The desire to help those in other countries is a noble undertaking. Many individuals commit anywhere from a couple of summer months to many years helping the people in foreign countries, especially less affluent countries. Health epidemics, tyrannical dictators and revolutions, economic poverty, and the inability to grow food are just some of the problems people around the world face. You can make a difference by devoting time to work, intern, or volunteer with any one of hundreds of organizations committed to helping a country become a self-sustaining, economically viable nation.
How Can You Help?
As with any job search undertaking, you must progress through a series of stages, constantly evaluating all of the information you obtain.
Identify Motivated Skills and Abilities
What skills do you like to use on a day-in, day-out basis? What abilities are your strongest? Before deciding on a course of action, you must identify these. It is not worthwhile to travel to work in another country if you end up doing work you do not like. Take the time to find out what skills and abilities really motivate you.
The Career Center on campus can help you decide what skills you prefer to use.
Specify a Job Objective
Once you have figured out what you like to do, where can you do it? Who needs someone with your skills and abilities?If you are a nursing student, who could you assist? The obvious places are the hospitals and clinics, but what about working at one of the big corporations, at a school, for the government providing informational lectures, or being a floater, going where you are needed?
Now that you have the type of organizations identified, you need to locate the specific organizations.
Research, Research, Research
What fields need my help?
It might help you to know which fields are in need of workers and volunteers. Through researching various web sites, you will find that in many impoverished counties, the following fields are in the most need to obtain qualified workers:
- Accountancy and Office Management
- Business Development
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Nutrition and Food Security
- Project Management and Program Coordination
- Public Health Assessment and Promotion
- Water and Sanitation
How can I help?
You can try one of these ways to help people around the world.For these types of positions, you most likely will have to pay for your own transportation to the country and may have to pay for housing and obtain necessary work permits.
- The least competitive opportunity to help people, volunteering is when you are giving of yourself freely.
- You do not receive a paycheck or stipend.
- An internship allows you to work and gain wonderful experience, however, you generally work for no pay or a small stipend.
- Now-a-days, you may only be able to intern if you are doing so for college credit.
- Many internships are competitive and fall to graduate students or junior and senior students in college.
- The federal government employs many students through summer programs.
- Large corporations and banks with international interests may offer summer employment.
- Very competitive.
Who do I contact?
The benefits of wanting to start or continue your career in another country is that many organizations and agencies exist that need qualified workers. Your opportunities exist in those organizations that operate solely in the country, U.S. and other countries’ corporations with ties to the country, and international agencies trying to promote the development of the country. Some areas within which you can find employment are:
- Governmental Agencies – e.g., the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Peace Corps
- International Organizations – e.g., African Union, the United Nations
- Non-Governmental Organizations – e.g., Amnesty International, Oxfam International, CARE, World Vision
- The Media – e.g., New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Business Day South Africa
- Trade Organizations – e.g., U.S. Department of Commerce, World Trade Organization
- Banks and Investment Corporations – e.g., Citibank, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
- Health Organizations – e.g., Doctors without Borders, U.N. AIDS Program, The World Food Program
- Environmental Agencies – e.g., World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace
- Development Groups – e.g., African Development Bank, Center for Global Development, U.N. Development Program
Where do I find positions within these organizations?
Below you will find general Internet sites that provide links to employment, internship and volunteer opportunities.
The following links will take you job, internship, and volunteer posting sites.
Prepare and Apply
- The Career Center will help you in the following areas. Make an appointment with a counselor for assistance.
- Develop Strong Resumes and Cover Letters
- Develop a Portfolio
- Practice Interviewing
Lastly, a great book to help you begin your “international” career, to find the organizations and agencies needing your help, and explaining the whole process is “International Jobs: Where They Are, How to Get Them” (Sixth Edition) by Nina Segal and Eric Kocher.