PART TWO: Acquiring International Experience

Do you have advice from young people who have gone abroad?

Hi Katie,

Absolutely! Throughout MyWorldAbroad you’ll find quotes and sample applications from students who have successfully lived, worked, interned, volunteered or traveled abroad. And we’ve collected over 70 Q&As with them in our popular Stories from Abroad section. We are sure that you’ll find plenty of inspiration in this section. And when you have your own adventure abroad, we hope you contribute your story to the section! See the full collection here.

Good luck!

Jean-Marc

Do I need to learn languages before traveling?

Hi Chris,

You can probably make your way through much of the world by communicating with basic English, or by simply using gestures and other signals to make yourself understood. But it’s much more satisfying when you can go beyond the basics and talk to locals in their own language. And in most European countries, you will find that they appreciate it when visitors make the effort.

Are there any free volunteer summer programs to go abroad with?

There are fewer and fewer free volunteer NGO experiences to be had. Students almost always have to pay an NGO or a private company to find a volunteer placement position abroad. Some NGOs (especially faith-based NGOs) require that you fundraise to meet your travel and accommodation expenses. Students can save money if they arrange their own placement directly with a third-world NGO, but this is only recommended for those who are very independent and have a high degree of risk tolerance.

After volunteering in Africa, how can I return and work as a professional?

Hi Ali,

Sounds like you’re looking to start an international career. That’s great! Trust me, it is an incredibly satisfying way to live and work. International careers are built step-by-step, as you build up your international credentials.

International employers hire people with high International IQs. You need to assure your future international employers that you understand the cross-cultural workplace and that you have the skills to navigate and be successful when working in places that are different from your home.