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Jobs & Careers

9 ways to earn money working abroad this summer

Is everyone you know off galavanting somewhere exciting this summer? You could go one better and earn some cash while you're at it.

people working in a field and a man with a backpack in a city

Credit: Twinsterphoto (right) - Shutterstock

Spending your summer working abroad will provide a welcome dose of sunshine, some cash in your pocket and an experience that will impress future employers just as much as your mates.

But, while making the decision to go abroad is easy, it's not as easy to choose where to go and what to do when you're out there.

This guide provides some insight into the different kinds of summer jobs abroad that are available to you. And the big bonus is that most of these opportunities are looking for students like you.

If you're worried about the additional costs of going abroad for the summer, our guide to super cheap travel has all the tips you need.

9 of the best summer jobs abroad

Here are the best jobs to consider if you want to find seasonal work abroad:

  1. Become a holiday rep

    Being a holiday rep is a great opportunity to spend your summer working abroad in the sun while getting some further experience for your CV.

    Bar work would be a fun, less demanding option, but working as a rep will earn you a lot more kudos when it comes to getting a graduate job.

    Hours can vary from company to company, but it isn’t unusual to find you only have one day off per week. You'll need strong interpersonal skills to be good at this job and have patience with dealing with difficult holidaymakers.

    There are a number of companies that offer seasonal holiday rep work. Big names like TUI run their own training schemes, but there are alternatives out there if you'd prefer to work for smaller, independent companies.

  2. Teach English abroad

    teacher in front of class
    If you're on the hunt for a really rewarding adventure and some additional qualifications, then TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) could be the perfect choice for you.

    Going ahead with this option will involve more planning than most of the other jobs on this list.

    You'll have to do a course to receive a TEFL qualification before you're able to work. These can set you back anything between £100 – £800+ depending on whether you chose to study online or in a classroom.

    But for the chance to work further afield in Asia, Africa or South America, for many it's worth the investment. Pay will vary from country to country, but you'll often find that some benefits, such as accommodation, are thrown in for free.

    You can also teach English at language summer camps in Europe if you fancy staying closer to home. If you're keen to know more about how to get started, check out our guide to TEFL for students.

  3. Do an internship

    First things first – it's worth clarifying that the chances of you earning money doing an internship are, unfortunately, pretty slim.

    Therefore, this option is more for students looking for an experience to widen their future career opportunities rather than earn some cash. In fact, not only will you not get paid to do an internship, but agencies will often expect you to pay to do an internship.

    Websites such as Go Overseas and GoAbroad have hundreds of opportunities listed for 'internships' around the world, but these are more akin to voluntary positions. Most involve paying upfront for the food and board provided while you're out there, and they also take a cut of the cash for themselves.

    Doing your own research online and scoping out opportunities independently can be a lot more rewarding, and cheaper to boot. Just make sure you look into companies and check they're legit before making any agreements.

    Global companies such as Google and BuzzFeed will advertise intern opportunities worldwide too, but bear in mind competition will be fierce. And before you start, make sure you know your rights as an intern.

  4. Become a sports coach

    As with internships, the coaching market is dominated by companies who will sort out your placement and accommodation, but for a fee.

    Some will pay you to coach, but you'll still have to fork out an initial fee to secure the placement and accommodation (a bit of a false economy, we agree).

    Big players include Gap360 who will send you to India, Africa or South America to coach. If you like the idea of spending a few months in Australia, check out SportLived.

    Again, always make sure you check customer reviews before booking with a company.

    If you've already got some coaching experience under your belt, there's nothing to stop you from approaching reputable companies yourself and working something out. It shows initiative, and as always, cutting the middleman out will make things much cheaper.

  5. Enrol at a summer camp

    Everyone knows someone who's been to an American summer camp and got paid for it. You can bag yourself up to $2,000 in payment working at one of these camps, which isn't a bad sum to net for the summer.

    But it's worth remembering these opportunities come with a cost – you'll be expected to spend a few hundred pounds to get there.

    Plus, it's no easy ride. As a camp counsellor, you'll basically be working 24 hours a day. There may be an opportunity to go travelling at the end of the camp, but whether you'll have the energy is another question!

    There are quite a few big players in the game, so we've put together a complete American summer camp comparison guide to help you find the best deal for you.

    Don't forget that not all summer camps are in America. You can also work in Europe, Canada or the Far East.

  6. Work at a theme park

    minnie mouse in disneyland
    If you're looking for a summer job that pays pretty well, then theme parks can be a good option.

    You'll have to work hard but you'll enjoy lots of interaction with (mostly) happy customers and should hopefully be grouped in with like-minded people.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the biggest players in this arena are Disneyland. They offer castings both in the UK and Ireland for their Paris park.

  7. Au pair for a family

    This is one of the most classic working abroad jobs. You'll find loads of families desperate for an au pair to look after their kids, particularly during the summer months when school's out.

    Pay will vary widely, but depending on the country, you can expect anywhere from £210 – £430 (€250 – €500) per month in Europe, and as much as £900 per month if you find work in Canada.

    You'll also be given your accommodation free of charge, and depending on where you end up, you can use the experience to brush up on your language skills. This could prove to be invaluable when it comes to your graduate job search.

    The best way to find an opportunity to au pair is to look at specialist agencies or job boards. The British Au Pairs Agencies Association compiles a list of reputable companies that can help you find placements.

    Just make sure you research the family you'll be working with thoroughly beforehand – you're going to be living with them after all. And it goes without saying, you need to be good with kids to excel as an au pair! Read our full guide on how to become an au pair for more information.

  8. Do some volunteering

    If you're interested in helping a good cause and making a real difference in the community, there are thousands of volunteer projects out there that could be perfect for you. Though it won't earn you any money, you will be earning some invaluable experience.

    Be aware that a lot of so-called 'voluntourism' projects have come under fire for causing more harm than good. Make sure you go with a project that really has the cause at heart. If it's all about the money, what's the point?

    There are still some great options out there, and our guide to volunteering will tell you everything you need to get started.

  9. Try some manual labour

    If you're someone who's not afraid to get your hands dirty, why not look into a bit of manual labour abroad?

    Grape and olive picking in Italy or France are popular, and fruit picking in Australia even comes with extended visa perks.

    The easiest way to sign up for these kinds of opportunities is to get in with Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms – affectionately known in the industry as WWOOF.

    You have to pay a £25 membership fee, which allows you to create a profile and get in touch with various farmers directly and negotiate a placement.

    Most people will stay around one or two weeks, and you'll be expected to work between four and six hours a day, in return for free boarding and food.

    This option requires some planning as you'll have to sort out your own travel and visas. And just remember that this kind of work does involve physical labour, so make sure you're up for the job before you leave!

If that hasn't got you thinking about how to have a summer to remember, we don't know what will.

On the hunt for a part-time job with a difference? Make sure you explore all of your options – we've listed the best part-time student jobs.

Laura Brown

WRITTEN BY Laura Brown

Laura Brown, Head of Editorial at Save the Student, is an award-winning writer with expertise in student money. She project manages influential national student surveys and has presented findings to MPs in Westminster. As an expert on student issues, Laura has been quoted by the BBC, the Guardian, Metro and more.
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