Does the idea of working abroad seem appealing to you? The opportunity to travel to exotic places, visit global attractions, experience different cultures, and eat delicious foods are the highlights. However, getting started in an international career requires a lot of work, time, and energy.
Jobs overseas span across industries to include government, business, law, tourism/hospitality, education, non-profit, and public health. In addition to deciding the sector you would like to enter, spend some time thinking about which country or region of the world you would like to make your destination. The visa requirements, resume format, interview process, and workplace culture will vary from country to country so do your research.
- Communication (written and oral)
- Foreign language proficiency
- Cultural awareness/sensitivity
- Knowledge of global events
- Critical thinking
- Creative problem solving
Degrees and Certifications
The type of degree or certification required will vary based upon the agency and position to which you are applying. Below are a few examples of relevant degrees at Mason. For information about degree programs outside of Mason, visit Peterson's .
- Global Affairs
- Middle East and Islamic Studies
- Nonprofit Management
- Policy, Government and International Affairs
- Teaching English as a Second Language
- Women and Gender Studies
- Conflict Analysis and Resolution Collaborative Leadership in Community
- World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution
- Conflict Analysis and Resolution for Prevention, Reconstruction and Stabilization
- International Business Law
How to Get Started
- Determine if you want to work abroad short-term or long-term, or if you would be just as fulfilled working for an international organization domestically.
- Develop proficiency in a foreign language. Although speaking another language is not always required to work internationally, it can make you more competitive for jobs and internships.
- Create an account on Passport Career using your Mason email address and the Registration Key: gmuniver. This tool provides global career webinars, a job database, and cultural etiquette tips for over 75 countries.
- Seek out opportunities to engage with people from different cultures. You can gain great exposure right here at Mason by getting involved with Office of International Programs and Services or Office of Diversity Inclusion and Multicultural Education events.
- Consider completing the Global and Multicultural Competency Pathway in the Patriot Experience.
- Increase your knowledge of global issues by following international news outlets such as the BBC and Al Jazeera.
- Vault Career Insider (do a search by keyword "international" for list of employers)
- International Organization Careers
- My Perfect Resume International
- Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs
- International Career Guide
- Get involved in an International/multicultural student organization such as the Indian Student Association or French Club to build your intercultural communication skills, cultural sensitivity and global awareness.
- Volunteer with international or humanitarian rights organizations that would allow you to learn more about the field.
International Experiential Resources
- Study or intern abroad through Mason's Global Education Office. The best way to develop global competency and language skills is to immerse yourself in another country through a semester or year-long program that involves a homestay or independent travel. Study abroad programs outside of western Europe are the most marketable.
- Academic Internship Council
- Global Experiences
- Going Global
- Cultural Vistas
- United Planet
- Passport Career (use your Mason email address and Registration Key: gmuniver)
- International Civil Service Commission
- UN Job List
- Transitions Abroad
- Federal Jobs
- Directory of Development Organizations
The U.S. Federal Government represents U.S. interests abroad, protects the environment, conducts the global war on terrorism, and administers foreign aid programs. Although the State Department (Foreign Service Officer), Peace Corps and military are obvious choices, many other federal agencies have an international affairs division too.
Those who work in international human rights focus on protecting the fundamental rights of all people. Human rights organizations provide direct service, advocate, develop policies, and conduct research. Examples of careers within international human rights include: media specialists, grant writers, educators, financial analysts, journalists, researchers, healthcare professionals, and grassroots/community organizers.
Humanitarian aid and relief work is done by government, non-government organizations (NGOs) and intergovernmental organizations that address health, social, and environmental conditions that plague the global poor. Job titles include administrators, fundraisers, grant writers, program organizers, researchers, policy analysts and others.
The majority of international careers in business are related to marketing, accounting/finance, sales, operations and consulting. Opportunities exist in multinational corporations, financial institutions, joint ventures, consulting agencies, manufacturers, etc. Many jobs are found here in the U.S. with frequent foreign travel once at a senior level.
Those who work in international development come from a variety of educational backgrounds with the common goal of improving economies internationally. International development has a high focus on economics and almost always requires a Master's degree to break into the field.
Those interested in global issues such as international business and human rights may find international law to be a good fit. There are two tracks to consider when thinking about a career in international law; public international law for those interested in international agreements made by governments; and private international law for those more interested in international business, human rights, the economy and the environment.
English teachers working abroad are responsible for developing lesson plans, instructing classes, and evaluating students. For most jobs, a U.S. teaching license or teaching experience is not required. Most positions; however, do require knowledge of the country's language and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification.
Many research organizations and think tanks focus on finding long term solutions related to foreign policy and international issues. In addition to research, they may publish academic papers, organize professional conferences, serve on government task forces and share their expert testimony before Congressional committees. Position titles include: Program Manager, Research Assistant and Research Associate.