Once composing the member states of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and Russia have turned a new leaf in the decades since the Iron Curtain’s collapse. Now considered to be one of the hottest economic growth zones in the world, the region is a fantastic place to seek out jobs abroad. Wherever your professional interests lie, promising job opportunities and great adventures await you in Eastern Europe and Russia.
Though there is no set-in-stone boundary that defines Eastern Europe, the region is commonly thought of as referring to the former Eastern Bloc from the Cold War era. Though this definition may be a bit outdated, it successfully distinguishes the western half of the continent from the east, which developed more slowly over the 20th century, because of restrictive Soviet policy.
Russia remains by far the most dominant country in the region. A true world superpower at it’s height, Russia still presents a bevy of intriguing job opportunities for foreign nationals who are interested in experiencing living and working in Russia. Russia has a fascinating history, enriching culture, and will prove to be a very rewarding place to work abroad. The country’s most popular cities, where it is easiest to find jobs in Russia, are Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Nearly all of Russia’s neighbors, such as Poland, Bulgaria, and Lithuania, have demonstrated positive economic growth over the last few decades, and job markets continue to flourish in these countries. Many other countries, including Austria, Hungary, Turkey, and the Czech Republic also present great opportunities for jobs in Eastern Europe, though these are often thought of as belonging to Central Europe.
Specific cities where you might look for work across Eastern Europe include Krakow, Budapest, and Prague. There are plenty of promising locations where you can find jobs abroad in Eastern Europe and Russia, so take your time to thoroughly research which opportunity interests you most!
Jobs & Positions
Most work abroad programs in Eastern Europe and Russia can set you up with temporary jobs, lasting from one to two years. The most common areas of employment include education, childcare, and hospitality and tourism. For example, it is quite easy to find jobs teaching English in Russia, au pairing in Turkey, or working at a hotel in Austria.
English teaching jobs are the most widely available positions throughout the region. Prospective international educators, especially those who earn TEFL certification, can usually find English teaching jobs in Eastern Europe or Russia that last for up to two years.
In the private sector, energy and technology are huge areas of employment in Eastern Europe and Russia as well. Russia is sitting on a huge bed of natural resources, and a large chunk of the country’s economic power stems from its energy industry. There are many multinational corporations with a foothold across the region that can provide very gainful employment opportunities in both the energy and technology sectors.
However, if you are looking to begin a career abroad in the private sector, then it can be more difficult to find work in Eastern Europe and Russia due to visa considerations. You will have to either find an employer who has the resources to provide you with an appropriate job and residential authorization, or start out working with a domestic company and try to get transferred to an international location. In both cases, your odds of working in Eastern Europe and Russia will increase if the company or organization is globally oriented and has branches around the world.
Though work abroad programs in Eastern Europe and Russia do not typically require applicants to speak the local language, the number of job opportunities available to you will grow exponentially if you are proficient in the national language of your country of choice. Learning a new language can be a very valuable skill gained through working abroad, and it certainly won’t make everyday life as an expat any harder!
Salary & Affordability
Salaries obviously vary depending on the type of position you obtain, but overall you should not expect to be making a king’s ransom working in a temporary job in Eastern Europe or Russia. Positions provided by work abroad programs will definitely earn you enough money to get by, and most provide alternative compensation as well, such as stipends for meals or free housing.
Eastern Europe is significantly cheaper than Western Europe. Be wary though: big cities, such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Prague, can still be very expensive, so look into the general costs of living before making the decision to work abroad in Eastern Europe or Russia.
Accommodation & Visas
Most parts of Eastern Europe and Russia have an advanced infrastructure, so you will likely be made comfortable wherever you end up finding a job. Work abroad programs generally help participants find housing, where you can live either individually or with peers. If you obtain a job in Eastern Europe and Russia that does not include housing, you will be able to locate available apartments through online listings or local realtors.
The visa requirements to work in Eastern Europe and Russia will vary from country to country and person to person. Eastern European nations that are part of the EU share visa policies, which makes working in Eastern Europe quite easy for EU citizens. On the other hand, non-EU members, such as Russia, have much different visa policies for foreign workers. To learn what visa you will need and how to go about getting it, you should communicate with your employer or placement provider at the early stages of your application process. You can also check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory to locate specific information about visa requirements through each country’s consulate.
Benefits & Challenges
Growing Region. Eastern Europe still lags behind the western half of the continent in terms of economic development, but according to many forecasts this won’t last long. The region is booming and is a great place to look for jobs abroad in a variety of sectors.
Road Less Traveled. While Western Europe is a booming zone for tourism, the eastern half of the continent remains far less traveled. If you want a unique experience exploring a region chalk full of complex history and cultures, look for job opportunities in Eastern Europe.
International Experience. If you plan on building a permanent career abroad or just want to see what it’s like working abroad for a shorter period of time, fulfilling jobs in Eastern Europe or Russia will undoubtedly improve your job prospects. You never know what the future will bring!