Tips | Going Abroad
The decision to expand your horizons abroad can be achieved through a variety of work, study and travel opportunities that are available for students and new graduates. The wealth of data, both in print and on the Internet, can be overwhelming — the search for the right opportunity for you requires time and effort.
Before you decide to take the plunge, there are several things to consider.
- Why do I want to work abroad?
- What are my expectations?
- What skills do I have and what skills will I gain through an experience abroad?
- How long do I want to stay abroad?
- Do I have the financial means to go abroad?
- What work visa, citizenship requirements and health insurance coverage will I need?
Working abroad can take many different forms: paid, volunteer and internship, career-related or not. By determining your priorities, you can target your search more effectively. Note: the term “internship” is used broadly and includes both paid and volunteer positions, short-term and longer-term, for students and recent graduates. Leave yourself time to investigate and plan for your work experience. For some organizations, the application and preparation process takes 3-8 months. To be eligible for some programs, there are age and citizenship requirements that you need to consider.
Helpful Resources and Services
GoinGlobal, a website available in the Career Learning Network (CLNx) under Resources, provides career guides, internship and job listings, and key employer directories for countries around the world.
UTM’s Career Centre website includes links to other sites with information about working abroad. Scroll to "Work Abroad".
Visit UTM’s International Education Centre for academic & co-curricular opportunities.
The Centre for International Experience at U of T's St. George campus offers resources and services related to work, study, and travel abroad.
CampusAccess has an internship database for students and grads.
Travel guidebooks can be invaluable – take your time and look around to get one that deals with your travel and budget needs. Some travel e-resources include Lonely Planet, TnT Magazine, and Verge Magazine.
View library resources in the Study Abroad & Teach/Work Abroad section of the UTM Career Centre.
Here are some examples:
- Work Your Way Around the World
- The Big Guide to Living and Working Overseas
- The Global Citizen
- Projects Abroad & GlobaLinks magazines
- Work Abroad Binders – for opportunities
- Teach Abroad Binders - for opportunities
- The GAP Yearbook … plus many more!
1. Some Programs of Interest
International Experience Canada provides youth with the opportunity to travel and work abroad. Also available for foreign youth who want to travel and work in Canada.
IAESTE Canada is an international student exchange program that enables Canadian post-secondary students to combine travel with a career-related job overseas. Students must be enrolled full-time in any of the following areas: science, engineering, business, or applied arts subjects.
Volunteer, work or intern abroad with an issue-based organization and develop entrepreneurial and socially responsible leadership skills. Students may be required to pay for their own room, board, and travel expenses, as well as arrange for their own visa.
SWAP Working Holidays promotes short-term paid and volunteer cultural exchange opportunities globally. Examples include teaching English, animal care, and research, as well as participating in community development projects. There is an application fee for the program which typically pays for your visa, short-term accommodation, some local travel or sightseeing, and orientation upon arrival.
For more international youth internship programs visit the Government of Canada website.
Volunteer Experiences In Community Development
Whether you are interested in a long-term career in development or want experience in grassroots development projects, you might start your research with two well-known Canadian programs. It is usual for applicants to have to raise part of the cost of the program, but fundraising assistance is provided by some organizations.
Canada World Youth: provides volunteer programs across 20 countries worldwide for ages 15 – 35, through participation in community-driven development projects.
World University Service of Canada: Volunteer abroad to help improve lives and communities in developing countries, or volunteer in Canada by raising global citizenship awareness and taking part in fundraising campaigns.
2. Study Abroad
A list of study/research/work abroad programs that are sponsored by the University of Toronto are available at the Centre for International Experience.
Explore: is a five-week intensive language-learning course to improve your knowledge of the French language by visiting another region of Canada. Participants receive a bursary covering tuition fees for the course, instructional materials, meals, and accommodation from the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada. Courses are adapted to your level of language knowledge.
For information on learning languages abroad visit Languages Abroad.
A directory of European language courses can be found at Europa Pages.
Additional University of Toronto programs that provide students with international opportunities include:
Complete summer courses abroad.
Exchange opportunities for graduate students (internship/study/research)
3. Teaching English Overseas
Teaching abroad is another method to gain international experience especially with paid positions in East and Southeast Asia. Some programs accept any bachelor’s degree while others expect specific Teaching English as a Second Language experience. Find out beforehand who pays airfare, if an orientation is provided, hours of work, if a placement is urban or rural and what the cost of living is in the host country.
An example is the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme
Another site, with job links as well as resources for teachers and students, is Dave’s ESL Café
Visit additional international teaching destinations
View additional resources in the Teach/Work Abroad section of the UTM Career Centre library.
Examples: Teaching English Abroad (book); Teach Abroad (binder)
Be sure to consult Travel Tips & Advisories before travelling abroad:
Also see GoinGlobal, via the Career Learning Network (CLNx). Career Guides for specific countries include ‘general resources’ and ‘living there’ tabs for information on the countries you are considering visiting.
Please note that this information is subject to change. It is best to refer to the original sources for the most up-to-date information. Updated August 2021.