You want to find a job overseas, but where do you work? What country, city, region, neighborhood? These tips on where to work overseas are based on my experience living in Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa for three years.
On my article about finding a job abroad, a reader asked a few excellent questions about where to work overseas. She asked about jobs in Africa, but these tips apply to people who want to work anywhere in the world.
If you have any questions on where to work overseas, please ask below. If I don’t have the answer, I can tweet your question…someone, somewhere will know something helpful. That’s the beauty of the internet
Tips on Working Overseas
If finding living overseas is your passion, I’m thrilled for you! I never felt more alive and excited about life than when I lived in Africa. My only regret about living and working in Africa is that I was afraid a lot of the time. I was never, ever under a direct threat of any kind of attack or violence, but I was unsettled and uncomfortable about being so far from Canada. Africa is a long way away (geographically, culturally, socially, economically, spiritually, professionally), and I was out of my comfort zone for the whole time. I didn’t trust God or lean on my faith nearly as much as I should have – or as I would have if I was working overseas today.
What is your source of peace and joy? One of the most important tips for working overseas is staying connected to your source of life. My source is God, and I let myself disconnect too often when I lived in Africa. Hence, my fear and anxiety. If you want to live and work overseas, you need to stay plugged in to a center of calm, security, and assurance.
Where to Work Overseas
Here’s my reader’s question:
I really want to move to Africa. I have a new baby though. I am also currently in college. Could you give any recommendations on what country to move to that is open minded? Also what jobs are usually open to Americans there?
Those are excellent questions about working overseas – and ones that are not easy to answer! Every African country is so different, and there are regions/provinces in each country that are more open minded than others. There are different neighborhoods in each city – some safer than others. And, things may change drastically by the time you get your college degree and are actually ready to move overseas. I think South Africa is open minded and quite modern – depending on where you live. Cape Town is beautiful, and safer than Pretoria and Jo’burg (although this is debated by many people!). It also depends on where in the city you live – I lived in Nairobi, Kenya, in a very safe part of the city. But crime happens everywhere, right? And there are periods of unrest in different parts of Africa, depending on the political and economic climate.
Watch the news – but talk to people there. My family lives in Jerusalem, Israel. I’ve been three four or five times, and never had a problem with violence. But if you watch the news, you have a totally different perspective about Israel! What you see on the news is not 100% representative of what is happening in that country. To get a balanced perspective of what working overseas is like, do NOT rely on the news.
Find blogs and forums for people who live and work where you want to go, and ask them for tips for working overseas. This is the best way to find work overseas, and to learn the inside scoop about a particular country.
If you want to work in Africa, read Moving to Africa? 10 Things You Need to Know.
Explore the US and Canadian embassy websites overseas. Sudan isn’t the safest country in Africa right now, as you’re probably aware. I have friends who desperately want to do missionary work in the Sudan, but the organization has pulled out of that country. It’s too dangerous! This is one case where the news and the organizations “on the ground” are in sync. Watching the news is a good way to start thinking about what African countries are safe to live and work in. But that’s just the first step; the next step is to research what the American government or embassy is saying about that country. Often, embassies share alerts and information about the countries they’re based in.
If I wanted to work overseas, I’d start by doing an internet search for my profession and a specific country. For instance, if I wanted to be a counselor to ex-pats in India (I’d LOVE that to get a job like that!), I’d search for “counseling jobs for ex-pats in India.” If I wanted to work as a teacher in Zanzibar (the most beautiful island in Africa), I’d search for “English teachers in Zanzibar.” It might be good to start with a general search “where to find work overseas” (which you’ve already done, because that’s how you found me!), and narrow it down from there.
Do you know what career or job you want to work at overseas? If not – and if you’re introverted – read Best Jobs for Introverts and Quiet People.
I’d also search Google alerts for my profession and preferred destination. I love Google Alerts – it gives you the most recent search results for a specific term. It’s like searching the internet, but it provides the most current results from blogs, websites, internet forums, etc. Search for the job you want and the country you want to work in. Do a fresh search every couple of days, so you get the latest tips on where to work overseas. You can even set a Google Alert on your search terms (such as “working overseas”), and get the results emailed to you.
Working overseas was the best thing I ever did. I love my husband, my dogs, my blogs, and my God…but living in Africa was the deepest, richest, most painful, best experience of my life. I hope you get to experience it!
I welcome your thoughts on where to get a job overseas below. I’m sorry I don’t have more specific answers or tips on exactly where to work overseas, but I’d need to write a book! Speaking of books on living and working overseas…
The Big Guide To Living And Working Overseas: 3,045 Career Building Resources is a fantastic resource on where to work overseas. Don’t rely on the internet. There are hundreds of valuable resources for finding work abroad online, but don’t limit yourself to one source of information.
If you’re making a major career transition, read 7 Cautions for a Career Change at 40.