If you’ve always wondered how to live abroad, study abroad, or work abroad, this post is for you. Many people assume that if you don’t study abroad in college, you’ve missed your chance to be immersed in another country, culture, or language. This is not true! I’ve researched the world-wide web for a list of fellowship programs, Masters programs, and TEFL opportunities abroad. While this list isn’t every possibility, the Internet is a very large and open market, and these resources can give you a place to start.
*Note: Many of these opportunities require U.S citizenship (or lawful permanent resident status) and a Bachelor’s degree
How to Live Abroad: Masters Programs
The status quo for Masters programs is changing. For example, due to high costs of education in the U.S, a lot of Americans are going abroad for graduate school. There are tons of amazing Master’s programs in a lot of countries, and I could not include every website. The opportunities listed below are more based on universities that offer scholarships for full or partial funding.
Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degrees
Organization Website: Erasmus Mundus Association
This program is a traveling Master’s program. How cool is that? There are a variety of options based on your interests from humanitarian action to wine tourism to urban studies. If you haven’t studied or lived abroad for more than 12 months in Europe, you also qualify for a full scholarship! Partial scholarships may be available too, and you apply to up to three programs that are being offered in your application year. The Erasmus Mundus website updates which programs offer these scholarships, however you can decide to be self-funded too!
The George J. Mitchell Scholarship
Organization Website: US-Ireland Alliance
Mitchell Scholars is a fully-funded scholarship opportunity to live and pursue a Master’s degree in Ireland. Applicants can apply to study in fields such as Foreign Affairs, Medicine/Healthcare, the Arts, Tech, and more. Recommendations and a video interview are required for a complete application, in addition to basic information such as achievements, transcripts, and community service. The program is competitive, with only twelve scholars chosen every year! Applications open in the summer and are due in September.
Rotary Global Grant
Locations: Outside the U.S
Organization Website: Rotary International
Rotary is an ideal option for those interested in obtaining a degree abroad in six areas: Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution, Maternal and Child Health, Basic Education and Literacy, Water and Sanitation, Disease Prevention and Treatment, and Economic and Community Development. Rotary Clubs commonly fund one-year Masters programs of your choosing, providing a minimum of $30,000 per student. However, remember there may be other costs to budget for to relocate. To apply, connect with your local Rotary Club and district for program guidelines and deadlines.
Tip: If you are curious about employment post-degree with a Master’s program abroad, use LinkedIn to find alumni! It’s a great way to see what experiences alum came into the program with already on their resumes, but also where they end up post-graduation!
Rotary Peace Fellowship
Locations: Brisbane, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Bradford, England; Uppsala, Sweden and Bangkok, Thailand
Organization Website: Rotary International
Don’t let the name confuse you because this is also a Master’s program abroad, sponsored by Rotary clubs around the U.S! While the Rotary Global Grant broadly funds graduate degrees abroad, this one is more specialized in Peace and Conflict Studies and requires at least 3 years of experience. If you are a professional who meets these requirements, there are partner universities around the world where you can study and earn a degree. Called “Rotary Peace Centers,” each university and Rotary Club has their own requirements, so use their website to search for the Rotary club in your district.
International Students House (ISH) in London
Partner Institutions: School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) – University of London, University of Westminster, University of the Arts London, University College London Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Imperial College London, The Karta Initiative, Birkbeck – University of London, Windle Trust International, Council for At-Risk Academics, Chevening Scholarship, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Location: London, England
Website: International Students House
ISH provides housing, for international students who are living and studying at one of their partner universities, in central London. Most students are on scholarship at one of these universities, with the ISH’s involvement being a part of their scholarship package. Scholarships are made through the partner institutions, so students must apply through the universities above to be considered for an ISH scholarship. This a great supplement to your tuition and other fees as London housing can be expensive!
Tip: When looking to finance your Master’s program abroad, it’s important to factor in costs such as books, relocation costs for flights and temporary housing, cost of living, visa requirements and fees, housing in an apartment vs. on-campus options, etc.! Budgeting for more is better than not having enough.
