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Best tips for finding a job abroad after graduating

I am graduating – now what? 

As we have written about previously in our blog, international education is likely to get you ahead in the job market search, because you have acquired many additional skills other than the pure academics while studying abroad. Many international students aim to get a job abroad after they graduate, and just as applying to university abroad is a challenge, finding a job in another country can be a challenging process. The cultural differences turn everything from writing your resume to interviewing effectively into a complex exercise. It doesn’t have to be that way…

There are several sources and tips to overcome these challenges.

  1. Career services– most schools have a career counseling service. Use it. They may be able to advise you and actually help you connect with employers.
  2. Use the information that is available online – there is a wealth of information on the web regarding cultural differences and effective strategies for applying and interviewing for a job in different countries.
  3. Connect with a coach – once we launch our platform over the next months, you will see that many GradTrain coaches have successfully landed a job after their international studies (academic or private) and can share their experience with you. Look for someone with a background similar to yours and ask all of the questions you have. They will be able to point you in the right direction.
  4. Take on internships and summer jobs while you are studying – the best way to gain a perspective on the local job market is to actually work in it. Some programs allow students to intern at an employer that is in their field (such as the United Nations) or to work a real summer job at Law firms, financial institutions, and more. Doing well in an internship or summer job may lead to a long-term employment offer.
  5. Put together a plan and a strategy of where you would like to work. You can create a table of potential employers with their websites and contacts and start contacting them and applying to jobs. As an international student, you may need to make an extra effort to be noticed by employers. Looking for a contact in the company and connecting with them through social media or in a face to face meeting may help. Assume that you will need to contact many employers in order to obtain interviews. Do not despair! Finding a job is a full time job.
  6. Start looking for a job several months before you graduate. Do not wait for the last minute. Interview processes can sometimes take 3-6 months, and you may need visa sponsorship, so it is best to start early so you are not stuck in a situation where you do not have a visa.
  7. Use your network. Networking is a crucial part of finding a job. Networking is about finding people who are already working in your field of interest and companies of interest or who know other people who are. Connecting with them and asking for their help and advice in finding a job is an important part of the job search.
  8. Participate. There are many forums you will be able to participate in as part of your studies (conferences, cocktail parties, networking events). You should utilize these opportunities to introduce yourself and be known to people in your industry. When you apply for a job a few months later, you will be able to contact them and let them know that you are applying for a job in their company and they may be able to put in a good word for you and increase your chances of getting an interview.
  9. Use social media. Social media is also a great way to connect with potential employers. Sites like LinkedIn provide a place where you can build a professional profile and search for people who work where you would like to work. In recent years, LinkedIn has become a source many recruiters use to find good candidates (the author of this blog found several jobs and was recruited for several jobs in the US through online job portals such as LinkedIn, CareerBuilder and Monster). You can and should of course search for GradTrain coaches who are already working in your field of interest, and consult with them on the best ways to find the job of your dreams based on your field of study.
  10. Don’t forget the bureaucracy. When you apply for your graduate program, make sure to check if your visa has any limitations on working in your country of study. Indeed, different countries differ in this regard, so make sure you know the visa rules. In many cases you will need to obtain work authorization to begin work, and this can be an obstacle even if you do find the job you want. Some fields (like law) allow you to work for a certain period after you graduate as part of your academic training. Be sure to check the terms of your visa if you are indeed looking to work after graduation. Certain scholarships also require that you return to your home country for a period of time after graduation (e.g. Fulbright), so be sure to take this into consideration when deciding what type of financial support to obtain (if you are interested in immigrating or spending several years abroad).
  11. Stay on the watch. As you go through your studies, check out the market and stay aware of changes to the economy and job situation in your target market. If you see that the reality is changing for better or for worse, try to adjust your strategies (and expenses) accordingly. MBA and Law Students who graduated in 2008 spent up to $100,000/year on their studies and living expenses and many did not find jobs after graduating. I do not mean to discourage you from pursuing these programs, but rather encourage you to plan your expenses and minimize your costs of living as much as possible so you are prepared for the chance that you may need to return home with some debt. Better that it be manageable for you. You may indeed find the job of your dreams that will cover all of your expenses, but it is better to be prepared for the situation where it does not happen.   
  12. Believe in yourself, you can do it! Hundreds of thousands of international graduates are working and living in the countries where they studied (or in other foreign countries) and are thriving through their international education experiences. You can do it! In order to get to that point, you need to make informed decisions throughout the whole process, starting with the country and program you choose, through the financial decisions you make on the way and the strategies you employ to leverage your network and other sources to find and get the right job as graduation approaches.
  13. We can help! Soon you will be able to connect with our coaches and explore our forums. Check out to find out much more information. 


