Working Abroad Opportunities: 5 Ways That Require No Experience

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Working abroad is a dream for many. But many of us think that working abroad with no experience is not an option. 

Sending emails from a pavement cafe while sipping a cappuccino in Paris, France. Picking mandarins in the sunshine (!) in Queensland, Australia. Teaching eager ankle-biters in Bangkok, Thailand. This is what daydreams are made of! 

But is it possible to get a job overseas without experience? 

Good news – it is!

Even though by now we are seasoned travellers and experienced employees in a range of fields, we here at The TEFL Academy remember what it was like to be at the beginning of our working journey. Many of us managed to find work abroad with no experience. 

How to work abroad with no experience

Let’s start this off by giving a few tips for working abroad with no experience. 

  • Don’t be too ambitious. You can’t expect to walk into a high-paying job abroad with no experience. There are far more entry-level jobs abroad available to those with no experience.
  • Having said that, reconsider your experience and skills. Give some thought to what experience and skills you do have. Be creative.
  • Keep visas in mind. Focus your job search on jobs abroad in countries which are easily accessible to your passport.

You might be wondering, what is the best country for job opportunities abroad with no experience required?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this. It depends on your interests, your skill set, your future aspirations, and essentially, what you want from your time abroad. 

Now let’s look at your different options for job opportunities abroad without experience.

1. Become an ESL Teacher

Certainly a popular option is to become an ESL/EFL teacher.

What is TEFL?

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. TESL is considered the equivalent; it stands for Teaching English as a Second Language. ESL teachers teach English to speakers of other languages who want to learn to speak English. 

This can be in kindergarten, in a school, at a university, in-company, for a language school or privately. ESL teachers teach in English-speaking countries and non-English-speaking countries. ESL teachers often teach General English but can also teach English for Academic Purposes, English for Specific Purposes (English for Hospitality, English for Medicine, for example), Business English, and other subjects taught through the medium of English.

Read more: What Is English For Specific Purposes And How Do I Teach It?

To be an ESL teacher, you need to:

That’s it! The only teaching qualification you need is a TEFL qualification. You don’t need a BEd or a PGCE. As long as your TEFL certificate is 120 hours and done through an accredited TEFL course provider, you’re good to go!

Read more: How To Get TEFL Certified 

Popular countries for teaching without experience

You’ve probably heard that you need a degree to teach English abroad, and it doesn’t matter what field the degree is in. The latter is certainly true. Many TEFL teachers have degrees in Maths or Business or Psychology. And sure, some countries require you to have a Bachelor’s degree to be granted a work visa. But there are many countries which don’t require you to have a degree to get a visa to teach English.

Read more: Can I Teach English Abroad Without A Degree?

As for teaching experience, TEFL jobs don’t usually require you to have teaching experience. Many TEFL employers are more than happy to take on new teachers and give them the guidance they need.

Popular countries to teach English without experience are:

The pay rate for TEFL jobs depends on the country you are teaching in, the job you are teaching in, and your qualifications. In TEFL, experience is king so once you have some experience you can expect to be offered higher rates, but as a new teacher you can teach in entry-level positions.

For example, an entry-level position in Thailand for a new TEFL teacher with no experience pays THB30,000 – THB35,000 ($800 – $950) a month. Though this may not sound like a lot of money, with the low cost of living you’ll find your salary goes a lot further than you think it will.

How to find a TEFL job

The easiest way to find a TEFL job is to look online. The TEFL Academy has a Jobs Board with hundreds of jobs posted daily. and are other popular websites to look for teaching opportunities abroad.

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2. Become an au pair

Another popular option for those wanting to go abroad to work for the first time is to become an au pair. 

What is an au pair?

An au pair is someone who works for a family, looking after children. Au pairs take on a range of duties, including:

  • taking and fetching the children from school,
  • getting the children ready for school,
  • supervising and helping with homework,
  • giving the children snacks and meals,
  • getting the children ready for bed, and bedtime.

