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Technology has helped to make the world smaller by allowing us to connect with people all over the globe. At the same time, it's contributed to a larger amount of relatively new job opportunities. The global economy makes it necessary for many organizations to operate in a number of different countries around the world on a regular basis.

As a result there's often a need for individuals who can compound their core abilities with language skills, cultural literacy and a willingness to travel. Additionally, workers who choose roles abroad can reap a number of benefits, like building competency in a second language, improving communication skills, building a professional and personal network and enhancing cultural awareness.

Students don't necessarily have to be foreign language majors to take their skills and knowledge abroad. The following are seven majors that have global job opportunities.


teaching and esl

ESL Teacher

English as a second language (ESL) programs give prospective teachers the tools they need to instruct students in English language courses. These educators must adopt creative teaching strategies in the classroom in order to reach students who do not share the same language and culture. In order to obtain these skills, ESL programs include coursework in topics such as language production and acquisition, assessment theory and culture in the classroom.

Using the knowledge gained in their degree programs, ESL teachers assess students' language needs and develop lesson plans designed to help them learn to read, write and speak in English. In addition, these professionals structure their classes to emphasize practical skills students can use to navigate daily American life -- from filling out job applications to buying groceries to finding a place to live. The instruction ESL teachers provide can also help students to pass citizenship examinations.


With virtually all organizations becoming more globalized, having workers with foreign language skills is increasingly a must in order to do business. Many organizations use translators to bridge language gaps with clientele from other countries, or to communicate effectively with foreign employees within the same firm. When translators work abroad, that international experience deepens their understanding of a language by providing regular exposure to native speakers in their own culture. This helps translators learn to think on their feet, quickly translate messages and factor in cultural context.

To gain the expertise needed to do this job, students can use the training they receive while majoring in ESL. For example, language acquisition classes can help students understand the basics of language that can be applied to a translation career. Also, some degree programs require students to take foreign language electives.

International Business/Finance

international business


Sales representatives are responsible for selling goods and services to businesses or individuals. This work often involves identifying a customer base, negotiating terms and prices, ensuring products are delivered and resolving issues that arise during the course of sales transactions. Similarly, sales managers are responsible for setting the policies in a sales department, assigning territories to reps, creating budgets and ensuring they're adhered to. When working in multinational corporations, these duties have to be scaled up to a global level, taking into account the potential impact of issues like local sales taxes and regulations.

Those who study international business prepare for these jobs by taking courses such as international product development, finance and commerce. In addition, students learn how business is conducted in different countries, which allows them to adjust their approach depending on the location of their clientele.

Professionals have the opportunity to further refine their approach when they get sales jobs in foreign countries. When living in the countries of the clientele they're trying to reach, sales representatives can better appreciate their customers' needs and goals. This quality can be instrumental in retaining clients, as well as attracting new ones.

Marketing Consultant

Marketing consultants who take jobs abroad get the chance to experience how marketing campaigns are crafted and executed in another culture. By conducting research, writing copy and working on marketing strategy in a foreign setting, professionals learn communication styles that help them expand their reach in terms of the types of products and customers they can work with.

Generally, consulting in the marketing space entails creating promotional materials designed to generate buzz for a company's products and services. To do that, consultants analyze customer data, create a marketing plan that reaches a target audience and measure campaign results. By majoring in international business, potential marketing consultants learn integral skills like conducting market research on a global scale, project management, supply chain management and intercultural management.

Construction Management

construction management

Construction Manager

When people admire the views and architecture of skylines found in cities around the world, they're often admiring the work of construction managers. These professionals oversee construction projects from conception to the finished product by managing budgets and work timetables, collaborating with engineers and architects and hiring subcontractors.

With more U.S.-based companies developing projects overseas, the construction management field has many opportunities to work in other countries. In some cases, workers create infrastructure in developing nations, while other times, they're involved in large-scale projects in major cities.

To handle these responsibilities, workers must cultivate a specialized skill set that can be acquired by earning a construction management degree. Students in these programs learn about building codes, inspection procedures, cost estimation for residential and commercial projects, drafting contracts, blueprint interpretation and construction materials and methods.



Civil Engineer

Like construction managers, civil engineers play a vital role in creating infrastructure, and there's a great demand for these workers in foreign locations. Overseas opportunities teach civil engineers about a variety of structures and techniques, while strengthening their existing skills by taking them outside of their comfort zone and exposing them to a new culture.

Whether in the U.S. or abroad, individuals who work in civil engineering roles plan and design buildings, as well as bridges, irrigation systems, roads and airports. This entails understanding building and environmental regulations to ensure that a project adheres to them, performing surveying operations, conducting research for bid proposals and submitting building permits.

Engineering programs familiarize students with concepts like foundation engineering, retrofitting designs for earthquakes, analytical mechanics and transportation sustainability. Courses also teach students about different kinds of building materials and structures, such as wood, steel and reinforced concrete, so they're able to choose the right supplies for each project they work on.

Petroleum Engineer

Engineering majors often have the option to specialize in petroleum engineering, where they learn about petroleum production, well drilling, geology and reservoir analysis. Students also become familiar with the regulations that guide the field, and how to ensure that projects are completed within the law. After finishing these programs, graduates are prepared for day-to-day tasks like designing equipment that will extract oil most efficiently, designing gas and oil drilling plans and testing wells to determine their production ability.

