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Blog>Guides>Work Abroad for a Year: The Best Short-Term International Jobs

Work Abroad for a Year: The Best Short-Term International Jobs

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  • Discover the dream positions that can take you abroad
  • Explore positions that suit your skills and experience
  • Find the right position in a foreign country


The chance to work abroad can be a dream come true for many people. A short-term job, in particular, can give you the chance to work abroad while broadening your horizons and world outlook.

These types of jobs attract people from a number of backgrounds, including those who want to gain work experience during a gap year before college or immediately following graduation. Others may choose to go to a different country when they decide to change their career direction.

Working overseas doesn’t even require a permanent move to a new country. Many short-term international jobs can allow you to spend some time abroad. We’ll explore some popular options for short-term work overseas to help you find a position that will fit best.

The Benefits of International Job Experience

Finding an international job can offer a wide range of benefits that can help you throughout the rest of your career. Below are just a few that international job seekers can experience:

  • The chance to make global connections. Your professional connections can play an important role in the future of your career. Working abroad allows you to get to know people working in industries that interest you and find opportunities for interviews or references, which can help you land your next job. If you decide to remain in your new country, knowing professionals in the area can be a big help for landing your next position.
  • Experience a new culture. Working internationally allows you to experience a new culture. It can be a significantly different experience than traveling to a country just for pleasure or tourism. You’ll get to fully immerse yourself in the culture and have an opportunity to get to know residents on a more personal level.
  • Demonstrate to employers that you can handle big changes. Employers want a workforce of employees who can adapt to different situations and get along with people with different ways of working. Employees who’ve learned how to adapt to foreign work cultures, understand how to adjust their own work methods, and find solutions become valuable team players.
  • Build language skills. If you travel outside of the English-speaking world, you’ll also have a chance to practice and improve your language skills. You might even become proficient, which means you can list it prominently on your resume.

Top Short-Term International Jobs

We’ll explore some of the top jobs you might encounter as you look for an international short-term job. See which of these might best suit your interests and experience so you can put together the strongest resume possible.

Teaching English Abroad

Those who enjoy teaching might love the opportunity to travel to a non-English-speaking country and teach English. This type of position gives you the chance to work with students of all ages and backgrounds as they improve their English skills.

This can also be a great way to immerse yourself and put one of your assets — your native language — to use. Teaching jobs can also translate well into resume experience if you want to enter the profession when you come back to the USA.

Popular destinations to teach abroad dot Asia and Europe, with popular countries including:

  • Japan
  • China
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • France
  • Vietnam
  • United Arab Emirates

If you’re interested in teaching abroad, carefully explore the qualifications expected from applicants, as a certificate in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) might be required.

Hostel or Hotel Staff

If you have experience or an interest in working in the hospitality industry, there are a variety of short-term positions available. Working as hotel staff can give you a chance to experience the tourist industry as a local. This job can work particularly well if you enjoy working in a customer-facing position. Staff members often take care of a wide range of tasks, including cleaning, helping guests, and managing the overall guest experience.

Hospitality jobs are available around the world and are particularly important in cities with a thriving tourism industry such as Paris, Bangkok, London, and Singapore.

English can help you serve international visitors. However, certain hotel positions may also require you to have at least a working proficiency in the local language. Research local requirements and consider your preferred locations for hotel jobs carefully.

Au Pair

Those who enjoy working with children may find an au pair position fits them perfectly. Au pairs work similarly to nannies, taking care of the children in a family. An au pair, however, generally takes on a more intimate role with the family — living in their home and participating in family life.

You can improve your language skills if you live in a non-English-speaking country. You also have the chance to form tight bonds with your host family. Typically, you’ll receive a stipend along with housing and meals rather than just a salary.

The immersive experience of this job means it’s best for people who can easily adapt to new situations and feel comfortable adjusting to the lifestyle of their new family. Obviously, you also need to enjoy working with children.

Au pair positions are available around the world. Some popular countries to find an au pair position include Australia, France, the Netherlands, and China.

Cruise Ship Staff

Cruise ships offer a chance to see the world. You might find yourself landing in ports in areas such as Europe, the Caribbean, or up north to Canada and Alaska. You also get to meet passengers and fellow staff from around the world.

Working on a cruise ship calls for employees who are open to working long hours when the ship is out at sea. You’ll also have a number of rules to follow and small living quarters throughout your time at sea. However, if you’re open to these working conditions and see the excitement in sailing the world for work, this may be an excellent way to spend some time working abroad.

Tour Guide

Countries with strong tourism industries need tour guides, particularly during their busy seasons. Tour guides can work in a variety of environments in nearly every country on the globe. You might work in Thailand, South Africa, Bali, Ireland, New Zealand, or anywhere in between. Companies that hire guides might be based locally, or they might be located in another country.

The key characteristics that companies want to see in successful tour guides, though, are outgoing guides with great people skills. You need to be able to problem-solve on your feet and know what it means to deal with the public — including rude customers or getting the same question repeatedly.

Festival Staff

When festivals come to town, they also bring ample opportunities for short-term jobs. The hosting city will likely need to increase staff to accommodate the influx of tourists — not to mention the people running the actual festival.

If you have organizational and people skills, you might excel at this type of job. Pay attention to language barriers, however, as the employment organization will want to know that you can interact directly with local residents, if needed.

Ski Instructor or Snowboard Instructor

Ski or snowboard instructors can get jobs with ski resorts in a number of countries throughout the world. Areas with a thriving skiing or snowboarding culture want employees who can serve as staff and instructors. Of course, these types of jobs work best for those who have considerable skiing or snowboarding experience. Having patience for teaching and knowing how to explain the sport is also important.

These types of jobs can be found in areas such as Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, and Bulgaria. Depending on where you find a position, you may get to choose between full-time or part-time work.

Farm or Agriculture Work

Agricultural work can be a good fit if you want temporary work that will provide an income to support you while you explore the region. This type of work requires labor, though, so prepare to get physical. Numerous countries are looking for short-term workers who can help them harvest fruits, vegetables, and grains. This type of work also doesn’t typically require substantial training.

This type of work can be done by all types of travelers, such as backpackers looking for paid jobs or U.S. citizens interested in finding ways to combine work and travel. For example, in Australia, hostels team up with farms to find crews to help during harvest time.

Volunteer Abroad

Various organizations also offer adults the chance to bring some of their skills and expertise to volunteer abroad. Volunteering opportunities exist across North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia. This includes island areas of the Caribbean and Pacific.

The volunteer opportunities you can find will vary depending on your skill set and the type of work you want to do. You might find positions teaching English, working with the elderly, or helping the homeless, for example. These opportunities can also be very short-term, measured in just a week or a month, or they can last for closer to a full year.

Find the Best International Jobs on Joblist

To find the right position abroad, you need a job board you can trust. That means turning to Joblist. With an enormous index of open positions and the ability to customize your job results based on your preferences, Joblist makes it easy to find an international position.

Whether you want to find an internship, a year-long job, or temporary paid work, we can help you begin your search. Get started with your international job hunt right now!

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