Location: United Kingdom
Website: UK Government
Another program based in the UK, Marshall Scholars can study at a variety of universities in the UK, including University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, London School of Economics and Political Science, King’s College London, etc. These are highly competitive Master’s scholarships, with the minimum undergraduate GPA being a 3.7. Active school and community involvement is also a plus for a better application. Interviews are required, for the program and perhaps by your university too. For all the high achievers, this graduate program abroad may be the opportunity for you.
Location: Oxford, England – University of Oxford
Website: The Rhodes Trust
Comparably prestigious as Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars also study in the UK. The biggest difference is that Rhodes Scholars study solely at the University of Oxford, one of the top universities in the world. The scholarship covers all costs and has many components, including five to eight letters of recommendation, college or university endorsement, a personal interview, and a headshot. Get started with this application as soon as possible! Alumni of this program include former U.S. Presidents, Nobel Peace Prize Winners, and more.
Fulbright U.S Student Program (Masters and PhD)
Locations: East Asia-Pacific, Europe & Eurasia, Middle East & North Africa, South & Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Western Hemisphere
Website: The Fulbright Program
One of Fulbright’s best kept secrets are their Master’s programs and research opportunities for PhD candidates. The teach abroad program gets more exposure, but Fulbright has a variety of Master’s opportunities in countries around the world. In most cases, applicants are required to secure a university affiliation. From studying business management in Madrid, Korean Studies in South Korea, or pursuing a field of your choice at a university in Mexico, the application process is rigorous and competitive, but is well worth it in the end.
Tip: Apply to multiple programs if living abroad is your dream. There is nothing wrong with having multiple plans, A through E, just in case. Do not put your eggs (or future) in one basket (or program’s hands)!
How to Live Abroad: Fellowships
Fellowships abroad are another way to live abroad if you don’t want to earn a degree. These jobs are stipend-based to cover living needs in your new home country. However, many use these fellowships as an audition for a salaried job upon the fellowship’s completion. From working in digital storytelling to fighting world hunger, the versatility is evident to help you live abroad.
Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellowship
Website: Hunger Center
Referred to as Leland Fellows, there are about 15 recipients every year who work in food and nutrition justice. Fellows receive professional development training throughout their time, are matched with an organization based on their interests, participate in semi-finalist interviews, etc. This fellowship is a two-round process that can take five months to complete! The most recent cohort is working in countries such as Uganda, South Sudan, Ghana, Zambia, Tanzania, Guatemala, Malawi, and Italy. Submit your application by the January deadline to qualify.
Reuters Institute Journalist Fellowship
Location: University of Oxford
Website: Reuters Institute
This fully-funded scholarship opportunity is for working journalists who are looking to expand their expertise in the media industry. The Reuters Institute is for mid-career journalists with at least five years’ experience to combine their media knowledge with academia. Twenty-five fellows from around the world can spend one to three terms attending seminars and trips to places such as BBC, The Guardian, Oxfam and more. Fellows are also advised in academic research from a professor at the University of Oxford. The deadline is normally in January.
Global Health Corps (GHC)
Locations: USA, Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and Tanzania
Though rooted in improving Global Health, this fellowship has seen people of all backgrounds represented. Fellows have come from areas that include engineering, computer science, architecture, finance, and agriculture. Applications need to be submitted in January, and fellows work in teams of two: one fellow from the placement country and an international fellow. Work placements vary every year based on community needs, and is open to everyone, with emphasis on citizens of Malawi, Uganda, USA, Rwanda, and Zambia. Throughout the 13 months, fellows receive a living stipend and leadership training to provide a well-rounded view of Global Health and how to create better systems to address it. Check out the website to browse your opportunities abroad.
Luce Scholars Program
Locations: South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Mongolia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Japan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Philippines, Hong Kong, Laos, and China
Website: The Henry Luce Foundation
Since this program has a partnership with 70 universities in the U.S., the Luce Scholars program is a bit more selective than other fellowships listed. To apply, prospective applicants need to be undergraduate or graduate school alumni of the partner universities. You can check which schools are partners, and if you qualify feel free to apply! Contrary to the “scholar” title, Luce Scholars is not for those who want to pursue a degree in Asia. Scholars work in fields such as Journalism, Law, Tech, Business, and International Education, with an organization in the locations mentioned above. Applications are submitted by the institutions in November, with only 18 people chosen each year.
