Become a Volunteer – You can do what I did and apply to a volunteer agency such as CUSO, VSO, Peace Corps, WUSC, or UN volunteers. This option is one of the easiest if you have the interest, relevant skills and you’re available. The agency you apply to will have done most of the work. They already have a number of countries they work in and have listed positions available with descriptions of who you would be working with, the job, qualifications and experience needed, and duration of the assignment. The duration maybe for just a few months to a couple of years, and these days there are options to e-volunteer.
Explore Options with Your Social Service Club – Rotary’s motto is “service above self” and its chapters focus mostly on local social issues. However, some chapters organize fund-raising and short, overseas placements for their members or sponsored young people. A friend of mine used this facility to provide services to projects as far afield as India and Guyana. This initial experience led to longer-term roles on international projects funded by the Canadian government and other funding agencies.
Register as a Consultant with International Recruiting Agencies – There are numerous agencies out there who develop and maintain databases of consultants sorted by specialty, country experience, and availability – short-term and long-term. Here are just a few of these agencies – Assortis, DevelopmentAid, and DEVEX. Some are free, some cost.
Use Your Social Media Links like LinkedIn – LinkedIn is one network used by professionals to share their experiences, favourite websites, and events. It provides an opportunity for individuals to add their resumes and interests and puts you out there. You can post stories, promote conferences or advertise vacancies. Some companies who are looking for consultants for upcoming projects will scan LinkedIn to identify possible candidates. I have been contacted a couple of times through LinkedIn for overseas assignments. The best thing is it’s free!
Explore Opportunities at Your Educational Institution for a Study Abroad Term – If you are a student at an educational institution, check if your institution has an option to do one or more terms of study abroad. Although not technically international development, such an experience does let you get a taste of living abroad, experiencing different cultures, and adding “international experience” to your resume.