Spending a few years traveling Europe is only a dream for most of us. But you can make it work if you’re dedicated. If you’re worried about finances, click here for ways to earn money while you travel. The first thing you need to figure out is how long you’re legally allowed to stay. The Schengen Area encompasses most of Europe. You can travel within this area on a traditional passport for 90 days within a period of 180 days.
With a Schengen Visa, you can stay in the area for more than 90 days. Countries outside the Schengen Area all have different Visa requirements. You can learn about the requirements for US travelers from the US State Department.
If your parents or grandparents are European citizens, look into the process of obtaining an EU passport. Otherwise, here are some ways to prolong your stay without obtaining a Schengen Visa:
Have you ever wanted to travel to Europe – but don’t have enough money? One of the best ways to truly experience a country is to work while you explore. A job will immerse you in the local culture and fund your journey. After all, you’ll find that your savings won’t amount to much when exchanged for euros. The UK, Germany, London, and Spain are a few of the most popular places for Americans looking for work in Europe.
Before you pack your bags, consider the following:
- How long do you want to work in Europe?
- In which country do you want to work?
- Will you need to take language classes?
- Are you able to/do you need to acquire a work permit?
- Are you interested in teaching English?
Seasonal & Short-Term Jobs
Great for backpackers, these jobs usually don’t require a work permit and pay in cash. Farms and vineyards are always looking for short-term employees. If you want to visit Europe during the summer months, consider being a camp counselor. This is a fun, rewarding job that allows you to work with kids. As a bonus, counselors are usually provided with food and a place to stay free of charge.
If you’re young, you should definitely consider being an Au Pair – a foreign individual hired to care for children and do housework. As an Au Pair, you will have food, a safe place to stay, and money. Living with a family will completely immerse you in the local culture. You might even have the opportunity to learn a new language. European parents are always eager to hire English-speaking Au Pairs.
If you don’t like kids or farm work, look into hostels, bars, and tour companies. You will probably have access to a free room if you work in a hostel. It’s an easy way to make cash – as long as you don’t mind cleaning toilets! Bars, on the other hand, are great places to meet the locals (and snag a few free drinks). If you like speaking in front of a group, consider being a tour guide. Sandeman’s New Europe Tours, one of Europe’s most famous tour companies, operates in cities such as Amsterdam, London, and Berlin. Tour companies often require you to have a work permit. If they are unable to sponsor you for a work permit (but still want to hire you) you might be in danger of exploitation.
Teaching English is the most popular long-term job available to Americans. You’ll want to earn your TEFL certificate before you leave. You can teach at a private language school, work on a freelance basis, or work with an agency. For more information on teaching in Europe, click here.
If you’re looking to further an existing career, consider an internship (Europeans call them “mini-jobs”). Unfortunately, many internships are unpaid. On the plus side, most interns are sponsored. Magazines and tour companies are the best places to look for an internship. Once again, be wary of exploitation. It’s a good idea to ask other employees about their hours and paychecks. Don’t let yourself be exploited just because you’re thankful for the opportunity to work with the company!
Online is the best place to start looking for work. Check out StaTravel and WorkAway.
Many individuals attend college in a foreign country not only to earn a prestigious degree, but also to experience different cultures. A business degree is a valuable tool to have in today’s tough job market.
A business degree will:
- Teach you skills useful for any career
- Improve your teamwork, time management, problem-solving, and leadership skills
- Give you opportunities to travel
- Prepare you for life
- Help you structure your personal finances
Whether you want to go for a basic accounting degree or pursue an MBA, earning a business degree is never a bad idea.
Earning a degree is a different experience in Europe than in the US. Whereas US applicants are pressured to show uniqueness, European applicants are asked to show why they are interested in a particular subject. Along with standardized test scores, European schools look at leadership skills and motivation. If you mention an extracurricular activity, it better be related to your intended field of study.
European schools are focused on education – there are no mascots, school colors, or football teams. This “no frills” approach to learning enables universities to be cheap (sometimes free!). While American professors are easily approachable and viewed as mentors, European professors lecture in great halls while standing on a raised platform. Which school you attend should depend on your personal goals.