Fulbright – National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship
Website: US-Fulbright Online
Digital media and storytelling is a field that many dream of pursuing, and this Fulbright program makes it a meaningful way to live abroad. Applicants focus on a globally-relevant issue and incorporate forms of media to tell the story. Recipients share their stories on National Geographic, and receive professional development techniques in the areas of photography, video production, blogging, and more. Some experience in digital production is helpful, as you submit a portfolio of your past experiences in the digital world. This application is also different from other Fulbright programming, therefore it is important to read the website carefully.
Princeton in Africa, Latin America or Asia
Locations: Various countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia
With programs in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, applicants do not have to be current students or graduates of Princeton to get involved with this program. This Princeton programming offers a professional development year at the nonprofit level for its participants. Each program location also allows participants to hone in on skills in their respective fields and areas of the world. The organizations available vary, but interests of past fellows include economics, health, climate change, education, research, community development, and immigration. The application process for each location can be long, so be sure to check the respective websites above for more application information.
Tip: For more fellowship opportunities, check out ProFellow! It houses thousands of fellowships from around the world, including the U.S. if you do not end up going abroad!
How to Live Abroad: Teaching Programs
Teaching English abroad programs are the most popular way to live and work in another country (legally). Basic requirements for many teach abroad programs are to be a native English speaker and have a Bachelor’s Degree in any discipline. However, some prior teaching experience and knowledge of the host language will benefit you and the host community.
Yes, you can travel, but I strongly encourage those who like being in a classroom, and want to see students succeed, to pursue teach abroad programs. Don’t teach just for the travel if you are going to be a crappy teacher or want to impose your views on others. Clearly, living in Spain or France makes it easy to visit your favorite European destinations on the weekends. However, you sign a contract where you spend your week grounded in a city or village, and working as an English Teacher. You must like working with kids and teens to make this work! They are true, cross-cultural exchanges for you and your host community.
Tip: Though teaching English is a great opportunity, it is also important to understand the context about its colonial implications!
Locations: Namibia, Thailand, Marshall Islands, Ecuador, China, South Africa, Nepal, Morocco, Mexico, India, American Samoa and Brazil
WorldTeach offers a selection of teach abroad programs, ranging from a summer to a year. Applicants have the chance to choose their length of time, and browse the countries associated with that selection. Each program has a different departure schedule, as well as a variation of homestays and shared housing with teachers. Therefore, check the website for updated information based on the time of your application. Also, read through each program carefully as some involve extra opportunities based on community needs, such as being a HIV Resource Teacher in Namibia, community-based tourism in Brazil, or extracurricular activities in American Samoa.
JET Program – Teach English in Japan
Website: Jet Program USA
The JET Program offers an opportunity for people passionate about Japanese culture and a love for teaching to combine both and teach abroad in Japan! The JET Program offers a full-immersion experience as participants are placed in medium sized cities, villages, and small towns. An in-person interview and Tokyo-based orientation are required, but applicants cannot defer if they are unable to participate. However, JET provides financial benefits such as paying for your roundtrip flight. Japanese is not required and applications open every fall for July to August departures that following year.
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA)
Website: Fulbright U.S. Student Program
Fulbright offers a nine-month program where participants teach English abroad all around the world. It’s one of the most well-known programs in the world and pays very nicely. Benefits include flight and temporary housing (when looking for permanent housing upon arrival), in addition to language classes! But, there is a long application and waiting process, so be patient and always have backup plans. As an alumna of this program, you know I had to include it!
Tip: Check out the Fulbright tag to learn more about my experience in the program!
