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Work and Travel in Europe

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

German vineyardGreat 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.

Long-Term Jobs

London busTeaching 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.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Smaller Earth (http://www.smallerearth.com/us/work-and-travel-europe/) is also a great place to check out. I used that website to get an internship in London a few years ago. They can also connect you with wonderful volunteer opportunities.

  2. I think one thing that you didn’t mention is that if it’s your first time visiting Europe and you’re looking for a seasonal job – consider bringing a friend along with you. There are websites where families/couples post ads for things like helping to rebuild a house). Many of these ads request two people.

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