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Entries in Study Abroad (1)

Thursday
Oct142010

College Grads Head Overseas for Jobs

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) -- After graduating from the University of Florida in May, Henry Jaeger knew it would be tough to find a job in the middle of a recession.  So instead of looking for work in the U.S., Jaeger, a political science major, posted his resume on two websites looking for English teachers in China.

He received more than 30 job offers in a week.

"I had offers all over China as well as Korea and Japan. As opposed to my limited job options in the U.S., I got to choose the ideal job for me, which happened to be in Shanghai,” Jaeger wrote in a Facebook message.  

As the U.S. economy continues to lag, a growing number of college graduates are looking outside the U.S. border for work.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund predicted that U.S. economic growth will stand at 2.6 percent, lagging behind the global growth rate of 4.8 percent this year.

Opportunities to teach overseas or join the Peace Corps are increasingly appealing options.  Last year, the Peace Corps reported 15,386 applicants, an 18-percent increase over the previous year.

Echoing the call for a global work force, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw told BlogTalk Radio that young people today should consider looking for work in the Middle East, India or China.  

“I’ve talked to a number of senior American executives who need people willing to pack up,” Brokaw said.  

At a book party in New York City, Daily Beast editor Tina Brown suggested journalists start their career by going to India. 

Ross Friedman is one of those willing travelers.  After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in business administration and Chinese, he found a job with China Direct Inc., an American company selling industrial commodities like mineral ore and scrap metal to businesses in China.  His job takes him to Asia and South America several times a year, and he said he couldn’t be happier.

“The typical corporate America job is going out of style.  I feel 100-percent welcome in these countries, despite being a foreigner.  There is just so much business with growing industrial powers like China,” said Friedman.

Despite the enthusiasm recent graduates show for working abroad, others caution that finding a job in a foreign country is much easier said than done.

Rocky Rockwell, study abroad advisor at University of Florida’s International Center, says people often hold a romanticized view of international work.

“There are a number of restrictions Americans face when working abroad, everything from strict visa requirements to extreme culture shock,” said Rockwell.   “People often think they can just get up and go, but it’s not that easy.”

Even Jaeger, who now lives in Shanghai, says the distance from home is sometimes difficult to handle.

“You really do start to miss your family. My salary is nice, but I can’t afford to go home more than once a year,” he said.

It is a sacrifice more people are willing to make in this global economy.

“Goods and services know no boundaries.  Good brains are the same.  People will seek the best opportunities,” said Dr. David Sammons, University of Florida International Center dean and professor of agronomy.  “Often that means going somewhere besides their home country.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio