A Broad Range of Jobs Abroad


The idea of working abroad may conjure up exciting images, but the details of getting a work permit can be frustrating. Many countries only grant permits to those who already have jobs, and many employers won’t offer jobs to those who do not already have work permits. Here’s how American students can get help cutting through red tape.

For the past 23 years, the council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) has been operating a student work-abroad program. For a $96 fee, they take care of obtaining permits to legally seek short-term employment in New Zealand, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Britain, France, Ireland and Germany.

The CIEE does not find work. It helps those who are interested look. Participants are given a program handbook that contains information on the country, employment, list of possible employers and advice on accommodations and travel.


Nor are participants completely on their own in a foreign country. The CIEE makes arrangements with foreign-student travel services for informal orientations and to provide assistance with unforeseen problems.

There are no language requirements connected with the British, Irish, Canadian, Jamaican or New Zealand programs, but intermediate French, German and Spanish are required for obtaining documentation for working in France, Germany or Costa Rica.

Don’t expect to land a career, but you could make enough money to cover day-to-day expenses and to have interesting experiences. Last year, the CIEE helped 6,000 American students work abroad. Jobs varied: fruit picking in New Zealand, lifeguarding in Germany; grape picking in France or being a bicycle messenger in London, a secretary in Dublin, a hotel receptionist in Costa Rica. Students can start working in Britain at any time of the year and work for up to six months. Students also can start any time in France, but are only allowed to work for three months.

In Ireland, work can begin at any time, but it is limited to four months. Work can begin in Germany after May 1 and can continue until Oct. 15. For Jamaica and Costa Rica, work can start June 1 and continue until Oct. 1. In Canada, work is permitted from May 1 to Oct. 31.

Work Abroad information booklets and application forms are available by mail from CIEE, Work Abroad, 205 West 42nd St., New York 10017, or at the Council Travel Services office, 1093 Broxton Ave., Suite 220, Los Angeles 90024.