It’s time to plan your work abroad! There are hundreds of different opportunities to travel the world and explore other cultures. But which program is the best for you?
We compiled the pros and cons of the 4 most popular work abroad programs for you, so that you have more time to plan and get excited about your travel adventure!
As part of International Experience Canada (IEC), Canada has Youth Mobility Agreements with over 30 countries. Depending on the agreement, you can travel to any of these destinations and receive an open work permit, which allows you to take up any job you are interested in. Working Holidays are ideal work travel programs on a budget.
Open Work Permit (no commitment to one employer)
Freedom to follow own timeline, be spontaneous and flexible
As a Canadian you can go to more than 30 countries, including such popular ones as Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
Low requirements and easy application process
Visa for each country is only issued once in a lifetime
Less opportunities for skilled workers due to limited time frame
Pre-arranged jobs available but usually for temporary or seasonal jobs, e.g. hospitality, farm work, childcare and tourism.
Strict age limit (depending on agreement 18-30 or 18-35)
An au pair is a young, foreign person, who lives in a host family and helps with childcare and light housework in exchange for pocket money, room and board. Au Pair programs are especially great for youth with minimal travel and work experience.
Cheapest way to travel and best program on a budget (lodging and board included!)
Great work-life balance due to plenty of free time
Large network of au pairs in most popular au pair destinations
Cultural immersion by living in a host family and experiencing day-to-day life
Living in a host family means adapting to another family life, habits and traditions
Usually very specific requirements (for example: age, no smoking, childcare experience, driving skills)
Challenging at times to differentiate between work and free time due to live-in arrangement
Tip: Au Pair in the UK
Interns are defined as students or trainees, who work in organizations to gain work experience and satisfy special requirements of qualification for post-secondary education. Usually, it is not easy to find an internship in another country on your own and you will need the help of an agency to receive the chance for an interview.
Gain work experience in your own field or use as career orientation
Will enhance your resume
Experience another economy and work environment
Great chance for self-development
Might need internship or work visa to satisfy requirements
Usually unpaid or small financial compensation/perks (e.g. public transit ticket)
Special requirements, such as being a student at the time of application
Language requirement for non-English speaking countries
Tip: Internship in France
Volunteer Programs provide you with the great chance to do something good and potentially make a change in the world. Volunteering means that you are “donating” your labour without financial compensation. These programs are usually offered in developing or threshold countries, where help is needed.
Giving back to your community and/or doing something good for other people, countries, animals or the environment
Looks great on your resume (especially in Canada)
Depending on the destination, might be possible on a tourist visa
More interesting locations you would not normally travel to for a standard holiday
Amazing life experience and great for own self-development
Volunteering means working for free, usually you will also be expected to pay for your own travel costs, accommodation and food
Can be challenging, physically and mentally (good research necessary!)
Depending on the program, location might be remote and living conditions different than at home
Tip: Volunteer Program in Banff National Park