Study abroad and set yourself up for post-graduate success

The choices you make on graduate studies abroad and their impact on your career path.

In this blog, we have emphasized, time and time again, the overall benefits of graduate studies abroad. In this post, we will focus on how your choices on studying abroad can boost your professional and academic career and help you find a job after you graduate.

Choosing the right program and finding a job

Targeting the right field of study, the right country, the right school and the right program are crucial for being able to find a good job that matches your skills and aspirations and can also support you financially after you graduate. For instance, if you are interested in studying literature in the US, but would like to become a school teacher after you graduate, the cost of coming to the US and paying $50,000 a year for tuition and costs of living may prove to be overwhelming to cover through a school teacher salary and may cause you to live in debt for a long time. Some people choose to do so, but you should be aware of the costs and choose accordingly.

Your choice of study program should depend on your long-term career aspirations. Do you want to be a professor or a teacher? Are you interested in being a doctor or a nurse? Do you want to work in the private or in the public sector, non or for profit? In business?

If you would like to work in academia and are seeking a Ph.D. in your field of interest, you may be able to find programs that offer a full scholarship and a stipend for your living expenses, with a commitment from you to be in the program for 5 years. This option helps with the financial constraints and allows international graduate students to choose fields of study that are not necessarily connected to high paying jobs after graduation. Some schools may even offer an entry-level job to Ph.D. graduates which will allow you to search for a long-term job.

If you are seeking to be a government employee or are already a government employee (e.g. in Japan), you may be able to obtain funding from your government for studies abroad, and upgrade your career status by studying abroad and returning to work for your home country with a prestigious degree.

If you would like to use your international studies as a way to immigrate to another country and work there after graduation, you should definitely consider your fields of interest and the options available in that market and see if there is a good match. Graduate school is all about specialization in a field. Targeted fields like law, business, sciences and more, offer opportunities to find jobs in your destination country following graduation. You should, however, be aware that evolving realities, such as the 2008 financial crisis can significantly impact the chances of finding a job as a foreigner.

As you face these decisions, you should consult with people who have been through this process before and can advise you. GradTrain will soon offer you that connection. You can sign up already now and we will keep you updated on news, advice and when we launch our services.

Weighing the quality of the program

Especially in the US, the quality of the program you choose will to a large degree determine your chances of finding a good job after graduation. At times you may face a tough decision. You may get accepted to a less prestigious program and receive full financial support, or you may get accepted to a more prestigious program and have to pay for it yourself. These are difficult decisions and sometimes the short term decision to go to a lower ranked school due to financial difficulties will end up costing more in the long term, since you will not find a high paying job that will support you in the future. You may save some money during school, but the following years may be tougher as you search for employment and are at a less advantageous position due to the ranking of the school you chose.

Do your research! Find out how programs are ranked and where their graduates find jobs. Talk to people who have studied there and use the data tools that GradTrain provides to inform your decision.

Feel free to comment and share some of your experiences on how your choice of graduate programs abroad impacted your career.

How to attract an international audience using PowToon: the story of GradTrain

Have you ever received information in a text-heavy and non-user-friendly way? Sure – we all do every day. Whether it is at the doctor’s office receiving medical information, at the bank when signing up for a student loan, or at work, when a business presentations take up dozens of text oriented slides. Is this really necessary?

Especially in the globalized and information-heavy world we live in, where language barriers abound, using graphics and effects to convey a message makes a lot of sense. That is how our team at GradTrain connected with PowToon.

It became clear to us that a video with cartoon images as well as accompanying text and/or sound is a powerful way to get messages across, whether it be for doctors to give advice about health behaviors, or for a startup company like ours, that is aiming to get prospective international graduate students from around the globe excited about the new services we are offering - in a clear and impactful way.


