How many times have you watched a western movie showing a Stetson-capped protagonist like John Wayne galloping a horse through open plains and thought, “I wish that could be me?” While dude ranch employment abroad certainly isn’t like old Westerns, the lifestyle may allure people who were raised in more urban settings. If you ever secretly wished you were a part of the Saddle Club, then spending time doing cattle ranch jobs abroad could be a dream come true. Anyone who dreams of working with animals while getting to experience the incredible diverse landscapes of countries around the world will be sure to lasso the perfect international rancher jobs.
Why Find Ranch Jobs Abroad
While ranches and cowboys are often associated with the western United States, it’s definitely not the only area of the world where tough men and women have used their strengths and smarts to make a living off the land. Learning ranching skills abroad offers double bonuses: experiencing a brand new culture AND perfecting skills that could be beneficial in your professional or personal life.
If you’re looking to make dude ranch employment your profession, then the skills you gain from doing international horse ranch jobs will be a bulls-eye for future employers. Anyone who is studying agriculture, animal science, or large animal veterinary medicine will also benefit greatly from getting hands-on work with a variety of farm animals and ranching techniques (don’t forget the less marketable but equally important benefit of getting to cuddle baby lambs on the job!).
Even if your chosen profession isn’t the life of responding to “Ranch Help Wanted” calls forever, you’ll still benefit from learning practical physical labor and skills, like teamwork and problem solving — these golden skills are applicable to everything. Whether you’re learning to drive cattle with a gaucho, building fences with a jackeroo, or training horses with a vaquero, you will gain a much more heartfelt understanding of a country and culture than you ever could from inside a classroom.
Ranch jobs abroad exist in all over the world! Your expectations of what the “typical” ranch work is, however, may change as you expose yourself to the challenges and intricacies of ranch employment abroad. When choosing a location to work, be sure to keep in mind both the type of skills you most want to learn, the culture, and the atmosphere that you are most eager to explore both while working and during your time off!
Australia. Rough-riding Aussie stockmen and women are some of the most stereotypical examples of cowboys that come to mind when you think of international ranch work — and for good reason. Traditionally, the men and women of rural Australia have had to be tough to make a living raising cattle in the sun-baked wild outback. While working summer ranch jobs in Australia, you can learn both traditional horsemanship as well as more modern ranching skills, such as using motorbikes, tractors, and chainsaws. During your well-earned time off, take advantage of Australia’s world-renowned surfing in the beachside town of Noosa, take longer trips to urban hubs like Sydney or Melbourne, and visit some of the famed national parks and wildlife refuges that are home to koalas and kangaroos.
Greece. Brilliant jewel-toned water, powdery beaches, and crisp blue and white houses climbing the hillside. Ah yes, while Greece is definitely well-deserving of its reputation as a relaxing paradise, it is also the perfect place to get your hands dirty and learn about horseback tourism, as horse ranch jobs are quick to come by. There may not be as much ranching in the traditional sense here, but horses are still an important way of life for many people, especially people that survive off of the tourist industry.
Norway. While most people associate ranching with hot and dry parts of the world, farm work in the land of the midnight sun proves that definitely isn’t the case. During your placement, you could help with typical agricultural jobs in the country, such as harvesting, picking fruit, and caring for farm animals. You’ll get to experience the heart of a country that many tourists don’t get to see; along with famous attractions like seeing the Northern Lights, you will get to learn firsthand what it takes to survive in the land of the Vikings, where in certain areas polar bears outnumber people! However, don’t let the renowned cold weather scare you; in the summertime, the weather is actually quite mild and sunny.
Ranch Jobs Abroad
You may find yourself thinking, “Who would ever want to spend their time abroad doing manual labor?” It’s true that ranch life isn’t for everyone, and it would be wise to do a little soul-searching before embarking on a journey of this sort. However, if you’re up to the challenge, working on a ranch abroad could prove to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life!
You could be in charge of leading trail rides for tourist groups, getting paid to ride horses, and chatting with people from all over the world in some of the most scenic backdrops imaginable. Skills like group organization and public speaking will go a long way in any job you choose to pursue later in life!
Some non-profit organizations provide placements in a wide range of focuses, from au pairing to camp counseling abroad and include ranching jobs as part of their portfolio. Other businesses, such as tourist horseback riding farms, offer programs directly through their company and focus solely on placing workers on their farm. You could choose a more commercial company that specializes in both study and work abroad placements in a wide range of countries around the world. All of these types of programs will differ in cost, type of work, and name recognition, but every provider is dedicated to placing the right travelers in the right program.
Expect to work hard during your time ranching abroad! During most programs, you’ll be working about 40 hours a week. The work will be physical and difficult, but you’ll have ample time both on your days off and while working with your hosts on the job to learn more about the local culture and to get insider knowledge of where to go in your free time. Fluency in the local language isn’t a necessity, but making an effort to learn some while rocking summer ranch jobs is always a good idea. At the very least, you want to sound authentic when using local cowboy slang to impress people.
Benefits & Challenges
One very important benefit of a job abroad in ranch employment is that it’s usually paid! You could earn about $300 per week in some programs; that extra cash will certainly come in handy for other travel adventures. It’s definitely not all about the money though.
Ranching is inherently physical, sweaty, uncomfortable work, and you will most likely have days where you are tired and sore and you start to wish horses had built-in seat cushions. However, you’ll appreciate the feeling of pride at the end of the day when you can look at something you’ve made or a new skill you’ve learned and know you put your best work out there.
Ranching tends to have a reputation as a male-dominated occupation, and this absolutely doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re a woman considering ranch work abroad, you go girl! There are certainly rough and tumble ladies out there who can rustle cattle with the best of them, and with some practice and toning, you can sling hay bales and lift heavy saddles as well as anyone else. Travel the world and break lots of glass (barn) ceilings along the way.
If you’re ready to get up from your computer screen, hop on a plane, and respond to the call for “Ranch Help Wanted,” you’ll be immediately starting one of the greatest adventures of your life! Don’t say “neigh” to this opportunity; give peace (and cows) a chance with ranch jobs abroad.