International Careers

The world is continuously becoming smaller, creating great opportunities for careers in international diplomacy or business for people with good cross-cultural and foreign language abilities in:

  • U.S. government - Departments of State or Commerce, International Trade Commission
  • U.N. related institutions - regional development banks and various commissions
  • Companies selling or buying overseas or multinational corporations
  • Financial institutions
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

International careers can involve:

  • Living and working in the US for an organization that sends you abroad for travel, or
  • Working for an organization that is located overseas or sends you abroad to work for a number of years at a time.


Option 1: Living in the US and travelling abroad

Many international careers involve living in the US and traveling overseas for weeks at a time. Foreign travel is generally used for:

  • Research - to analyze foreign politics or markets, identify projects or market opportunities, evaluate the financial impacts of foreign projects, etc.;
  • Engaging in discussions or negotiations with foreign partners; or
  • Providing consultation services for clients in foreign locations.


Option 2: Living and Working Abroad

Long term work abroad requires more planning - but it is highly rewarding for the right person! Careers involve going abroad to represent your organization, manage a foreign project or subsidiary, direct foreign operations, or provide consulting services.

Note that NGOs, financial institutions, and companies usually prefer to send employees who are fully trained in their domestic operations before taking a foreign assignment, so starting an international career with them usually means working domestically first.

If your goal is long-term work abroad, you need to demonstrate your potential to be adaptable and self-sufficient overseas. You can demonstrate this with:

  1. Knowledge of a foreign language and
  2. A history of living, studying, volunteering, and/or working abroad.