Study abroad

Tips For Becoming an Expat

Do you love the idea of living abroad? Do you long to see the world as more than just a tourist? You might assume that if you aren’t independently wealthy, this is just a distant dream, but that isn’t the case. The tips below can help you set up a life that allows you to spend a few years or the rest of your life abroad if that’s your dream.


Other countries generally do not want unskilled workers. Having a college degree will make it much easier for you to find your niche abroad. If you think that you should be saving up all your money for an overseas move instead, that money would be better spent going to school where you can get your college degree that qualifies you for jobs overseas. You can also take out student loans from a private lender, which you can pay back from overseas after you have graduated and found work. As for what you should study, keep reading for some of the main career paths that will help you live in another country.

Study or Work Abroad

While you’re still in school, you should get some overseas experience under your belt. There’s nothing quite like seeing how you do in a foreign environment to figure out if this is the right lifestyle for you. A few countries offer limited work visas to U.S. students, and most schools have some kind of study abroad program. These programs can benefit your budget as well as enrich your life skills. Once you are in another country, be sure to focus on the language, culture and getting to know locals. Work on your adaptability and flexibility, qualities that will serve you well in this lifestyle.

Foreign Service

The foreign service offers a competitive but stable and well-paid career path that will allow you to live abroad. You’ll be rotated through different countries every few years, and you won’t always be able to choose where you’ll be sent. You’ll need to do well on the comprehensive foreign service exam to get your foot in the door.

International Business

There are essentially two pathways in international business. One is to get hired by an American firm with branches abroad and work on getting a transfer. The other is to apply for jobs with businesses and organizations in other countries. This can be more difficult because the requirement in most countries to get a visa involving demonstrating you are more qualified than anyone local.

On Your Own

If you’re more of an independent type, you’re still in luck. There are several types of jobs that make the expat life possible, with travel nursing and teaching English perhaps near the top of that list. With more and more areas of our lives being conducted online, running your own digital business while you’re on the road is increasingly common. In fact, you’ll find what are often called digital nomads in just about every major city in the world, and some countries are even creating longer-term residence visas designed with these entrepreneurs in mind. This can also be a good entry into expat life. You might eventually go to work for a company in the country where you’ve been living for a while or decide to return to the U.S. and apply for the foreign service.

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