Do you hate the environment? Do you wish polar bears would just hurry up and die already? Do you delight in the uptick of Amazonian trees cut down daily? Then working abroad in environmental studies is probably not the field for you. But, if your idea of a good time is snuggling up with a nice flower, working in park services, field ecology, public policy, or plant and animal conservation, a job in environmental studies will be a perfect fit. Working abroad in environmental studies will give you an intimate look at how other countries and cultures are working to preserve this big blue ball of water we call home.
Why Work Abroad
If you want to save the world, you’ve got to see the world! Environmental science jobs abroad will finally give you the opportunity to go out and save the world like the superhero you are. You’ll be able to fully immerse in your host-country’s culture and take a look at environmental issues from a new perspective, giving you the tools needed to come up with creative solutions.
Working in environmental studies abroad will also give you a better understanding of the connection between social justice, economic development, and environmental sustainability. You might be working in a remote rainforest or working at an environmental consulting firm in a big city, but both placements are equally important parts of the field.
Your environmental work abroad will obviously introduce you to an international network, but it will also help you build cross-cultural communication skills and make a direct impact on local communities around the world too.
It probably comes as no surprise that you can find environmental jobs overseas in almost any country. Both developing and developed countries alike are excellent destinations for environmental science jobs abroad.
Australia is an amazing destination for environmental work abroad, because of its unique landscape and emphasis on sustainability and the outdoors. Australia’s metropolitan areas are a blend of cultural and recreational, and people are focused on conservation and protecting the environment even in urban settings. There is plenty of environmental jobs in Australia, including those in scientific research, field work, NGO coordination, nature protection firms, and governmental positions.
New Zealand is famous for its scenic beauty, and protecting environmental resources is not something Kiwis take lightly. With a strong economy and a creative mindset, people in New Zealand are independent and not afraid to try something new. A relatively small nation geographically, New Zealand offers an interesting combination of social, cultural, and recreational elements for anyone interested in environmental jobs abroad.
The Caribbean is an excellent destination for environmental science jobs abroad, as it will give expats the opportunity to see different stages of governmental protection initiatives and governmental involvement in environmental matters. On the island of Bonaire, for example, local residents and leaders have placed a high emphasis on conservation. The island is home to a national park, a ban on certain types of fishing, and laws to protect sea turtles, among other environmental policies. On a broader scale, environmental jobs in the Caribbean will present individuals with opportunities for policy work as well as educational outreach.
Brazil. Environmental jobs in Brazil will give expats the opportunity to choose between booming metropolises or rural placements, since all types of environmental sectors and organizations, whether governmental, private, and nonprofit, hire expats. A geographically large country with numerous environmental resources and varying levels of economic development, Brazil has seen a lot of growth in recent years. Through these changes the country has tried to keep one eye on environmental stewardship, which is often a challenge.
Environmental Jobs Abroad
There are a wide variety of environmental science jobs abroad, including working with governmental groups, NGOs, private firms, sustainable businesses, and field research stations. You could be working in an office or lab, going directly out into nature to gather data, reaching out in a local community, or consulting on sustainable design or business practices. The world is your oyster in the field of environmental studies, just as long as you’re sustainably fishing or farming that oyster of course.
Field research is an important part of environmental science, and a key component to making progress on specific environmental issues. The data you’ll gather during field work will help back up theories and hypotheses regarding what environmental factors are affecting local communities, or vice versa. Prepare to get a little bit dirty and be outside for long periods of time if you choose a field-based environmental science job abroad. Many companies and firms allow, and encourage, researchers to develop and carry out their own independent research projects; a project of this kind could be focused around conservation, ecology, environmental tourism, pollution effects, or another specific area of interest.
Educational outreach is a vital element to achieving the goals set forth by environmental scientists and researchers. Without someone to inform the public, people would not realize how their day to day choices can impact the environment. Environmental education outreach focused jobs are a great choice for individuals with a background in marketing and communications, rather than strictly environmental studies. Expats working in outreach positions may spend their time designing flyers and other forms of online or print content, raising awareness through social media, giving presentations, and planning strategic campaigns.
Governmental policy work related to environmental studies could mean working directly with a local governmental branch, or helping an NGO or private firm with an advocacy program meant to promote change.
Many environmental science jobs abroad offer the opportunity to build connections with leading scientists, community organizers, and advocates. By working with a variety of professionals, you will gain an understanding of the complexity and scope of environmental studies as well as have the chance to contribute to real-world solutions to the dialogue.
Accommodation & Visas
Those who work in environmental science in any capacity are not strangers to roughin’ it. Unless you’ve suddenly decided you need immediate access to all modern amenities (toilets, coffee, etc.), then you are likely to feel comfortable in the accommodations typically provided for international employees in temporary environmental jobs overseas (aka. hope you don’t mind the sticks).
Visas for environmental science jobs abroad will vary considerably by location. Specifically, your country of origin/nationality will affect the ease of which a foreign nation welcomes you to their country. There may be laws pertaining to which visa holders can legally obtain work in any specific country, and not every citizen of the world is entitled to receive a visa in every country.
Your best bet? Check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory for the most up to date information on visa policies across the globe.
Benefits & Challenges
Direct Contribution. Environmental science jobs abroad will allow you to make a direct contribution to a local ecosystem and community. You will understand the complete picture of different elements that contribute to environmental challenges, and will be able to propose solutions based on research.
Networking. Working abroad will give you the chance to build an extensive international network that could include governmental leaders, scientists, policy advocates, and of course local people who are affected every day by environmental issues.
Competitive Edge. With international work experience in environmental studies, you’ll have a leg up in a competitive field. You’ll gain experience working across cultures toward a common goal, and further develop skills in research, outreach, and administration of environmental programs, organizations, and policies. You will also get to see a different side of some of the world’s most famous natural wonders, going behind the scenes to learn what it really takes to protect them.
So put down your leaf collection for a few minutes and seriously peruse your international environmental job opportunities! You may love your land, but there is so much more out there to get to know, photograph, and appreciate for the biodiversity it brings.