Designing Your International Plan
The easiest way to think about the international search is to ask yourself three simple questions:
Where am I now?
Where do I want to go?
How do I get there?
Let's look at these questions in greater detail while you design your plan:
1. Where am I now?
- Am I seeking an experience while still in school or after I graduate?
- Why do I want to go abroad? To travel? To meet people? To learn a skill?
- Do I want to start a long-term career or am I looking for a short-term experience?
- What is more important: the job or the location?
- What are the opportunities in my field of interest or in the country I'd like to visit?
- What are my language skills?
- How hard is it to obtain a work permit in my country of interest? What's the best way to get the work permit there?
- Do I have the education I need to pursue my interest?
2. Where do I want to go?
Now that you've the questions above, you can start to formulate your ideas for where you might want to go. One way to do this is to identify your top choices for countries to work or live in. See if you can identify up to 5 countries, in order of your preference. Once you have an idea of the country you might be in, try setting an intention for the top two or three types of opportunities you'd like to have.
Here are some examples:
- I am seeking a volunteer opportunity in Peru where I can develop my language skills and help others.
- I am seeking a career in the foreign service to ultimately work in Africa.
- I am seeking an opportunity that will allow me to live in the British Isles.
- I am seeking an opportunity to develop a business in Australia.
- I am seeking an internship in advertising in France.
- I want to teach English in Japan.
- If you can't narrow down your search as in the above examples, try setting an intention that will propel you to keep learning:
- I am going to gather more information so I can focus my international search.
- I am going to gather more information on the opportunities in France.
- I plan to study abroad in Chile next year and look for opportunities while I'm there.
3. How do I get there?
Your system for getting to your chosen country and opportunity will vary. Below you will find a six-step system to help you develop your plan. If you're need more information or aren't sure how to do this, meet with a career coach at Liberal Arts Career Services and we'll help you identify the steps and find resources for your specific goal.
HERE IS A SIX-STEP SYSTEM TO DEVELOP YOUR INTERNATIONAL PLANS
1. Start by asking yourself:
- How can I quickly become an "expert" on the opportunities in my country of interest?
- What resources (books, people, websites) are available to help me?
- What first step could I take to move closer to my goal?
2. Identify the target date for your departure and work back to the present.
Determine the amount of time you have left to do your research, get your plans in order, and prepare for your adventure.
- Break your goals down into sub-goals and specific tasks you need to accomplish.
- Try asking yourself, "Can I accomplish my goal tomorrow?" If the answer is "no," then write down the steps you must take before you can accomplish it and insert them into your time-line.
3. Set a financial goal and start saving as much as you can.
Money gives you flexibility when you travel and provides support for any troubles you might encounter.
4. Find others who can support you in the process.
The international job search can be frustrating and lonely at times. You're doing something others don't even think about and may not understand, so finding support can be key to keeping you at your task.
- Look for opportunities to meet other individuals interested in international topics.
- Talk with professors and other students.
- Seek out alumni from your school who have worked internationally.
- Join clubs which focus on international issues.
5. Keep assessing your progress and change your goals as you progress.
If what you're doing isn't working, try a new approach. If you're stuck, it probably means you are missing an important piece of information. What do you need to know to move forward?
6. Remember - stay flexible and focused.
Keep your eye on your goal, but don't be afraid to pursue that interesting opportunity that suddenly shows up.