Development is a broad, relative concept in the international arena. As standards of living raise around the world, there will always be challenges of inequality to overcome in building up a more fair and evenly opportunistic global state. Within deeply pervasive areas of economics, politics, infrastructure, and education, landing a development job abroad can therein be an invaluable step in your global career devoted to leveling the playing field.
Why Work Abroad in Development
While global systems have always produced winners and losers, that doesn’t mean that we should write ourselves off as such. Everyone has their own idea of what development is and should be; the fact remains nonetheless, that in the current state of the world, certain regions of the planet deal with much more dramatic degrees of poverty and instability than do others. If you believe that living within a stable political system with adequate infrastructure and access to basic social services should be a fundamental human right, the a job abroad in development might just be your beckoning.
Development efforts are taking root all over the planet, as countries continue to battle with inequality not only on a global scale, but internally on a domestic scale as well. For reasons embedded in the forces of history and globalization, there are a few major regions of the planet that are much less infrastructurally developed than others, and are thus hotspots for projects for development professionals.
Starting in the western hemisphere, Central America is one of the more poverty-stricken regions of the planet, and has had an unfortunate recent history of volatile political instability as well. Countries ranging from Guatemala in the north to Panama in the south continue to face an uphill battle toward prosperity, and so can be very valuable places to work abroad in development.
Next, various countries within the sub-Saharan African region also struggle with a wide variety of obstacles that invite contributing work abroad in development from global professionals. Countries such as Uganda, Burundi, and Kenya in the east can all be promising destinations to begin looking for development jobs abroad.
Lastly South and Southeast Asia, while showing positive trends toward growth, continue to deal with the many challenges entwined in economic and infrastructural development as well. India, Thailand, and Indonesia therein are examples where you can help local projects build momentum with a development job abroad.
Jobs & Positions
Development jobs abroad take on a wide diversity of functions and forms around the world. Because the field is so broadly intertwined with areas such as economics, politics, education, and other such social institutions, it is hard to place in a vacuum what may be specifically categorized as a “development” job abroad. Generally speaking, positions offered by NGOs or other international organizations in partner with local projects often fall most directly under the bill.
For example if you have just graduated and are looking for an entry-level position, you might consider taking on a job helping a grassroots campaign spreading awareness for human rights issues through door-to-door campaigns. Alternatively, if you are a more experienced development professional, you might consider applying to become a regional leader for a humanitarian or non-governmental organization, in charge of overseeing relevant projects throughout an entire country.
The opportunities are vast, so research and apply widely so that you end up finding the best match to work abroad in development. Many entry-level jobs abroad in development are on a temporary work visa and will last for just one or two years, while more permanent positions can last indefinitely if your employer is able to endorse you for the proper documentation.
Benefits & Challenges
Impact. Travelling for a development job abroad is your chance to experience life in a drastically different part of the world, while resting assured that your work will be contributing toward a positive end locally.
Immersion. There are few opportunities to immerse yourself more intimately within a new culture than to join on-the-ground efforts helping locals secure greater opportunity for their future. Put your best foot forward, always be willing to learn, and this is your chance to find a new home away from home.
Inspiration. Leaving home to work abroad in development will expose you to an entirely new way of life in a less economically and industrially advanced country. While you will be helping locals in their fight for equality and opportunity, you yourself will discover a whole new wisdom and maturity from the experience.
Manifest inequality on the global stage may never be totally eclipsed, but that doesn’t mean equal opportunity is not worth fighting for. Working abroad in development is the chance to devote yourself towards creating a more even playing field for all, so that all may have an open path to greater prosperity in our 21st century society.