Volunteering abroad can be a great way to contribute to the global community and foster personal growth, and there are a wide range of opportunities available with many different organizations. Teaching abroad allows you to become integrated into a foreign culture, while helping your own students communicate in a global culture. Additionally, abroad internships are wonderful opportunities to use the theoretical or academic training you will receive at Barnard in a practical setting. Please see below for more information on ways to volunteer, teach and intern abroad. Please contact the Office of Career Development if you would like to make an appointment to discuss individual plans to volunteer, teach or intern abroad.
Many students seek to volunteer abroad to get international experience in a field of interest; learn about development issues; learn about another culture, language and way of life, while making a positive contribution; see a part of the world in a different light; or increase their personal marketability. You can go for a long or short-term placement, individually or with a group. For some opportunities, you pay for the experience; sometimes your travel or living expenses will be covered. If you have development experience, you can apply to be a project leader or for a grant to fund your own project. Whatever your experiences, in most volunteer positions you will find yourself presented with a wealth of possibilities beyond those outlined in the job description and you will be able to stretch your ingenuity and creativity.
After graduation, there are many ways in which students can teach abroad, whether it be teaching English as a primary, foreign or second language. When evaluating where you want to teach, consider the training and experience required for the country, school or program you are looking at and understand that teaching positions for Americans vary from country to country. Additionally, teaching abroad does have its risks and students should be aware schooling systems abroad can differ significantly from those in the United States.
Before teaching abroad, a few things to consider:
Some questions to ask about training programs include:
Cambridge Certificate (CELTA): This certificate has a solid reputation in the international teaching community and high levels of recognition among employers around the world. The certificate is not only offered in the UK, it is also offered in a number of countries around the world. They offer certificates a variety of levels and certificates to teach to a variety of ages.
Trinity Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL): This certificate is regarded as having equal standing as the Cambridge Certificate. It also offers training in a multitude of centers around the world. Trinity stipulates a minimum of 130 hours offered intensively over a minimum of four weeks or part-time over a long period. Also the future teacher must take a learning pre-course and requires observed and assessed teaching hours.
There are other TEFL certificates offered online and through other schools. It is highly recommended that you carefully investigate and research the certificate before you commit yourself to the program. There are also Training and Placement programs that will provide you with certification and a teaching placement. Many of these programs have costs associated with them and careful research should be done before investing your time, money and energy.
Training and Placement Programs
Many students want to learn first-hand the experience of taking the skills they have developed at Barnard to a more global context through study abroad and/or internships. While interning in organizations or companies in the United States can prepare you to work here, it is important to gain experience and knowledge through cultural immersion if you plan to live or work abroad in an international company or organization. In addition to practical experience, you can travel and get cross-cultural and language training, gain invaluable exposure to international industry, and network overseas and get contacts for further employment.
Before going abroad consider the following:
If you are already abroad:
Resources and advice to locate international volunteer and internship opportunities: