What should you study if you want to see the world and enjoy a happy career path? Uncover the best degrees and college majors for people who want to travel and work internationally.
If you want to travel and work abroad, you’re not alone. Many people want to spread their wings and see what the world has to offer after college. Luckily, you can do so while getting paid.
Here are some of the top majors for global career opportunities.
English as a second language (ESL) is a degree path that allows you to teach English to non-native speakers abroad. Once you graduate, you’ll have a variety of countries to choose from, from Costa Rica to the United Arab Emirates to Japan. Places that need lots of teachers, such as China and South Korea, don’t require you to have experience beforehand.
Beyond a salary, some of these positions also cover your housing costs, allowing you to put away extra savings toward student loan debt. You can even become an au pair — a position that will provide you with housing and meals in return for teaching and taking care of children abroad. Speaking a foreign language improves your chances of scoring one of these international positions. When you’re not teaching, you can travel around and see the sights.
A business degree can be lucrative, allowing you to work in any field from tech to entertainment. Pick a specialization like project management, administration, finance, human resources, or international marketing. After graduation, you’ll be able to find a job almost anywhere in the world.
If you want to get your foot in the door, look for an entry-level position in a big city like London, Singapore or Shanghai. You could also intern for an international corporation, such as J.P. Morgan, Google, BP, or L’Oreal.
3. Health Care
Health care is a universal need, so you can find work with this degree all around the world. Save lives and promote health education, all while traveling to new places. Majoring in health care doesn’t mean you have to become a doctor — you could also be a nurse, therapist, researcher, or dental assistant.
Once you obtain your degree, you can seek an open position abroad. Another option is to join Doctors Without Borders, an organization with medical projects in more than 70 different countries, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Don’t let the name fool you — you don’t have to be a licensed doctor to help.
Do you have a love for language? Whether it’s Spanish, Arabic, Bantu, or something else, you can apply your skills to a job in translation or teaching. In this position, your workplace could be a school, hospital, courtroom, or business center. The more languages you learn, the more choices you’ll have on where to work abroad.
You’ll need to be able to convert foreign concepts from native tongues into relevant terms in the target language. It will help to understand the country’s culture and values. Beyond speaking, you can also gain work through transcribing documents or teaching foreign languages to children.
When it comes to degrees that allow you to travel, you can’t go wrong with hospitality. You’ll take a range of college classes, including food safety, meeting and hotel management, and laws and ethics. Your schedule will likely also include business courses.
Once you graduate, you’ll be able to work at any hotel, resort, or restaurant in the world. Research areas where you want to travel, then write your resume highlighting your skills in that country’s language. While you can apply for jobs online, you’ll have better luck if you visit in person.
Do you want to make the world a better place? If so, consider majoring in diplomacy. Not only will you get to travel the world, but you’ll also help your fellow citizens who run into issues abroad. As a diplomat, you can expect perks like free accommodations, travel allowances, and language tuition.
You’ll take a wide range of courses when you get a diplomacy degree. Expect to learn about economics, foreign policy, negotiation tactics, conflict management, and international relations. You may also be able to choose a concentration, such as international commerce or terrorism.
Do you like spending time outdoors? If so, you may be fit for a degree in agriculture. You’ll find tons of opportunities once you graduate to work in environmental, conservation, and sustainability roles.
Some positions allow you to travel to impoverished countries and teach communities how to farm food and care for animals. If you want to gain experience before you graduate, consider an internship with Oyster Worldwide, World Endeavors, or ZRFA.
8. Marine Science
If you love the ocean and all its inhabitants, consider majoring in marine science or biology. To do in-field research abroad, you’ll probably need to study beyond a bachelor’s degree to a master’s or Ph.D. Gain experience before you graduate with an internship through GVI, VACorps, or Caribbean Reef Buddy.
With your skills, you can travel to any coastal destination and spend hours at sea collecting specimens and data. You’ll also see lots of time in the lab, so strong research and analytical skills are a must. When you’re not working, why not spend time on a beach or two?
If you want to be the one uncovering juicy stories, not reading them, consider a career as a journalist. Travel the world as an international correspondent, breaking the top global headlines. Feel a sense of purpose as you educate citizens on pressing issues.
While the base salary may be lower starting out, you can expect to make around $43,000 per year according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics after gaining some experience — roughly $20 per hour. If you can’t find work with a traditional media outlet, you could make a living as a freelancer, picking and choosing your projects.
If you love buildings and renowned architecture, consider a major in construction with a concentration in management, land development, or acquisition. With a degree, you can work on projects all around the globe. You may get to create infrastructure in developing countries or design large-scale buildings in metropolitan cities.
In school, you’ll learn about building codes, making and reading blueprints, estimating costs, and using project software. The ideal program will also offer plenty of field experience, working on community construction sites, and completing a final project with other students.
One of the best degrees for working abroad — and making a decent salary — is engineering. Civil engineers, for instance, play a significant role in developing infrastructure, and there’s a great demand for these workers abroad. As an environmental engineer, you may travel the world to learn about climate trends and countrywide actions. Another option is petroleum engineering.
Before you graduate, decide which country you’d like to work in. Would you prefer to stay in a rural area or high-tech city? Once you know the answer, start searching international job boards. Your school may also have an alumni network that can help. Once you find a desirable position, send your application, and cover letter in the region’s native language.
If you want to be a travel photographer, you’ll need to find people who require your skills. Market your services to those hosting destination weddings or embarking on record-breaking adventures. If you don’t mind taking risks, you can also photograph war zones or areas hit by natural disasters.
In school, you’ll learn about the rules of photography, including depth, background, viewpoint, and balancing elements. You’ll get to know the different parts of a camera and how they vary from model to model. You’ll also learn how to use Photoshop and other software to fix issues and make images perfect.
13. Outdoor Recreation
Do you picture yourself climbing the world’s tallest mountains and diving to its greatest depths? If so, consider a degree in outdoor recreation. Once you graduate, you can work for a national park, lead adventure travel groups, or teach others to survive in the wild.
With this major, you’ll take classes in leadership theory, business management, wilderness studies, communications, and conflict resolution. The ideal program will prepare you to work in the field, gaining hands-on skills and actionable knowledge. If you don’t want to start your own business upon graduation, look for opportunities through resorts and nature centers.
Most companies employ marketers to get the word out about their products and services, increase website traffic, develop engaging content, and control their reputations. If you have a knack for brainstorming innovative ideas and captivating imaginations, this job may be for you.
You’ll have no trouble finding a position if you major in marketing. Experts project this field to grow faster than average, around 8% between now and 2028. Before you graduate, be sure to brush up on your language of choice — you’ll need bilingual skills to master this role.
As a geoscientist, you’ll likely split your time between doing research outdoors and analyzing data in the office or lab. You might search for oil and gas deposits suitable for extraction. You could also study the physical aspects of Earth to learn about its history and future.
This field can involve lots of work at sea or abroad, depending on your specialization area. For instance, if you concentrate on seismology or volcanology, you might visit some of the world’s biggest volcanoes. If you focus on oceanography, you may end up in the world’s most remote beach towns.
Do You Want to Work Abroad? Consider One of These Degrees
Do you dread the thought of getting stuck in an office and never traveling the world? If so, consider a major that will take you abroad. From teaching to marine science, you can find an area of study that meets your interests, satisfies your desire to get away, and allows you to travel extensively without going broke.