Summer job abroad – an international ambition. Young people always cite good reasons to leave the family home in summer and try to get experience working abroad: learn a language more, discover new cultures, explore new countries, meet new people… To make this dream a reality, the odds need to be stacked in their favour.
Time to decide for a summer job abroad
Aside from the conventional questions that students should ask themselves, searching abroad requires considering other points such as:
- the choice of country: it will partly depend on the field in which the young person intends to invest. This should be well documented and there should be awareness of the differences between the host country and Canada at various levels such as culture, law and customs. (Knowing to eat with a spoon and not a fork in Thailand or eating with the right hand in Africa or Asia, and never with the left, or even that summer vacations are in December and January in New Zealand, can always be useful…)
- the language: for some countries (the Netherlands, for example) or some areas of activity (information technologies), language is not a barrier to hiring. On the other hand, if mastery of a foreign language is a prerequisite, a student inspired by such a job should give himself the means to learn it by taking courses at university or on the internet…
Learning to be responsive
Firstly, an employer will generally prefer to give the summer job abroad opportunity to a young person who is available for the entire season (May to mid-September) rather than one who can only offer two months. Then, it is recommended that an offer be responded to quickly, since it is not uncommon for the hiring process to be completed in December or January. So to be more responsive, the student could prepare CV templates and cover letters in advance based on the different categories of job in mind. Finally, if correspondence will be by mail, it would be good to insert an international reply coupon, which will stimulate the recipient (your future employer?) to answer.
To be in good standing
This project, which should lead to an enriching experience, both personally (adaptability, initiative, sociability, etc.) and professionally (gaining knowledge of the markets, culture, language of a country) must not be allowed to turn into a nightmare. In some cases, an invalid visa or work permit could land you in prison. Obtaining a visa is one thing (http://voyage.gc.ca/voyager/publications/travailler-a-l-etranger or www.workpermit.com/), making sure of the length of its validity is another… In some countries, where procedures are long and complex, a young person would be advised to work through a specialist.
After the pitfalls, the support
Since this international experience is worthwhile, a young person has every reason to obtain the means to land a job beyond the borders of Canada.
Some useful sites to visit:
- www.prospects.ac.uk/studying_abroad.htm: information, advice and more from 66 countries is presented;
- www.changingworlds.co.uk/Home.aspx: a wide variety of cultural experiences from around the world;
- www.gapyear.com: tips and links from around the world;
- www.overseasjobs.com: wide variety of jobs worldwide.