For some, the idea of actually moving abroad permanently (or even for a few months) isn’t really an option. Whether for financial, personal or professional reasons, a full-time job close to home is preferred. But there are many jobs that are based at home but still give you the chance to see different countries and experience new cultures. What kinds of jobs include international travel?
It’s complicated. The truth is, tons of jobs include travel – international banking, consulting, flying airplanes…the list goes on. The purpose of this post is not to list them all, but rather to highlight some positions that have a surprising amount of international travel, but are also full-time career-oriented positions. The best of both worlds for a career-focused traveler!
- International nonprofit program management
Let’s start with the obvious – there are tons of placement organizations and nonprofit volunteer organizations that require administrative staff. People to manage the volunteers, programs and partner organizations are needed both at home and at volunteer sites. Most people will not land a travel job at entry level – these are reserved for people with project management experience or volunteer management experience, usually at for at least three years.
But one major selling point for a program management job abroad is previous volunteer-abroad experience (along with knowledge of a second language). Organizations that hire people to travel generally want to know that you will be comfortable interacting with people at all levels (local politicians, volunteers, senior staff members), and can manage your workload while one the road for a significant amount of time. In some cases, you can put in some time at the home office for a year or two before you are put in an international travel position, especially if you lack experience.
Some organizations that offer international nonprofit management jobs with at least 50% travel are:
International Rescue Committee: The IRC is a world-renowned humanitarian organization providing services in more than 40 countries, many of which are in crisis. They "respond to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives". There are myriad positions available at the IRC that involved either full-time placement abroad (at refugee camps, for example), or significant travel (program management). IRC jobs are highly competitive, due in large part to the organization’s excellent reputation, and the current public interest in international issues. You can search for jobs by interest area and/or country at the IRC Careers website.
American Jewish World Service: The AJWS is an international volunteer organization, placing volunteer groups on service trips in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Their extensive network of volunteers around the world necessitates a robust administrative staff, including volunteer managers (assigned to a specific region) who routinely travel abroad to check-in at program sites. Volunteer experience is preferred for many of these positions, as well as work experience. AWJS is a faith-based organization.
If you’ve been to college or university, you are probably aware that most higher education institutions pride themselves of their diverse student body. And while many schools see a high demand for admission on an international level, some smaller colleges must actively recruit in foreign countries to attract students from abroad. That’s where the international travel comes in!
Recruitment and admissions professionals are hired to speak at school conferences, visit high schools and attend career fairs to help spread the word about their institutions programs. These jobs could send you just about anywhere – most schools will have target geographic areas where they are looking to recruit more extensively, but this can change from year to year. Again, the ability to be the face of the institution, adapt well to change, and interact with people at all levels are essential to international recruiting and admissions jobs.
Some colleges and universities currently hiring international admissions and recruitment professionals include:
NYU Polytechnic: Based in New York City, NYU-Poly has recently looked for an Assistant Dean of Admissions for International Recruiting, a position requiring significant travel.
University of California – Berkeley: Based in Berkeley, CA, UC Berkeley has recently sought an Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions to handle both domestic and international student recruitment.
Of course, these are just positions that are open right now. If you use a career search aggregator like Indeed, or use Google Alerts, you can keep track of colleges and universities looking for international admissions and recruitment staff on a regular basis using "international admissions" or "international recruitment university" as keywords.
- Travel and Tourism
It’s actually a pretty common misconception that if you work in the travel or tourism industry, you must travel a lot. The fact is, with so much research and communication to be done via the Internet, the need for extensive international travel in the tourism industry has dropped considerably. But there are still jobs requiring extensive travel to be found. Most common are trip leaders for international tours or volunteer adventures. These types of jobs can serve as a perfect fit for someone who has participated in tours in the past. The ideal person has a very outgoing personality, the ability to troubleshoot, and has a positive attitude. Other great travel and tourism jobs that involve international travel are cruise ship jobs , airline jobs, and resort jobs.
Some international tour operators who are currently hiring include:
Collette Vacations accepts resumes for their tour programs on an ongoing basis, and hires tour guides for their international vacations on a contract basis.
Vantage Deluxe World Travel specializes in small group tour for mature travels, and also accepts applications for tour guides on an ongoing basis. You might also be interested in their administrative career opportunities, some of which involve travel to their international offices.
Don’t be discouraged if you find that some of these jobs are at a middle management level – there are plenty of ways to gain experience, including internships and entry-level positions. Organizations are typically more likely to hire someone for a travel-intensive (read: more costly) position who is groomed from within, and knows the organization well.
If these jobs don’t fit into your long-term career goals, or simply don’t appeal to you professionally, don’t fret! There are plenty of volunteer vacation jobs, and eco-tourism trips to satisfying your cross-cultural curiosity while allowing you to work full-time and build a career at home. Be sure to read through the blog for more information about short-term placement agencies and voluntourism organizations!