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Setting myself for living abroad

  1. Mar 1, 2006 #1
    I am currently a Canadian undergrad physics student. I would like very much, in the future, to live in Asia, Africa, Australia/New Zealand or Europe (In that order) and I'm wondering what you guys think would be the best educational path to set myself up for a means to live in a foreign country. I'd really want to finish my physics BS, but what should I do after that? M.Sc? MBA? Something else?

    My second question is, what do you think is the feasibility of living in one place for a few years, then picking up and moving to another? Would this look bad to employers (Or at least bad enough for them not to hire me?). I suppose I would eventually "settle down" later in life, but while I'm young I want to travel quite a bit.

    I would also like to add that I don't have much of an interest in having a lot of money.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2006 #2
    I share your sense of adventure - I'm not really keen on sitting in one job for 40 years etc ;)
    That being said, I hope that you have phenomenal language skills - whether or not your job requires it (it makes life all the more easier). You must also be mindful of certain countries' hiring policies. For example, in the USA you must show that the job was not taken away from an American with equivalent qualifications. Germany also has some not-so-minority-friendly hiring policies, if you know what I mean.
    As for moving around and how it looks on your resume - I think an employer may be impressed by the vast repetoire you will have accumulated, but may perceive a lack of loyalty.
    It also depends what you are interested in doing. Go ahead and travel, apply for IAESTE - I think that it's for students ages 18-35 and you can go anywhere in the world just about. You could also consider doing a graduate degree or diploma overseas. The possibilities are limitless...
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2006
  4. Mar 9, 2006 #3
    Im definately gonna check out your IAESTE link, but I have been trying for PhDs abroad (i live in the uk sort of, well its a long story) and its really difficult to get funding. I guess if you've got brilliant grades then it wouldnt be so hard tho..

    EDIT: just checked it out. Real shame, only current students can apply :( I finished my degree a year ago)
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2006
  5. Mar 9, 2006 #4
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    The IAESTE looks great! I'm currently moving to Europe this summer, in hopes of finding a job for 12 weeks or so, however it is more of a "work vacation" than anything career related (although I have no idea what career I'm headed for).

    I've also looked a little bit into overseas universities for a masters degree or a Ph.D, especially in New Zealand and Australia as they are both english speaking countries. I have a fair understanding of French (I was fluent several years ago, and could most likely pick it up again with a few months practice), however I think I would rather learn in my native tongue--physics is hard enough in english!
  6. Mar 9, 2006 #5
    Good to hear you have some adventure ahead!
    If you haven't graduated yet, you may want to consider doing an exchange through your university. Usually the courses are taken for pass/fail credit, and you could potentially spend a school year in somewhere like Switzerland! How can you go wrong?
    Also when you apply for international academic programs, make sure that they are accepted by Canada/US standards.
  7. Apr 18, 2006 #6
    I was just going to propose that. It would be a way to live abroad for a bit while still furthering your degree. And if you choose a country that you could see yourself working in, it would be a good way to get a feel for what your (possible) future work environment/coworkers could be like. I will be an exchange student this fall (and probably spring as well) in Singapore. I met with some Singaporean exchange students currently attending my school and, from what they were telling me, the expectations are completely different at the school I will be attending. Little things like that, about work structures, are worthwhile to get a feel for before jumping into a job market.

    It's the same with other industries as well. For instance, I'm sure a business major would want to know that Spanish workdays have a ciesta built in -it's just how things are.

    That's just my two cents. Look into it. Your school probably has connections with institutions abroad - and would most likely love to make those connections stronger by sending you. Also, engineering students tend to be under-represented in study abroad programs because, for whatever reason, we generally stay put. You may want to look into scholarships that have been set up to try and change that. I know that there are a few in America.
  8. Apr 18, 2006 #7
    If you really want to travel and live all over the world- be an accountant. One of my best friends is a kiwi, and has lived/worked/owned companies in South Africa, England, Ireland, US and of course New Zealand. Until he had his baby girl and moved back to New Zealand, he and his wife lived about 3 years in each of these countries.

    He hates being an accountant, but he loved to travel and move from place to place and being an accountant allowed him to do that.

    Good luck.
  9. Apr 19, 2006 #8


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    That's a very specific order! :smile:

    After you finish your UG work look for the PhD (assuming a Canadian UG course goes up to eg. UK masters - MSc - level). If not, do the Msc (one year?) in Canada.

    There's always loads of oppurtunities to get funding in the UK - and the universities are quite good :wink: - plus you may have extra possibilities coming from a 'Commonwealth' country, w.r.t funding.
    If you go down the PhD route you can easily move around afterwards ie. a UK PhD lasts around 3 years, then you can move to a couple of places for a couple of PostDocs before settling down to a more permanent job - I'm actuall on my 3rd PostDoc, each in 3 different countries - not continents tho' :biggrin:.
    Academia's the way forward then :biggrin:
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