With increasing oil production in areas like the Middle East, Africa and South America, there are many opportunities for petroleum engineers to use their skills internationally. People in overseas jobs are often involved in locating areas with oil reserves and developing equipment and production plans to begin drilling.



International Social Work

When people find themselves in crisis, they're often able to get various types of assistance from social workers. These professionals may work with children, individuals or families, or specialize in mental health care, addiction, or general health. This work entails assessing clients' needs; researching and making recommendations about resources they can use, such as food stamps and health care services; and keeping up with clients' progress.

Since challenges like poverty, mental illness and drug addiction can be found around the world, social workers may use their skills in many foreign countries. In addition to gaining a cultural perspective of the field, international social workers also increase their grasp of human behavior, which can be beneficial throughout their careers. Also, they challenge themselves and grow professionally by working on cases that involve the effects of war, human rights and natural disasters.

Whether social workers find employment in the U.S. or abroad, they need specific training to acquire a license to practice. As a result, social work programs have a rigorous curriculum that teaches community intervention methods, the role of race and class in social work and strategies for assisting children in crisis. These programs also expose students to the seminal research of the field, which builds a strong foundation they can draw from every day.

Foreign Service

People interested in travelling to foreign countries on a regular basis can pursue careers in the foreign service. Foreign service officers work for the U.S. Department of State and can be sent to any of the agency's 270 consulates, diplomatic missions and embassies around the world. Work assignments last from one to three years and can include a variety of tasks including managerial, administrative, or health care services.

There are several specific job roles foreign service officers can pursue. For example, consular officers are responsible for working on adoption, fraud and human trafficking cases and often help families that are in crisis. Management officers are assigned to embassy operations, which can include human resources, budgeting and security functions. Public diplomacy officers work with government officials, think tanks and non-government groups to promote U.S. policy in foreign countries.

While there are no specific degrees that are required to entering the foreign service, humanities programs can go a long way toward preparing people for these jobs. For example, the foreign language and written and verbal communication skills that humanities degrees provide can be regularly used in these positions. Similarly, courses in political science, anthropology and even literature can be applied to this kind of work.




Art is a universal language that's appreciated in cultures around the world, so it's not surprising that professional artists can often take their skills abroad. There are many thriving artistic communities overseas that need talented artists to work at museums, creative festivals, galleries, art publications and schools.

Artists generally engage in a number of activities that allow them to demonstrate their creativity and express themselves in different media. Multimedia artists and animators use computer programs to draft graphics and animations, conduct research to help them create realistic designs and make storyboards that outline scenes in animated projects, skills that can be used in a variety of capacities around the world.

While art jobs undoubtedly require talent, they also demand that professionals acquire skills that can be gained in degree programs. Art degrees expose students to different techniques and practices that give their work direction.




Having an inherent interest in the earth makes working abroad a natural choice for geologists, as it exposes them to new opportunities for research. These professionals can find work at international consulting firms, colleges and government agencies, where they perform duties including planning and conducting field studies; collecting and examining samples; recording data from tests and using it to create reports and sharing results of environmental research in writing or at professional meetings.

Geology degree programs train these professionals by teaching them subjects like mineralogy, petrography and geophysics. In addition, students need to develop math and research skills, so they're usually required to take calculus and research design classes.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: "Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers," http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm; "Interpreters and Translators," http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/interpreters-and-translators.htm; "Sales Managers," http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/sales-managers.htm; "Construction Managers," http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/construction-managers.htm; "Civil Engineers," http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm; "Petroleum Engineers," http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/petroleum-engineers.htm, "Social Workers," http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm; "Multimedia Artists and Animators," http://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm; "Craft and Fine Artists," http://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/craft-and-fine-artists.htm;

Occupational Information Network: "Adult Basic and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers and Instructors," http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/25-3011.00, "Interpreters and Translators," http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/27-3091.00, "Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products," http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/41-4012.00, "Construction Managers," http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9021.00, "Civil Engineers," http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/17-2051.00, "Petroleum Engineers," http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/17-2171.00, "Child, Family, and School Social Workers," http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1021.00, "Healthcare Social Workers," http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1022.00, "Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers," http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1023.00, "Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators," http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/27-1013.00, "Multimedia Artists and Animators," http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/27-1014.00, "Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers," http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1141.00, 

Study.com: "ESL Teacher: Job Description and Salary Information," http://study.com/esl_teacher.html; "Bachelor's Degree in Translation: Program Information," http://study.com/articles/Bachelors_Degree_in_Translation_Program_Information.html; "International Sales Degree Program Information," http://study.com/articles/International_Sales_Degree_Program_Information.html; "International Sales Degree Program Information," http://study.com/articles/International_Sales_Degree_Program_Information.html; "How to Become a Foreign Service Officer," http://study.com/articles/How_to_Become_a_Foreign_Service_Officer.html; "Artist Education Requirements and Career Information," http://study.com/artist.html

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"Construction Management," Laney College, http://www.laney.edu/wp/construction_management/

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"Online Civil Engineering Degree," University of North Dakota, http://und.edu/academics/extended-learning/online-distance/degrees/civil-engineering/

"Civil Engineering - School of Engineering," San Francisco State University, http://engineering.sfsu.edu/academics/civil.html

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"School of Social Work," Loyola University Chicago, http://www.luc.edu/socialwork/

"Worldwide/Foreign Service," United States Department of State, http://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service

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"Bachelor of Science in Geology," University of Houston, http://www.geosc.uh.edu/undergraduate/degree-programs/bs-geology/

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