Here are the top three business schools in Europe:
#3: Saïd Business School (Oxford, UK)
Here’s a fun fact: just three months after they graduate, the average alumni is earning six figures (maybe these are people staying in Europe’s luxury golf resorts later in life)! Oxford’s prestigious business school is known for producing programmers. The school is divided into three sections: Business, Finance, and Management. Graduate students can earn their MBA in one year at SBS. In 2006, SBS launched a series of programs in which students can earn one of three diplomas in just 18 months. In 2013, SBS’s MBA program was ranked 24th in the world, 3rd in the UK, 6th in “The Best International MBA Programs” (Forbes), and 5th in “International Business Schools” (Business Week).
#2: London Business School (London, UK)
LBS is the UK’s top business school. It is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 business schools in the world. A competitive school, LBS offers many different business degrees including MBAs and PhDs. Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy is perhaps the school’s most famous degree. It is a master’s program developed for senior executives and professionals. Most Sloan Fellows have 15 years of experience under their belts before they start the program. The degree is full time and takes one year to complete. LBS also has a campus located in Dubai.
#1: INSEAD (Paris, France)
It’s not easy to get into INSEAD. Students must score 702 or higher on the GMAT (one point higher than the score required to get into LBS). This global graduate school is famous for its MBA program. It also offers a Master of Finance, a PhD in Management, and many other executive programs. Because INSEAD has campuses in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, students have the unique opportunity to study in three different continents. Alumni have endless opportunities because INSEAD shares career services with Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Kellogg School of Management in the US.
If you’re interested in becoming a traveling teacher, Europe is one of the best places to go. With so many countries to explore, the opportunities for adventure are endless. Unlike Americans, Europeans aren’t all about work. You’ll find that a teaching job provides you with enough money and free time to fully experience your new home.
Finding a job in a foreign country can be intimidating. The first thing you need to do is decide in which country you’d like to teach. Almost every country wants English teachers, but Spain, the UK, Georgia, and France have the highest need. Based on ease of obtaining a legal job and overall experience, the best countries in which to teach English are Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, France, and Denmark. If you’re not ready to immerse yourself in a foreign language, consider teaching in the UK. Many people move there just to learn English.
Each country has different education requirements. Make sure you meet the qualifications for your new job. Most employers require an undergraduate degree or a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. You can obtain a TEFL certificate online, but it’s best to find a program that includes teaching experience. English, Literature, and Teaching degrees are also valuable. Some institutions will require you to prove your proficiency in English. Others require only a basic teaching license. Interpersonal skills are also very important when it comes time to apply, as well as previous experience.
If you wish to work in a private language school, you will have to complete a basic course of 100 or more hours with 6 hours of observed teaching. Some facilities offer and require more specific courses, such as ILT (Introduction to Language Teaching), PLT (Practice of Language Training), and Literacy.
Many Americans overlook the fact that some European countries prefer a certain gender. Other countries only hire teachers within a certain age range (usually 20-40). If you have obtained a TEFL and you are under the age of 19, you will probably only be able to teach in volunteer situations.
As with almost any job, your salary depends on many factors, including experience, seniority, and education. There is sometimes a danger of exploitation when you travel and teach. In recent years, many institutions in Spain have paid teachers under the table in order to maximize their profits. This might not sound bad for the teachers, but when paid illegally, teachers can lose their benefits. Make sure you are paid in accordance with the law.
Some countries ignore labor laws when it comes to foreign employees. They assume the foreigners won’t know or understand local laws regarding things like end-of-contract payments and working hours. If you don’t speak the local language and/or aren’t familiar with the country’s culture, you may find yourself a victim. Individuals who can’t adapt to the culture of their new home usually give up after a few months. With proper preparation, you should be able to avoid this situation.
Speaking of preparation, you’ll also want to make sure you have the proper documents. Requirements are different for each European country. Many teachers follow the “don’t ask, don’t tell” method by working illegally with a tourist visa. This is not a good idea!
There are several websites you can visit to help you get a professional teaching job abroad. Check out TeacherHit.com and TeachAway.com. Keep in mind that September is the highest recruiting month for foreign English teachers.