Reaching an international audience
At GradTrain, we aim to reach a diverse group of people, with different nationalities, backgrounds and interests, who speak different languages. Indeed, we are trying to reach every single prospective international student in the entire world. Not a small project we know, but reaching for the sky is what we are all about at GradTrain. We want to reach prospective international students so that they can hear about how we can help make the international university application process much easier and a lot more successful.

Applying to a graduate university program abroad is a daunting task, that requires not only good academic credentials, but also skillful and strategic decision-making, such as targeting schools and programs, preparing an effective application package, planning course load, securing funding, preparing for arrival and adjusting to a new culture and language. Studies have shown that prospective international students feel that they do not have enough information to make informed decisions about the application process, that communicating and receiving information about the institution they wish to apply to is a major problem, that getting course credits from their home institution accepted was somewhat of a problem, and that getting a study permit is a problem.


Our 3 simple messages

We created a PowToon video in order to tell prospective international graduate students three things:

(1) We know about, understand and recognize the problems you are facing, including: lack of information, high-priced placement agents and the cultural fears of leaving home and travelling to another country.

(2) We can help you overcome these problems by connecting you with people like yourself who have been through the process successfully and with the right information to support your decision making process.

(3) Come join us!

PowToon’s platform allowed us to get these messages across in a manner that is great for an international audience. First of all, while the text is in English in the current version, it can easily be translated into other languages. Second, since it is a cartoon, the ethnicity/nationality/age features of the persons depicted are implicit which is great for our purpose as we want all international prospective students to identify with our video, regardless of where they are from, the color of the skin, their age, the language that they speak, their gender, or economic background.

We hope you like the PowToon video we created and that it encourages you to visit our website and take advantage of our information and services. Also, if you know of anyone else who is considering to apply to university programs abroad, please send this post to them so that they too can benefit from GradTrain’s services. And if you have been or are currently a graduate student studying abroad, why not join us as a GradTrain coach? You can send us a message through our homepage.

How can I help my child who wants to study abroad?

So your child wants to study abroad. You may be wondering if studying abroad is right for you child and how you can help your child in this process.

Last week we heard from our guest blogger who described the uncomfortable feelings of not being able to help her children through the international process. The comments from our readers brought home the point that these are familiar feelings among many of you. Let’s admit it: it is not easy when your child comes to you and declares that he/she wants to study abroad. It’s not just the distance from home. It’s not even just the money (although those programs abroad can get quite expensive). Rather, you are sending your child on a journey that is full of uncertainties, and you are not sure you have the tools to help your child make informed decisions. In this post we aim to help you – the parents - help your children make the right decisions.

Are studies abroad right for your child?

We know what attracts your child to study abroad. Research shows that studying abroad is a wise career choice. People who studied abroad are more likely to get higher grades, gain relevant employment and earn higher salaries. What is more, studying abroad can broaden one’s horizons, and open a whole new world of experiences, as well as social and professional networks.

This does not mean that studying abroad is a wise choice for your child, at this time. There are other career choices that may be better. You will need to find this out - together. A good starting point would be to find out why your child wants to study abroad. This would allow you to identify possible alternatives and consider them together, and will also be a good framework for really thinking through the options in a supportive framework. Are the programs abroad more prestigious than those at home and do they open doors for your child in academia or in the job market when he or she comes back home? Is it a step towards immigration to the new country? What kind of financial obligations will your child need to take on to study abroad and will your child need to carry a large debt for a long time to cover the costs? Is your child bored or unsatisfied with his or her current career/study options and needs some alternatives? Does he or she have other motivations?

The importance of these questions cannot be overstated. The answers to them would be the first indicator in deciding what program to choose and how to make other decisions regarding the application process. For example, if your child’s goal is to enhance his or her value in the job market, it is necessary to identify the kind of programs that would fulfill this need. If the goal is to land a job in the foreign country upon graduation, it is critical to not only assess how realistic it is to use studies as a gate for immigration, but also to make sure your child can get a post graduation work visa or immigration status, including for family members (spouse, children). If your child wants to change his or her social scene or to enhance language skills, it is important to select a program that meets these needs as well and provides a good atmosphere for international students and for students specifically from your home country.

In short, for this experience and expense to be worthwhile, make sure you understand the real goals of your child, and how to best achieve them through an international education.

