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Experiential Travel

Living Abroad: 4 Ways to Make It Happen

We recently asked our readers on Facebook whether they’d ever lived in a country outside their own. Some responded with truly impressive expat resumes: “Mexico 7 yrs, Australia 1 yr, Kuwait 1 yr, U.A.E. 4 yrs, Qatar 8 months and counting…” wrote Elizabeth Wardle Walker.

“A year in Tanzania. Loved it,” said Kari Alyssa Prassack. “Waiting for the next opportunity to live abroad!”

And Kym Proudnikov weighed in with her own lengthy list: “Italy 3 years, Australia 3 years, Malta 4 years (twice), England 1 year (3 times), Canada 16 years…” Color us green with envy.

But what of the travelers who haven’t had that experience yet? Anne Rodziewicz England sums it up: “We will we will we will…”

If an extended stint overseas is high on your bucket list, read on for a few ideas on how to make it happen.

1. Teach English.
You don’t need to be able to speak a foreign language in order to travel overseas and teach English to non-native speakers. LanguageCorps.com is a good place to start, offering training and paid positions in Asia, Europe and Latin America.

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2. Volunteer.
The Peace Corps is the most famous program for international volunteers, but if you can’t swing the required two-year stint, there are plenty of shorter programs out there. TransitionsAbroad.com and Idealist.org can put you on the right path. To learn more about what to consider when choosing a volunteer opportunity, see Volunteer Vacations.

3. Study.
This is generally considered the domain of college students — but as the rest of us know, learning doesn’t stop after you get your diploma. Language learning schools are a great opportunity to have an immersive experience abroad; they often include homestays with local families. Check out LanguageCourse.net or the aforementioned TransitionsAbroad.com.

4. Work.
Work on an organic farm, join the seasonal staff at a ski resort or even take your current career overseas. There are a variety of opportunities to earn money while you travel, especially if you’re willing to be flexible. BUNAC.org offers work programs in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, while TransitionsAbroad.com offers a wider scope of programs as well as advice for finding a job overseas in your own field.

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By Sarah Schlichter

Deputy Executive Editor Sarah Schlichter's idea of a perfect trip includes spotting exotic animals, hiking through pristine landscapes, exploring new neighborhoods on foot, and soaking up as much art as she can. She often attempts to recreate recipes from her international travels after she gets home (which has twice resulted in accidental kitchen fires—no humans or animals were harmed).

Sarah joined the SmarterTravel team in 2017 after more than a decade at the helm of IndependentTraveler.com. Sarah's practical travel advice has been featured in dozens of news outlets including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Budget Travel, and Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio. Follow her on Twitter @TravelEditor.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A journal. Even years later, reading my notes from a trip can bring back incredibly vivid memories."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Road tripping and hiking through the rugged mountains of Patagonia."

Travel Motto: "'To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.'—Freya Stark"

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle. I get restless on long flights and like to be able to move around without disturbing anyone else."

Email Sarah at sschlichter@smartertravel.com.

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