So you’ve earned your degree in international relations, the next step is finding a job! There are tons of international relations job opportunities available around the world, whether working with NGOs, intergovernmental organizations, or in civil service positions. From field work in a small rural village to high level employment in the United Nations, there are a range of international relations jobs abroad awaiting the perfect applicant.
Why Work Abroad
It only makes sense that after studying international relations you would want to work abroad, even if it is only for a short time. There are many international relations jobs located all over the world, whether a temporary work abroad placement or a step toward a permanent career, for applicants with all finds of previous experience and career aspirations. Working in international relations abroad will help you familiarize yourself with global affairs and understand the happenings of the modern world.
Getting experience working abroad is essential to any career in international relations, so no matter where you choose to work abroad, your will reap numerous benefits. Not excluding opportunities to network with others in the field, get your foot in the door of an international organization, and gain incredible experience in the field as well as knowledge which will no doubt be useful in any future job.
The whole world is at your doorstep when it comes to international relations jobs abroad! International organizations working in a large variety of sectors have posts in countries all over the globe. While in certain positions you may not have complete control over where you are placed, generally you can at least select a region or rank your preferences of where you want to work abroad.
When considering where to look for international relations jobs abroad, it may be easiest to break the decision down to the so-called first and third worlds. In the more economically advanced countries of North America and Europe, as well as Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, you can find plenty of positions working in international relations. Specific cities which play an important role in international affairs are of course great options for jobs abroad, for example, New York, London, Geneva, Paris, and Tokyo.
In the developing world, which encompasses many parts of Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, you will likely find more international relations jobs that require workers to become engaged in on-the-ground projects. For example, in Geneva you may be doing office work or conceptualizing projects but if you are working in Sub-Saharan Africa you may actually be executing projects or surveying local communities.
These are obviously mass generalizations of the type of international relations jobs available in different locations around the world, but it is meant to provide a good overview of the difference between jobs in the developed and developing world. Most international relations jobs abroad expect applicants to be fluent in English, and speaking at least one other language is always beneficial.
International Relations Jobs Abroad
There are many opportunities to work abroad within the field of international relations, since the field is inherently international. An obvious first option would be working for government entities. Working in the foreign service for your country is an important role to take on, and though often drenched in bureaucracy, these international relations jobs can offer great upward mobility as well as solid pay and benefits.
There are also many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) out there that work closely with local governments, but are beyond the realm of politics themselves. NGOs are typically committed to progressive causes, such as advancing education, human rights, and socioeconomic development in poor and vulnerable regions. While much of the hands-on work involved in NGOs is carried out by volunteers, there are still full time employment opportunities available within these organizations.
Lastly are intergovernmental organizations, or IGOs. These organizations, including bodies like the the United Nations, NATO, and the World Bank, work as moderators between governments in order to advance a fair and just global agenda. Typically these types of international relations jobs abroad are extremely competitive opportunities and require a significant degree of work experience as well as an advanced degree in a field related to international relations. While everyone may not immediately be able to jump into a job with the UN, it is always a possibility somewhere down the line!
These three routes, government work, NGOs, and IGOs, are the most prevalant types of international relations jobs abroad, and each has the ability to provide a very fruitful career for those with an interest in the field. However, there are many more employment opportunities in international relations abroad that you can take on with a degree in the field. Less formal positions teaching or volunteering abroad are most definitely great experience to have on your resume, as well as jobs working with international businesses.
Working abroad in international relations is certainly essential for anyone that plans on making a career in the field on a truly global scale. The work may not be as glamorous at times, despite it being easy to romanticize about, but the knowledge that you are helping the world become a better place and doing something fulfilling with your career is what keeps veteran international relations workers passionate and inspired on a daily basis. Our world is changing fast, and it is the new wave of workers in international relations that will ultimately shape the future of our planet.