Good signs
Red Flags
When you ask, your child is able to explain the sources of information already explored and plans for additional research on why to study abroad There is no indication that serious research has been conducted by your child on why to study abroad
Your child is able to weigh the pros and cons of each study option (including on questions of career implications and financial consideration) Your child does not really know why he or she wants to study abroad.

Prepare for challenges

Studying abroad is a great experience, especially for graduate school. We, at the GradTrain team, went through this process ourselves and had wonderful experiences and takeaways.

But the process is also full of challenges. If your child got into graduate school abroad or even got to a stage of considering it, your child must be very successful and confident. This is great and you must be very proud. However, studying abroad may be all the more challenging for your child in this regard. Your child - who is used to expressing her/himself so clearly and smoothly - need to adjust to a different language and culture when studying abroad. Your child – who has established social and professional networks – may at first not understand the social codes, and he or she - who is used to excel – may find studying in a different country difficult. Your child may not expect this – yet he or she should be aware and prepared for this transition.

Make sure your child prepares. We at GradTrain believe that, ideally, your child should talk to someone who is what he or she wants to be in 3-5 years: someone who has gone through the international application process recently, applied and studied in the fields that your child is interested in, in the same or in similar places, and has the same background in terms of language and culture etc. We are in the process of building our services around this concept.

It would also be good if your child practices language skills (he/she can do it through the GradTrain video platform), speak with people who are going through the same process now (they can do it on our platform as well) – and remind your child that if he or she is experiencing some adjustment issues at first, it is completely normal, it is most likely only temporary and your child will be able to adjust and succeed, it just sometimes takes some time.

Other things that you and your child may try to find out in preparation for the international application process is what kind of visa he or she needs, what the quality of life is in the places that your child is considering going to, whether or not there is a community of the same religion, language or culture as you that your child can contact when he or she needs the feeling of home.

Make sure your child knows some basic safety rules: are there dangerous areas close to the university that your child is considering applying to? Make sure that you and your child find out and what the potential solutions are (are there for instance safe places to live on campus?). Again, the best people to give advice about this may be current and past students at the university (you will soon be able to contact them through the coaches at GradTrain. Also make sure your child knows the number of the police service, ambulance, university emergency contacts. Last, but not least, make sure your child has a good health insurance.

Good signs
Red Flags
Your child is able to explain some of the challenges associated with studying abroad and some solutions for these challenges. Your child believes that everything will be smooth and that he/she is capable of easily overcoming any challenge in the application process and in the move to a different country.
Your child is planning to consult with a current international student or recent graduate to understand and address challenges. Your child’s foreign language skills are poor-intermediate.


Ahem…excuse me for the question, but who will be paying for the studies abroad? Studies abroad can be quite expensive. Indeed, international students typically pay more than nationals for the same education. Can your child afford it? Does he/she count on a job he/she will get later in order to return a potential loan? Is it realistic? Does your child count on your help? Can you afford it? These questions may be useful to address as part of the destination and school selection process. Indeed, as we have written about before, certain destination such as Scandinavia and Poland my be attractive as it may be a more affordable option than other places.

It may also be a good idea to explore opportunities that your child has for getting financial help. Scholarships may be available from the university they are planning to go to or from the university where they already studied. We will have a scholarship database at GradTrain later in the year which will – we hope – provide a lot of useful information for this purpose. (If you need assistance before that time – contact us through GradTrain. We’ll see if we can help with some information). We will also have a blog post on the financial issue. (You can subscribe to our blog here). It is a sensitive topic for everybody who is going through this process. But it can be far less comfortable to tackle it later on, when the university bill arrives (and it always does!).

Good signs
Red Flags
Your child is saving money and looking for information about scholarships and student loans. Your child is considering schools and destinations that are way beyond their or your financial abilities.
Your child is supported by a government grant or a scholarship. Your child is counting on your financial support, though you are not sure you can provide it.

And something for you

The most important thing for you is of course that your child will succeed. But what about you? Think of some things that will make this experience as fun and easy for you as possible. It isn’t easy to have a child abroad for a year or for several years. First, make sure your child has a calling plan to call home. Make sure your child has a cell phone (But don’t call too much!). Make sure to check if your child is facing any challenges and offer support from afar. Make sure to come visit them. Send them a package with treats. Try to make it to your child’s graduation ceremony – it is quite an experience!