9 ways to earn money working abroad this summer
Everyone you know off galavanting somewhere exciting this summer? Why not go one better and earn some cash while you're at it!
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 choosing what to do when you're out there and where to go that's the hard part!
This guide provides some insight into the different kinds of opportunities available to you across the water – and the added bonus is that most of these opportunities are looking for students like you!
9 of the best summer jobs abroad
Become a holiday rep
Being a holiday rep is a nice opportunity to spend a summer in the sun whilst getting some great 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 great interpersonal skills to be good at this job, and have patience with dealing with difficult holiday makers.
There are a number of companies that offer seasonal holiday rep work. Big names like TUI and Thomas Cook run their own training schemes with opportunities to work in hotel entertainment, but there are alternatives out there if you'd prefer to work for a smaller, independent company.
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 in this list.
You'll have to do a course to receive a TEFL qualification before you're able to work, and these can set you back anything between £200-£400 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 a number of benefits like 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.
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 doing an internship, but agencies will often expect you to pay to do an internship.
Websites such as GapGuru and GoAbroad have hundreds of opportunities listed for ‘internships' around the world, but these are more akin to voluntary positions as most involve travelling to developing countries and paying up to support yourself whilst you're out there (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.
Before you start, make sure you know your rights as an intern!
Coach some sport
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).
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 approaching reputable companies yourself and working something out. It shows initiative, and as always, cutting the middle man out will make things much cheaper.
Enrol at a summer camp
Everyone knows someone who's gone to an American summer camp at some point, and got paid for it.
You can bag yourself up to £1250 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, too – you'll be expected to spend between £200-£600 to get there.
Plus you'll have to work hard – as a camp counsellor you'll be basically working 24-hours day. However, there may be the opportunity to go travelling at the end of the camp.
There are quite a few big players in the US summer camp game, so we've put together a complete comparison guide for you to get a clear picture of the best deal at the moment.
Don't forget that not all summer camps are in America though. You can also work in Europe, Canada or the Far East.
Work at a theme park
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 player in this arena is Disneyland, who offer castings both in the UK and Ireland for their Paris park.
Au pair for a family
One of the oldest work-abroad tricks in the book, 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 about £400/€450 per month is what you can expect if you're au pairing in Europe, and this can jump to as much as £880/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, which will be invaluable when you start 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 who 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!
Do some volunteering
If you're interested in helping a good cause, making a real difference in the community and getting some invaluable experience at the same time, there are thousands of volunteer projects out there just screaming out for keen beans like you.
Be aware that a lot of so-called ‘voluntourism' projects have come under fire recently 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 tough, and our guide to volunteering will tell you everything you get started.
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 is popular, and fruit picking in Australia even comes with extended visa perks.
The easiest way to sign up for these kind opportunities is to get in with Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms – affectionately known in the industry as WWOOF.
You pay a sum of around £50 to sign to up to one of their country-specific WWOOF sites (this cost varies from country to country, but £50 would be your max. cost), which then allows you to 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.
You'll have to sort out your own travel and visas though, so this option will require a bit of planning.
Just remember that this kind of work does involve some physical labour, so make sure you're up for the job before you leave!