Au pair positions can be live-in positions or live-out positions. Working hours and rates vary from family to family. No formal qualifications are required but families conduct an interview to make sure the au pair is a good fit for their family. They look for candidates with enthusiasm, energy, personality and a love for children.

How to find an au pair position

There are many au pair recruitment agencies which place au pairs around the world. Signing up for one of these makes the process of choosing a family much easier – because they will choose for you.

Pay rates for au pairs vary from country to country and according to your responsibilities and hours. Au pairs are generally paid an hourly rate on a weekly basis. In the UK, for example, the average au pair rate is £90 – £100/week ($115 – $130/week). Bear in mind that as an au pair, your living expenses are minimal if you are provided with food and board.

3. Consider volunteering or interning abroad

A great option for working abroad with no experience is volunteering or interning.

What’s the difference between volunteering and interning?

Volunteering and interning are similar in structure but differ in purpose. Both are short-term job contracts. Both involve assisting established teams in companies and organisations. 

The major difference between volunteering and internships is the focus of the work experience. Anyone can volunteer in any field, regardless of their educational background. If John the accountant wants to save turtles in Costa Rica, he’s welcome to apply for a volunteer position abroad through one of the many conservation organisations. 

A volunteer position is an unpaid position. Some volunteer placements incur a fee to cover the admin costs for the programme. Volunteers may be paid a stipend to cover living costs but this will be minimal.

Internships, on the other hand, relate to the individual’s field of study. It’s a way for them to gain experience in their field in a company abroad. If John wants a taste of accounting in an international setting he might intern at Deloitte in Hong Kong for a few months.

Because they require some form of study background, internships are paid job opportunities. Depending on the field, internships can pay quite well – or not much at all.

How to find volunteering or internship opportunities abroad

There are a bunch of companies and organisations which place candidates in suitable internships or volunteer positions abroad. 

If you are looking to volunteer, think about what interests you and where you’d like to be. This will help you narrow down your search. 

If you want to intern, consider companies in your field which are known to offer internship positions – and remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.


4. Take advantage of Working Holiday Visa opportunities

Depending on where you want to go to get your work experience abroad, you might consider a Working Holiday Visa.

What is a Working Holiday Visa?

A Working Holiday Visa is a visa which allows an individual to live and work in a particular country for a specific amount of time. This visa has very strict requirements and the application process is lengthy and expensive, so be absolutely sure you are eligible before wasting your time and money.

A Working Holiday Visa does not specify what work you can and can’t do, as long as your work is not the focus of your visa. In other words, your main aim should not be earning money but working to fund your travels around the country.

How to get a Working Holiday Visa

A Working Holiday Visa might be known by other names in different countries. Each visa will have its own set of requirements and restrictions. 

An Australian who wants to work in the United States, for example, must apply to be a part of an exchange program and a full-time student or recent graduate to be eligible for a Working Holiday Visa. Most exchange programs require candidates to be between the ages of 18 and 28, but for some, there are no age restrictions.

To apply for a Working Holiday Visa in the country of your choice, visit their government website and find out exactly what you need to do to apply.

5. Find work on a cruise ship

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, maybe you should consider working on a cruise ship.

What work can you do on a cruise ship?

There are a range of different jobs you can do on a cruise ship which don’t require any experience. You can be a cabin steward, a deckhand, a bartender, an activity co-ordinator, a bell-person, an entertainer, a waitron, kitchen staff – just to name a few.

How to find work on a cruise ship

Check out online jobs boards or cruise line websites to look for available vacancies which suit your skills and interests. 

Requirements will vary across positions but those which don’t require experience generally only have an age requirement (over 18 or 21). Candidates should also have a valid passport and a clean criminal record.

Pay rates vary according to the job and the cruise line company. As an example, a vacancy on a popular cruise ship for a cabin steward with no experience is currently being advertised (in June 2024) as paying $1,750 – $2,500/ month.

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Working abroad with no experience

If you’re keen to embark on an adventure abroad and don’t have work experience, don’t fret! There are many options available to you – the choice is yours!

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