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Going abroad may seem like a big deal, but in reality, it’s fairly simple. Travelling has never been easier and trust me – you don’t need an awful lot of money to get started. Just take advantage of the opportunities that are right in front of you!
I consider myself an Erasmus-retiree, so people often ask me questions about my time away from home. Well, there’s quite a lot to talk about. But let me start by saying that living abroad is not a luxury. It always requires some initiative – you can’t expect opportunities to find you. Instead, go search for them yourself. And here’s how to find opportunities abroad.
There’s one word you should know by now. Erasmus. It’s a European funding program established in the late 1980s, offering grants to students who wish to study abroad up to 12 months per cycle of studies. Sounds appealing? Every university I know has a so-called “International Office”, which takes care of partnerships with other institutions of higher education around the world. Sure, it depends on your school, but there’s a high chance that you have at least a couple of universities to choose from.
And that’s not all. If for some reason you have no interest in Erasmus (highly unlikely), you can always find a more suitable program for yourself. Whether it’s CEEPUS, Double Diploma Programme, or simply a bilateral agreement between your university and a one abroad – the choice is yours. The only thing you should do is make an effort – find the right opportunity and apply for it, probably with a little help from your university. There’s often some serious paperwork involved – but don’t get discouraged. Studying abroad will surely be worth it.
Again, Erasmus. The program allows you not only to study but also to work abroad (check out Erasmus+ Traineeships or Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs). This time, though, you have to be more proactive because it’s entirely your job to find an employer willing to hire you. If you’re struggling to find opportunities abroad, there are plenty of search engines that could help you. Probably the best one for finding a job opening suitable for Erasmus funding is ErasmusIntern.org, but do a little research and don’t forget to polish your LinkedIn account, just in case.
Apart from going abroad via the Erasmus network, you should take a look at international student organizations. AIESEC, for example, offers a range of internships and volunteering opportunities in every corner of the world. Of course, working abroad can be a lot more challenging than studying, but it’s a fantastic way to add some relevant experience to your CV.
Speaking of, becoming a volunteer is also an option if you want to go abroad. You may not receive any financial compensation, but often there’s free accommodation and many other benefits on the table. You might want to check what European Voluntary Service (EVS) is all about, see your local AIESEC committee or read an exhaustive list of volunteer projects abroad prepared by VolunteerForever.com. Remember that money is not everything – devoting your time and skills to a good cause is something that everyone should try at least once in a lifetime.
Still not sure how to find opportunities abroad?
There are plenty of mobility opportunities in Europe and beyond. Check out Mov'in Europe website, stay tuned to our blog and don’t hesitate to comment if you have more tips for finding opportunities abroad.