Work Abroad Programs in Europe

Working abroad is an opportunity to discover new cultures and have unique experiences. Plus, working in another country can make your resume stand out.

However, those who want to work abroad should know that it’s not always easy to find your dream job in the country of your choice. Here are different options to explore if you’re wondering how to work abroad in Europe.

Working Abroad Through an Agency

If you want to work abroad, an international recruitment agency can be an excellent option. These agencies partner with employers to offer work abroad programs. Employers get access to top talent, and employees get to discover a new country and spend some time abroad.

You’ll find these agencies in many countries, but their missions can differ. Some agencies cater to young college graduates looking to gain experience in another country while others connect candidates with jobs abroad in a specific industry.

Pros of Working Abroad Through an Agency

There are several benefits to going through an international agency:

  • The agency will match you with an employer who offers part-time employment or a full-time job.
  • You’ll get help with applying for a working holiday visa or another type of work permit.
  • The agency can help with moving abroad, including finding housing.
  • Some agencies offer classes so you can learn the local language and culture.
  • Working abroad through an agency is less stressful since you can reach out to the agency if you need help with anything.

Job Opportunities

Recruitment agencies offer a wide range of international jobs. You can find career options with low entry barriers, such as working as an au pair or performing manual labor.

You can also leverage your unique skills and experience to work as a scuba diving instructor, cook, or translator. Popular career options include positions in the hospitality and travel fields, two of the fastest-growing industries in Europe.

You’ll also find jobs in the tech industry since European businesses need qualified data and AI scientists. If you have a background in IT or engineering, your job search will be easier.

Are There Any Downsides?

While agencies remain a convenient way to work abroad, there are a few downsides to consider:

  • Some programs have an age limit.
  • Some agencies look for specific profiles to match candidates with employers.
  • Most employers will offer seasonal work or a one-year contract. It’s enough to apply for holiday visas in different European countries, but it’s not an ideal option if you’re looking for a long-term career opportunity.
  • There can be a fee for this service. Plus, some agencies will charge additional fees for housing or classes so you can learn the local language.

Getting Started

If getting a job through an international recruitment agency sounds like a good fit for you, you should check out these agencies:

Teaching English Abroad

Working as an English teacher is a popular international job because teaching English is a relatively accessible career when English is your native language.

It’s a great option for those who want to work abroad before going into teaching, and the opportunity to teach English in a foreign work environment will give you a unique perspective on different education systems.

Explore a Wide Range of Opportunities

There is a strong demand for teachers in many countries. Spain is a popular destination if you want a teaching job overseas, but you’ll also find jobs in Italy, France, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic.

Germany will need 25,000 teachers by 2025 while France is currently looking to fill over 4,000 teaching jobs.

The prospect of teaching children can be intimidating, especially if you have no previous classroom experience. Plus, working overseas can be a culture shock since education systems are extremely different.

The good news is that most teaching jobs are available through agencies. These agencies will help you find a job, go through the visa process, and guide you as you learn to navigate a new culture.

These international programs give you access to traditional jobs in a public school setting, but you can also explore teaching opportunities in private schools, international schools, and summer camps.

If teaching children doesn’t seem like a good fit for you, you can also look for jobs abroad that consist of teaching business English to adults. As a native English speaker, you’ll find that there is a demand for your language skills in the corporate world.

If you find the idea of working abroad as a teacher intimidating either way, you can get some experience teaching ESL via remote tutoring services. These companies will pay you to interact with students from another country over voice or video chat.

Getting Started

Tutoring students remotely can prepare you if you want to work abroad and give you a better idea of what teaching ESL is like.

Popular programs include the International TEFL Academy, CIEE Teach Abroad, and RVF International. There are other options to consider, and you should take the time to compare different programs since the pay and the available positions can vary a lot.

Most programs will also require you to earn a TEFL certificate before you can teach abroad. You can obtain this certificate by taking a short online course but some agencies offer in-person classes you can take before getting your teaching assignment.

Apply for a Digital Nomad Visa

Digital nomad visas are programs that allow you to work remotely in another country. If you can find a job where your employer is fine with you traveling around the world, you can work abroad in more than 50 countries that offer these programs.

How Do Digital Nomad Visas Work?

