Students who complete their degree at an American university in Italy often fall in love with the country – and find themselves searching for ways to stay on in Europe after graduation. Finding a job might be one solution, but before you cancel your return ticket home to the US, keep in mind that landing a position as a non-EU citizen is no easy feat. The hiring company needs to sponsor you, which means proving that the job should go to you – and not an actual EU citizen. This justification will mean detailing the special skills and abilities you bring to the company, so a good place to begin is by making a list of the qualities that might make you uniquely attractive to a European employer. Your English language skills may qualify as a unique asset. Do you speak any additional languages? Have you completed an internship and thus have related work experience in your field of choice?
Consider your strengths and weaknesses and keep an open mind – although there is red tape when it comes to hiring foreigners, there are still a number of job opportunities for students interested in extending their stay in Europe. Here are few ideas to get started:
A quick Google search will reveal numerous volunteer organizations looking for applicants to participate in projects overseas. You won’t make money as a volunteer, but your accommodations and meals are typically covered – so you have an opportunity to explore new territory, build work experience, and help others – all while expanding your cultural horizons. From humanitarian initiatives to helping out on a farm, the diversity of volunteer positions is virtually limitless. Of course, it’s important to investigate each organization thoroughly and examine online reviews before joining up.
If you have (or acquire) TESL/TEFL certification you may be able to land a job teaching English in Europe. There are opportunities for English instructors, particularly those with a university degree and TESL credentials. Spain and France actually operate government assistance programs that recruit thousands of Americans each year to work as assistant English instructors at public schools. Turkey also has a great demand for English instructors, and is a good market for American applicants who won’t need to worry about their non-EU status. Teaching gigs are great for a short-term extension of your study abroad student experience – they offer an additional 6 months or so of travel and paid work.
So let’s say you graduate from our American university in Rome but are unable to find a way of extending your stay in Europe. Experienced work-abroad participants recommend focusing your job search on large organizations with an international presence. So even if you’re back in the US, landing a job at a multinational company could lead to a position overseas in time. Your experience as a study abroad student, and your ability to speak a second or third language will help reinforce your application for a transfer. The larger your company’s networks, the better your chance of successfully navigating some of those trickier EU hiring policies.
If you could land a job anywhere in the world, where would you work and what would you do?