Blog Six Ways to Use Your Existing Career for a Move Abroad

Six Ways to Use Your Existing Career for a Move Abroad


Expat employment options for career professionals or freelancers to explore opportunities abroad

In recent years, we’ve witnessed a noticeable shift in the way people work, and it has been accompanied by a fresh new perspective on the workspace and employment options.

The pandemic was a catalyst that helped many employees and employers realize that work no longer needs to come in the form of a commute, cubicle, 9–5, rinse and repeat!

Moreover, this has also fueled curiosity and desire for 100% work-from-anywhere options that have fostered the narrative of working within your own dedicated workspace while perhaps seeing the world.

In the latter part of 2020, all generations of employees, particularly Generation X and Millennials, found themselves in a sea of other applicants. They were all vying to get into a remote-first company that offered work-life balance, a great salary, a flexible working schedule, and a dedicated team of like-minded globetrotters from across the world.

However, it didn’t take long for many employment seekers, like myself, to realize that many other applicants were seeking the same rare employment opportunities. This trend meant steep competition and a time-consuming process.

In my case, I have been working full-time in my career for a decade across six countries in my chosen profession of higher education. I only became remote in 2019 as an entrepreneur, then continued in 2020 when a mandatory lockdown was imposed and working from home was required for my new university position. While I am searching for a new position with an academic institution in an onsite or hybrid capacity, I have continued to be employed by shifting to being an entrepreneur using my expertise while being on the move around the world.

In contrast and not to be deterred, an acquaintance and aspiring expat (then) created a path and plan to get back to seeing the world while working from the convenience of her laptop. She was happy to report that she will finally be moving out of the country after two years of attending countless remote-work conferences, researching, and applying for remote job opportunities.

As you can see, both of us have taken different pathways to work and living globally; it also means you can create your unique journey to employment internationally.

Read on to learn about six different employment options that will allow you to use your existing career for a move abroad:

Organization/Company Transfer

If you are currently employed by an organization or company that has offices abroad, your answer to living and working overseas may be closer than you think. It’s not uncommon for large companies to want a native presence in their office locations in other countries and the benefits of relocation are usually quite generous. Accommodations, flights, and relocation services are often offered as a package deal to employees who are willing to transfer and brave work life in another country for the same employer.

New Hire/Employee to New Organization

Many organizations/companies have returned to onsite or hybrid schedules now that the worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us.

So if your goal is to move to a country and work in their onsite office, with open borders, the possibilities are returning. Also, if you prefer to split your time, then you could negotiate a hybrid scenario but still have the work-from-home option while living in your new country abroad.

Such concepts are more suited for the corporate setting. However, it still remains possible to obtain new employment opportunities with remote-first companies.

Contrary to belief, remote-first companies are not exclusive to the tech industry and their foundations are built on allowing their employees to work from anywhere in the world.

You should take care to differentiate these types of companies from other employers that allow their employees to work from home but will not allow work to be done from outside of the country of residence.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy to detect when a company simply states that they allow “work from anywhere” on a job posting. However, an easy way to decipher would be to look exclusively for companies that identify as remote-first companies. Also, always do additional research.

Contracted Work/ Projects / Freelance / Contractor

Contracted work usually comes in the form of a project or freelance opportunity with start and end dates or they can be open-ended. Most contracted work opportunities do not withhold taxes for the individual providing the services, which is in contrast to traditional employment. Since you will be responsible for your own taxes as a contractor or freelancer, this classifies you as self-employed.

In most cases, you will be allowed to work remotely from anywhere unless otherwise stated. There are also remote contracting opportunities for those with highly sought after skills, such as consulting, training, project management, accounting, marketing, graphic design, copywriting, social media management, and tech support.

If you have any of these skills or similar, then you may want to consider becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business. You will be able to offer these digital services online to clients while working from the comfort of your laptop.

Government / Non-Governmental (NGO) Positions

Have you ever dreamed of living the life of a diplomat while working for your country at your embassy overseas? Although diplomats are required to pass the Foreign Service Officer Test, working for your government is more than being in the diplomacy service. There are many other job positions within your country’s embassy or government-based agencies abroad that are seeking expertise for their structures.

Additionally, joining a non-governmental organization (NGO) offers a way to travel to another country while helping other nations through development and humanitarian efforts. Visit the Relief Web for a list of opportunities where you can use your expertise to support other countries while working towards a sustainable global need.

Consulting — With a Consulting Firm or Independent in Your Expertise

Offering consulting services is very similar to being a contractor or freelancer in a field of your own expertise. As a consultant, you join a firm to add to its expertise while offering or expanding on an existing one. The other side is to be independent using your honed skills and knowledge of your specialty to attract clients. There are small and large companies that are willing to pay you for your expertise and time to strategically recommend, solve or manage a project for them.

A consultancy can be remote or onsite. In the latter, it often means travel and accommodation perks that could lead to a global location. What services could you offer as a consultant? If you’re not sure, start by thinking of what people usually come to you for when they need help.

Teaching or Administration for K-12 and Higher Education

Teaching and administration opportunities for K — 12 and higher education exist all throughout the globe. If you are in the teaching or administration fields in your home country, then it may be worth exploring and learning about opportunities that exist within other educational systems globally.

Teaching in the K-12 system in most locations will require some level of approved certification, while teaching in the higher education system requires a special degree in the subject matter. Both systems will require previous work experience.

Higher education administrators can use their skills, experience, and transferable best practices expertise as the foundation for applications.

While in the K-12 systems, you will need experience and transferable best practices, you may also be required to have an administrator certification or training.

It’s also worth noting that there is a large demand for teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) online to students throughout Asia, South America, Europe, and more. Furthermore, if you’re a native English speaker, then you already have a skill that can be used to obtain remote income just for speaking an international language by default.

While most online programs or independent clients might not require training or certification for teaching ESL, having it could be an advantage for your income or if you want to transfer into an onsite or school setting.

Are you a teacher or administrator looking for ways to expand your career or full-time employment opportunities abroad?

Remember that seeking full-time employment in another country does come with a hiring process and it may be different from the one you know.

It is essential that you do your research on the process and prepare a portfolio to match. If you are unsure or need some help, you can hire a career coach that works with aspiring expats or international remote employees.

It is my hope that this article was able to provide you with some useful ways and tips to pursue your career or full-time employment opportunities abroad. Working abroad may require you to step outside of your comfort zone to explore conventional or less conventional options that are rewarding in many ways. Remember that there is a whole different world, work style, and way of life waiting for you on the other side.

Co-authored with Sierra Merritt


Here we share helpful resources to get you started. Plus, if you are in higher education, connect with us to get step-by-step assistance with designing your international career path.

If you would like to learn more about how to use or transition your current career to another country, visit our Become an Expat Page.


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