There are some strict requirements to meet to qualify for one of these working holiday visas. You’ll have to research the working holiday visa program of the country you want to visit, but there are a few things most of these programs have in common:

  • You need to work for an employer based in your country of origin. You can’t legally work for a company based in your destination country.
  • Some countries let you be your own boss and work as an entrepreneur with these holiday visas.
  • You’ll pay taxes in your country of origin while working abroad with most programs.
  • These working holiday visas aren’t valid work authorization to earn extra money with a local job.
  • You can work abroad for a certain period, typically a year. Some countries give you the possibility to renew these work permits.
  • There are strict income requirements. You’ll either have to prove that you have enough savings to support yourself or earn a steady income through remote work.
  • Some countries require you to carry a health insurance policy for the duration of your stay.
  • In some countries, you can apply for additional visas to bring your family with you.
  • If you obtain a visa from a country that belongs to the Schengen Area, you’ll be able to travel to the 26 countries included in the Schengen Area.

Where Can You Work as a Digital Nomad in Europe?

Europe is the region with the most countries that offer digital nomad visas. These countries include:

  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Germany
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Greece
  • Romania
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Albania
  • Armenia

Pros and Cons of Digital Nomad Visas

A digital nomad visa is a flexible option if you want a job abroad. You can work for a wide range of industries and further your career while working remotely.

You can also apply for more than one digital nomad visa and travel around Europe for a while. It’s a unique opportunity to live like a local while supporting yourself with a remote job.

Plus, most remote jobs have flexible schedules that give you plenty of time to explore a foreign country or travel to a nearby European country.

The downside is that you’ll need to meet strict income requirements to prove that you can support yourself while living abroad. Your employer also has to provide the necessary documents to confirm that you have a remote job.

While some ex-pats enjoy the freedom and flexibility of digital nomad visas, living overseas without having an agency you can contact if you need help can be a scary prospect.

If you decide to live and travel through Europe with one of these visas, plan for unforeseen expenses and consider purchasing a comprehensive insurance policy even if your country of destination doesn’t require you to carry insurance.

Applying for a European Work Visa

If you want to work in a different country, a possible option is to find a European employer and have them sponsor you for a work visa.

Each European country has its own immigration rules. If you have a specific country in mind for working abroad, you’ll have to do some research on how to obtain a visa.

Most countries require you to sign a valid employment contract before you can apply for a visa. It’s generally easier to find an overseas job in an industry with shortages, but employers can sponsor you as long as they can prove that they weren’t able to find a qualified candidate within a specific time frame.

The main difficulty is going to find an employer who is willing to sponsor you. Depending on the country, the employer might have to pay fees to hire you or go through a complex administrative process to prove you’re the only person qualified for the job.

Special Visa Programs

However, some European countries have adopted programs designed to facilitate the process of obtaining a work permit in specific industries with labor shortages.

For instance, the UK makes it easy to work abroad if you qualify as a skilled worker or have a background in healthcare.

In Austria, engineers, technicians, and roofers can obtain visas easily. There are also regional shortages in fields like insurance agents, hairdressers, salespeople, childcare workers, and social workers.

Other countries have similar programs for different professions. You should find out more about which professions are in demand to get a better idea of which European countries will be most likely to approve your visa application.

A Few Tips

Here are a few tips to help you work abroad without the help of a recruitment agency:

  • Research qualification requirements for work permits. Depending on the country of destination, there might be income or insurance requirements. You might also have to prove that you can speak a foreign language.
  • Be flexible in your job search. There might be more job opportunities away from large cities and popular tourist destinations.
  • When applying for a job, disclose that you need an employer to sponsor you in your cover letter.
  • It might be easier to find possible employers if you focus on temporary positions. Even if you explain that you want to work abroad in your cover letters, employers might not consider you as someone who will settle permanently in Europe.
  • If you have some vacation time, travel to Europe and meet employers in person.
  • Facebook Groups and discussion threads are helpful resources for learning more about obtaining a visa. Look for online communities where you can interact with people who have successfully found a job in Europe.

Consider an International Career

Some jobs entail traveling around the globe and working abroad for extended periods. An international job can be an exciting way to discover the world while acquiring new skills and professional experiences.

Here are a few examples of industries where businesses often send employees overseas.

Travel and Hospitality

A job in the travel and hospitality industry is one of the most popular ways to work abroad. From flight attendants to staff members on a cruise ship, there are plenty of open positions available.