Auxiliares de Conversación
For this teach abroad program in Spain, you only work 12 to 15 hours per week and co-teach English classes. The pay is 700 to 1000 euros per month depending on which region you live in. Additionally, you would not work on Fridays! This makes time to immerse yourself in the culture with a hobby, Spanish-language course, or side hustle. There is no fee to apply, but a lot of paperwork and mailings, so act fast. Slots tend to fill up quickly too because it is a first-come, first-serve, basis! No Spanish proficiency is required and applications are open January to April.
French Teaching Assistant Program
Comparable to the Auxiliares program in Spain, this program focuses on France and those wanting to be immersed in French language and culture. Prior knowledge of French is mandatory, with a requirement of at least a level B1! School placements can be in Paris, or the surrounding areas, with participants spending 7 months in the program. The deadline is in January of each year, with notifications sent in April. However, the application opens in October, giving you plenty of time to accumulate the proper paperwork.
Tip: Keep in mind, that your initial search may focus on teaching English, especially if you’re a native speaker. However, that can be a stepping stone for you to get into a country. For the story of how this happened to Sienna Brown of Las Morenas de Espana, check out her post here!
English Open Doors Program (EODP)
As an all-in-one teach and volunteer abroad program in Chile, this program is for people who have a passion for education. You would independently teach 35 hours per week, participate in afterschool and community activities, get health insurance, free accommodations and meals with a host family, a stipend, etc. Based off the website, they want participants who want to support students through teaching, not to prioritize travel or learning Spanish. Thus, prior experience speaking Spanish, and working in classroom, would be especially helpful.
CIEE Teach Abroad
Locations: Morocco, Chile, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Vietnam, Spain, China, Czech Republic, Portugal, and South Korea
Website: CIEE Teach
CIEE is one of the biggest names in International Education and Cross-Cultural Exchange. Their programs do come with a price tag, including application and program fees. Though each program country is different, this may include orientation accommodation, the orientation itself, airport pickup, and/or health insurance. Some of CIEE teach abroad programs also include rent-free housing and a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification. Check their website for more information on each location, as they vary based on cost of living and demand for English teachers.
How to Live Abroad Bonus: TEFL Certifications
Like teach abroad programs, here are a few certification websites to get your TEFL and teach English abroad. A TEFL can supplement a teach abroad experience, or be the starting point for a career in International Education. If you think long-term, a TEFL can be the foundation to build experience for a Master’s program (mentioned above) in Education! You never know where it can lead.
International TEFL Academy (ITA)
Locations: Europe, Latin America, North America, Middle East or Asia
Website: International TEFL Academy
As one of the top TEFL programs from the U.S., International TEFL academy offers experiences for future educators to get the proper training to teach English abroad. ITA has a broad range of countries to choose from based on post-program location interests. These locations include the more common destinations, such as Spain, Mexico, and South Korea. However, they also include Bahrain, Bolivia, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Tunisia, Romania, and Oman. Possible participants can attain their TEFL online or in-person at a partner program abroad. Thus, working with an Admissions Advisor can help you find the right teach abroad program for you.
Costa Rica TEFL
Location: Costa Rica
Website: Costa Rica TEFL
Teaching English in Costa Rica? Not a bad place to be! Costa Rica TEFL takes place in Samara, Costa Rica. There are various dates to choose from, but the general courses run Monday to Friday from 10:30am to 7:30pm for 4 weeks. Participants learn about classroom management, learning styles, navigating cultural differences, etc. Though you earn your TEFL and graduate from Costa Rica TEFL, you are not limited to just teaching in Costa Rica. Job assistance begins during the second week of the program. Graduates of this teach abroad program can stay in Central America, or end up in locations such as Japan, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Australia, and Spain.
Whether you are reading this with no plan to live abroad, or are ready to make the leap, I hope these opportunities have inspired you to consider what opportunities are out there. While some Masters, fellowships, and teach abroad programs carry more “prestige” or are “highly competitive,” there are always exceptions to the rule. Ask questions. Read through the eligibility requirements. Find alum through LinkedIn or other forms of media. It will take some work and research, but the experiences are one-of-a-kind.
I wish you the best of luck on your journeys!
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