How to Land an International Career

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on November 03, 2010

Do you want to land an international career? First, you must consider what "international" means to you. International careers span a wide range of employment opportunities, both overseas and in the United States. For example, you might reside in Paris, France, and work for Disneyland there. Or you might be employed in the U.S. and work with immigrants as a social worker. Careers that involve a great deal of travel are often international, such as working as a pilot for a major airline.

To land an international career, you must strive for both focus and flexibility. Keep your eye on your goal while developing sufficient resilience so that you can change your course and push your comfort zone if necessary.

Coursework: Go Global

A Master's Degree is required for many international careers. While in college, beef up your qualifications by going global at every opportunity. No matter what your field of study, choose coursework in which international elements are present. If you're majoring in political science, then study international relations. If you're going for your Master of Business Administration, then study Global Business Strategies and International Organizational Behavior. Choose elective coursework that complements and enriches your interest in foreign countries and cultures.

Networking: Learn About Other Cultures

Interact and network with foreign students as often as you can. Teach a class in English as a Second Language, become a tour guide for professors who are visiting from another country, or join foreign student associations on campus. The best way to learn about foreign cultures is to get to know and care about people from those cultures.

Travel: Go Abroad

While working on your undergraduate degree, study abroad for one or more semesters as a foreign exchange student. You'll hone your skills in new languages and learn a great deal about new cultures. Go for international internships, preferably two of them, in which you'll put to use what you're learning in your field of study. Vacation abroad while classes aren't in session, and be creative in choosing where you'll visit. For example, instead of Western Europe, travel to South America, Eastern Europe, Asia, or Africa. Your goal is to expand your international horizons as much as possible, which will be a big plus for your international resume.

Career Opportunities: Explore

Some of the best international career opportunities are in education, business, and international development, such as teaching, accounting, finance, and public policy. Many other opportunities can be found in fields as diverse as architecture, law, environmental science, information technology, health care, and the travel industry. There's never been a better time to work abroad. The world is changing rapidly, and global awareness is becoming increasingly important. If you land an international career, you will have ample opportunities to put your care and concern for humanity to work on the global level.


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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

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