If you’re interested in working or volunteering abroad but don’t know where to start, here is a step by step guide to finding international opportunities that will develop your skills and experience, and get you a step closer to your dream job.
This guide is based on a presentation delivered by Diana Akinmboni and Sarah Hiscock from the Careers team, alongside the Global Opportunities team. If you want to receive alerts regarding future events, sign up to our newsletter here.
Step 1: Identify appropriate opportunities
Firstly, it is important to ask yourself these questions;
• What are your career aspirations?
• What skills and experience do you want to gain?
Reflecting on these questions will help you narrow down the kind of opportunities you should be looking for. There’s some great advice on the Goldsmiths website here and on the Prospects website that can help you to identify the jobs which would suit you.
Step 2: Identify the country
Once you have an idea of the kinds of opportunities you are looking for, it’s time to think about the country! Some things to consider:
• Are you learning a language? Working abroad could help develop your language skills.
• Is there a country with a culture you want to learn more about?
• For which countries is it necessary to have a visa to work?
• It’s also important to research local attitudes, especially if you’re concerned about facing discrimination.
Step 3: Identity the employer
Now you’ve identified the kinds of opportunities you’re looking for and the countries in which you want to work, you can start to narrow down potential employers.
• Take a look at their website and their social media. Do their values and mission match yours?
• Is the work they do of interest to you? Will it provide you with useful skills and experience?
If you’re looking to volunteer abroad, there’s some great advice on what to look for on the Goldsmiths website here.
There is also a list of websites hosting international work and volunteer opportunities on the Global Opportunities website here.
Step 4: Approach the employer
Now you’ve identified potential employers, it’s time to approach them and ask for an internship. There are three main approaches;
• The traditional approach; respond to advertised opportunities. Finding an advertised job means you can simply respond and apply. Make sure there’s a job description and any remunerations are confirmed.
• Non-Traditional (speculative); this involves approaching an organisation directly, usually over email or over the phone, and asking whether they have a suitable job for you. When contacting an organisation, you should send a cover letter and a CV.
• Social Media; another way of contacting organisations is through social media platforms such as LinkedIn. If your LinkedIn page is updated, it can function as your CV.
Step 5: Apply for funding
Once you have a placement confirmed, you can apply for funding from the Global Opportunities team to support any costs associated with working or volunteering abroad. For more information, visit the Work Abroad webpages.
Although the process of finding work or volunteer placements abroad can be lengthy, the benefits to your studies at Goldsmiths and future career are significant. We hope this guide has made the process seem less daunting!
For further careers advice, contact the Careers team at:
Tel: 020 7919 7137