Visa Options for Going Abroad

For those of you nearing the end of your studies (or working on your five year plans)  who are anything like me, you don’t feel nearly prepared enough to jump straight into the working corporate world. Don’t be afraid- there are plenty of other opportunities that will allow you to temporarily delay the looming idea of actual adulthood. There are two big ways to get to legally travel for longer than a 90 day tourist visa: teaching English abroad or doing a working holiday program.

Teaching abroad: There are quite a few countries where being a native English speaker is regarded as enough qualification to teach English. Certain opportunities may require a TEFL/TESOL certificate, though. These programs usually provide a monthly stipend with which to support yourself. Some allow you to work part-time outside of your teaching appointment, but usually there are restrictions that do not allow this.

Spain: As I referenced in an earlier post, there are a few programs you can apply for in Spain that provide you a student visa for an academic year in exchange for your English or French language assistance in classrooms. These include the ministry program (auxiliares de conversación), BEDA and CIEE.

France: There is a program similar to the Spanish ministry program called The Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF). This program seems very similar, though pays slightly less, requires French skills, and also has an application fee.

Japan: The JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program offers a similar opportunity. Applicants should be interested in learning Japanese language and culture, have a Bachelor’s degree, and not have lived in Japan recently. This program is 35 hours a week and pays ¥3,360,000 ($33,589.92) for a first year teacher. The program also pays for your flight to and from Japan.

South Korea: EPIK (English Program In Korea) is available for individuals who hold a Bachelor’s degree in any field and be residents of Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States or South Africa. To qualify right now you have to have a Bachelors in education or another Bachelor’s + TESOL certificate. Depending on the region, you can earn around 2 million KRW ($1805) a month. This program also provides you a settlement allowance, FREE furnished housing, severance pay, and an entrance allowance. Essentially you are earning almost $2000 each month and your only expenses are food and whatever other fun things you like to spend your money on.

China: There are quite a few ways to teach English in China. One program is the Disney English program. There are a few more requirements to this one, in that you must have a Bachelor’s + 2 years teaching experience and the ability to commit to a 12-15 month contract. Disney will pay for your flight to China and give you a settlement allowance.

There are also some companies which offer you a TEFL/TESL certification course and at the end promise a teaching appointment for a year at a school in the country of your choosing. These programs usually charge fees for the certification process and the quality of these can vary.

Working holiday: Some countries offer exchange programs for citizens of other countries to take a year-long holiday (vacation) while working a variety of short-term jobs. These listed below are available to people from the United States, and other countries may have different agreements. You do not get paid from an appointment like teaching abroad, but you are supposed to seek out small jobs while in the country in order to help support yourself.

New Zealand: You must be 18-30 and can stay for 12 months. You cannot seek a permanent job, must have a ticket to leave the country, and NZ $4,200 ($3057 USD) to your name with which to support yourself while abroad.

Australia:  You must be 18-30 and can stay for up to 12 months. You can work a maximum of six months with one employer during your stay. You must have access to AUD 5,000 ($3848 USD).

Ireland: I came very close to applying for this and may do so if I go to graduate school. You must be over 18 and currently enrolled or have recently graduated (with 12 months) from an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate program. You will need access to at least $4,000 and a return airline ticket.

South Korea: You can stay for up to 12 months and must be between 18-30 with sufficient funds to support yourself and a return ticket (or enough to buy one). You are advised to learn Korean and can even join a free language program.

Happy travels!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s