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What in the World is Going On? A World of Opportunities

This guide is for those who wish to go abroad not primarily as tourists or travellers, but as students or workers who will probably be staying in a place for an extended period, and who will have more of a chance to settle into the country where they are staying — and less of a chance to simply leave if problems or difficulties arise.

To prepare yourself for study or work abroad, we encourage you to read the introductory section on assessing your suitability, finding positions, evaluating an offer, preparing yourself, succeeding while abroad, and coming back smoothly. This section is available in PDF® format (see below).

This guide is meant to be a first resource — to raise some questions, give you something to start with, get you headed in the right direction. Whether you are a veteran of many overseas stints, or simply thinking about starting your first, there should be plenty here to spark your interest and help you work towards a worthwhile international experience.

CBIE gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the Canadian International Development Agency for their financial support of this guide.

So — You want to go abroad …

By Alan Cumyn

The feeling has been with you for awhile. Perhaps now, for whatever reasons, the time is right. You are young and not ready, yet, for a long-term career; or you are retiring soon and looking forward to something very different; or you have simply been doing the same things for too long, and are ready to a change, a new challenge. Perhaps your course demands it or you want to follow a specialized course of study; or you just want to get away for a summer and pick up a language, or some credits, or a lot of new experiences.

Maybe your friends have gone. They are writing you letters with exotic postage stamps on them. Their handwriting has become very small. The words are jammed nearly on top of one another, squished in together on thin paper. They are talking about sunsets as if such things did not happen every day. Someone has spent five pages describing a marketplace, a mountain, a museum. They are telling you it is time to go abroad.

But perhaps a vacation is not what you want. Maybe you don’t have the funds. Maybe you are not interested in suitcases, knapsacks, hotels, hostels, twenty countries in nineteen days with complimentary continental breakfasts five mornings out of seven. You don’t want to feel like a flat rock spinning through the air, skipping from one place to another before you finally sink with exhaustion.

You want to live abroad. To work or study. To get to know people. Immerse yourself in a foreign culture. Rub shoulders with the locals. Speak their language, learn their ways, see the world through different eyes. Stay awhile. And have the kind of experience that will not only challenge you, but will run through the rest of your life.

I couldn’t speak the language. I was miserable for the first four months. Everything was bizarre. The food was terrible. I got sick… it was WONDERFUL!

For the full document in pdf format.
The next section, Resources, has a full directory of work, study and homestay information.