For many students, there is little more exciting than a chance to study abroad. In fact, study abroad trips are often so influential that students are inspired after their stay to find a way back into the study abroad system. This typically means that they go back to school for a master’s degree and then land a job working with a study abroad agency.
This route doesn’t appeal to all students, however, and some are discouraged by the thought of more school just for a shot at working abroad.
If you want to work in the study abroad industry but aren’t ready to or interested in getting another degree, there are ways to do it, but it’s going to take work, and probably a few trips overseas on your own dime. Here are a few ways to work in study abroad that don’t involve a master’s degree:
1. Field Rep
A very common way to work in study abroad without pursuing a master’s degree is to work as a field representative for a study abroad company. Essentially, field reps for study abroad agencies make visits to campuses or take calls and answer every question an interested student or campus may have about a particular program. This can be a great opportunity for those who don’t want a master’s because it gives you the chance to both learn everything there is to know about study abroad programs and — more importantly — network with important study abroad employees. With enough gusto, you can network your way to a coveted study abroad office position.
2. Study Abroad Assistant
Though less glamorous and duller than the field rep position, working as an office assistant for a university’s study abroad program provides similar opportunities. You will learn a great deal about study abroad programs in general and will connect with some potentially helpful people. What’s more, many of these positions often offer some study abroad experience.
3. Temp Work
Temporary positions are fewer and farther between than the two preceding options, but can be more rewarding with a shorter time investment if you are willing to take the risk. Many study abroad programs need temporary coordinators or administrators to handle the large influx of students during peak enrollment periods. If you can make a great impression during your temporary employment, the office might consider putting you on full time. You really have to go above and beyond, though, and work incessantly to impress them without seeming sycophantic.
A last word…
Before you jump into applying for any of these positions, it is almost invariably beneficial for you to get some real world experience abroad if you don’t have any already. One of the most common reasons applicants (without a master’s) are turned away is that they lack the necessary cultural experience. So learn a language; get a job overseas; immerse yourself in a culture — be relevant.
It won’t be easy, but getting a study abroad job isn’t impossible if you are willing to invest some time and effort, and it could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
This is a guest post from Jacelyn Thomas. Jacelyn writes about identity theft protection for IdentityTheft.net. She can be reached at: jacelyn.thomas @ gmail.com.