Other career options include tour guide, chef, wedding planner, event manager, travel agent, and more. Many of these careers are in high demand and require minimal training or include on-the-job training.


Teaching abroad is a popular way to gain international work experience, but there are many other opportunities in the education field.

As an academic, you can travel to European countries to conduct research or teach as a guest lecturer. You can also manage an international exchange program or work at an international school.

Sales and Procurement

If you want an exciting international job, consider working as a salesperson or procurement specialist for a major company.

As an international salesperson, you could meet clients in Spain one day before flying to South Korea to negotiate a contract the next one.

With many businesses experiencing supply chain challenges, working in procurement can also be an exciting overseas job. Your work will include meeting suppliers in your home country and around the globe.

Construction and Energy

A growing number of countries are investing in building a clean and modern infrastructure. If you have a background in construction or energy, there are plenty of opportunities that will have you work in construction jobs abroad.

Tech Industry

The tech industry is growing at a fast pace, and international companies are emerging as leaders in fields like data science or AI.

If you want to find a job abroad, look for a tech company that is working on developing a presence in a new market.


Consultants can work in a wide range of industries. If you have several years of experience in a specific field and are ready to launch your own business, working as a consultant could be your dream job.

As a consultant, you can travel the world to spend a few weeks or months with each client. You can provide unique insights regarding business strategy, hiring, finances, design, IT systems, compliance, PR, and much more.


As an athlete, you can travel the world to compete in a wide range of events or explore unique training opportunities.

There are also jobs like an athletic recruiter or event manager that will have you travel throughout Europe and other continents.

Gain International Experience as an Intern

Completing an internship abroad is an excellent way to discover a country’s culture while gaining some valuable work experience.

Finding an Internship in Europe

Finding an internship can be easier compared to securing a job abroad. Most countries will ask you to meet the same requirements as for a traditional work permit, which is why you need to do some research about your desired country and the requirements to meet.

For instance, Germany requires you to sign a valid contract before you can apply for a visa, and you’ll also have to purchase insurance.

You can find an internship by approaching companies you’re interested in or by going through an agency that specializes in matching interns with employers.

The downside of interning abroad is that you might not receive pay or might not earn enough to support yourself.

Studying in Europe

As an international student, you won’t be able to work abroad. However, some countries will let you complete unpaid internships during your stay. You might even qualify for a visa extension so you can complete an internship.

Studying and interning in a European country can open the door to finding jobs abroad later.

Volunteering Abroad

You don’t need to find a job if you want to live abroad and experience different cultures. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities that allow you to travel around the world or stay in another country for a few months.

How to Volunteer Abroad

Volunteering is a rewarding experience that will help you learn a new language, experience life in a new city, and spend time with people from different cultures.

You can find volunteer work in different areas, including education, healthcare, childcare, construction, research, sustainability, agriculture, and more.

There is a volunteering project for everyone, and you can find non-profits that provide housing for their international volunteers. It’s also a fun way to meet like-minded people from around the world. Plus, adding an international volunteering experience to your resume can make you a good candidate for an international career later on.

Since volunteering isn’t a paid activity, you can volunteer on a tourist visa as long as you don’t plan on living in Europe for more than 90 days.

If you plan on staying longer, you’ll need the non-profit to sponsor you so you can apply for a work permit. Long-term volunteering positions aren’t easy to find, but it’s possible to work abroad for a non-profit if you bring unique skills to the table.

Finding Volunteering Opportunities

The best way to find volunteering opportunities in Europe is to be flexible and not have a certain country in mind. Learn more about what different programs and nonprofits offer and ask yourself where your skills would be the most helpful.

You can also travel abroad on a tourist visa and look for nonprofits in need of volunteers. Since you’re not traveling on a work permit, there are no restrictions regarding where you can volunteer.

The main downside of volunteering abroad is that you’ll have to save up enough money to support yourself for the duration of the project.

Here are a few programs and nonprofits you can explore to get started:


Working in a European country can be a life-changing experience. From meeting new people to discovering a different workplace culture, it’s a project that will support your personal and professional development.

Finding a job in Europe isn’t always easy, but you can increase your chances of getting a work permit by going through an international agency, focusing on jobs in industries with labor shortages, or considering an alternative like volunteering abroad.

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