphasize the positives)
  • What do I hope to achieve?

What skills do you have?

Communicate your value to prospective employers by emphasizing the skills you bring to the table. Hiring an employee from a foreign country can be a considerable risk for any organization, so it's important to demonstrate your value and commitment. Some helpful skills and personality traits may include:

  • Technical skills in engineering or computer science
  • Experience working in cross-cultural environments
  • Fluency in multiple languages
  • An adventurous spirit
  • Interest in learning new things
  • Demonstrated initiative and drive
  • Flexibility, adaptability, and tenacity

Quick tip

 

The University Career Center offers 2 courses related to exploring careers working abroad. LA&S 480: Preparing for International Careers is part of the study abroad program, and enrolled students can travel to Costa Rica or London. LA&S 485: Global Career Management focuses on cross-cultural communication and the global economy.
Resources to start your search
Tips for finding internships abroad
  • Ask friends and family - If you have friends or family in that country, as them for organizations with quality reputations.
  • Use Idealist - Idealist.org's International Volunteerism Resource Center can help find nonprofit or NGO internships abroad; AIESEC is also a great organization offered at KU for finding opportunities.
  • The KU Office of Study Abroad offers internship programs in a variety of locations including Dublin, IrelandLondon, EnglandMadrid, SpainShanghai, China; and Sydney, Australiamore information.
  • Do you qualify?--Make sure you have or can get the proper visa/work permit to do an internship abroad; Going Global is a resource that can assist you with this.
  • Prepare - Allow 6 to 12 months for the internship search, hiring process, and paperwork involved in working abroad.
  • Find out your credit options - Ask the University Career Center and your academic department how you can receive KU credit for your internship in case it is required by the organization.
Tips for evaluating internship experiences abroad
  • Quick response - If the organization doesn't respond within 2 days of contact, they will probably give you a headache down the road.
  • Ask other students - Try to track down other students who have interned with the organization and make sure they had a positive experience.
  • Break down the cost - If the organization charges a fee, ask where that money goes and make sure it sounds reasonable.
  • Compare comparable companies - If this organization charges far more or far less than other comparable programs, that should present a red flag.
  • Orientation - Ask how long the program's orientation lasts, and think about whether you consider that ample to feel comfortable in your new country.
  • Support - Ask what protocol the organization has in place should something go wrong, for example, your housing becomes unsafe or you need medical attention.
  • Ask United Way - Ask that country's United Way about the organization to gain a sense of the organization's reputation.
  • Do your research - Search the company's name to find articles, blogs, etc. related to the organization or other people's experiences.

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We'd love to assist you with your career development process!

The University Career Center is open Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.

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University Career Center
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More than 500 students enroll in career classes annually
Each year more than 7,500 jobs and 1,400 internships are posted in KU Career Connections
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More than 360 organizations attended University Career Center career fairs the past academic year
More than 10,000 students attended University Career Center workshops in 2012-13