The Pros and Cons of 4 Popular Work Abroad Programs
work abroad

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!

Working Holiday / Youth Mobility / Work & Travel:

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)

Tip: Work and Travel in Australia

Au Pair

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

Internships Abroad

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

Are you inspired now to pack your bags and travel the world? Contact us here to discuss your options and make your work abroad dream come true!


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