This is a pretty common question from people, usually people from my high school wondering how we got here from small town Texas 🙂 It’s not hard. I promise. You just have to do it. Stop talking about it. Buy the plane ticket. Get on the plane. Once you arrive, you figure it out. You have to and you do. Everyone has excuses. I had barely enough money to qualify for a Visa ($5,000 is a standard minimum), but I did it anyway.
Step 1: MOVE (+ visa research)
The move should be practically first on your to-do list. This may sound counter-intuitive, but with a foreign job people are looking to hire someone tomorrow, not once-you-buy-your-plane-ticket-and-pack-and-throw-a-goodbye-party. You need to be there and you need to have some kind of visa plan in action.
As far as visas go, just research it. We had to get the Australian visas before arriving and we had to get our Czech visas AFTER arriving. It all differs. We got our Australian Working Holiday visas all on our own before we went. It was easy. We couldn’t have gotten our Czech visas alone – the visa company we worked with did everything for/with us (paperwork, appointments) once we arrived!
Jim and I both found jobs easily in Prague. There are expat job pages everywhere! And we worked with a visa company to handle all of that complicated visa stuff. We got freelancer visas (“Zivnostensky list”) under the title of “English teacher” after we arrived – English teaching is probably one of the easiest ways to get your foot in the door of a non-English speaking country…
Step 2: Consider ESL and TEFL
TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language. You can get a TEFL certificate online or in-person. I recommend getting one in-person IN the foreign country you’ll live in. Then you can put it to use right away. That’s what I did and it was so easy! My school, The Language House TEFL*, had an in-house visa company and student housing for the month-long course so all I had to do was show up in Prague. I probably wouldn’t have moved abroad any other way.
Jim, on the other hand, didn’t ever get a certificate or anything TEFL related. It was his backup plan, but he found a tour guide job pretty quickly and never needed it!
Another great job opportunity for a native English speaker is proofreading. More about that below.
Step 3: Consider Online jobs and Search Expat Job Sites
Working from anywhere has major perks! I work online as an English teacher (you just have to have a bachelor’s degree to apply for this company. No teaching certificate required.) I have been teaching with VIPKID for almost 2 years – the money is good and the work is not difficult.
If you’re interested, sign up with my link or click here to find out more! I coach applicants through the interview process. Everyone I have coached through the interview process has gotten the job so far!
A lot of my American friends here got jobs through listings for expats too. Simple as that.
Oh my gosh. If only I told you how much money I lost converting over to a new currency. Repeatedly. For almost 2 years. It’s horrible BUT now I’ve got it figured out. I cannot believe that this isn’t common knowledge. Reader, meet TransferWise. You’re welcome.
What is it?
TransferWise is an easy, cheap way to send money from one currency to another.
Example 1: My online job pays me in USD into my US bank account. To get that money into my Czech account, I send it with TransferWise. I get almost the exact current exchange rate! If you need to send money abroad, you can sign up with my link – they’ll waive your first conversion fee!
Example 2: You travel abroad and you’re visiting a friend. Transfer the money you want into their acct. They can pull it for you and you’ve got local currency without getting gipped at an exchange place.
TransferWise also has free “borderless accounts” (similar to a bank account). We just got one and within a day we had American, Australian and Euro “bank” details. They mailed us our own debit cards, too! We can transfer our money between almost any currency in the world at the current rate.
I’m obsessed. That is all.
Now I know you really just want to know… what do Ally and Jim really DO in Prague?
Jim worked as a tour guide for his entire time in Prague. The pic above was taken on one of his bike tours!
You can become a tour guide in any country, believe it or not, and it has a great salary in the touristy season! Of course, you have to know something about the city and be willing to learn and research and then, well, you’re good to go. I know A LOT of Americans who are tour guides here in Prague.
PRO TIP: Spend a month in the city getting to know your way around. Contact tour companies about jobs a month before the tourist season in your country – they’re probably looking for extra help.
There are different kinds of tours too! Jim did bike tours by day and beer tours by night.
I worked as an English teacher, proofreader and dancer while in Prague.
I started out after the TEFL course teaching only private lessons – I would travel all over the city to meet kids, adults and families in their homes and offices to teach them English. It was cool to be able to get to know families personally and I taught the youngest female CEO in the Czech Republic!! But I got pretty tired of running around the city after one year, so I switched to online teaching with VIPKID part-time.
While I was teaching online, I was also proofreading. First for a law firm, then a local tech company. This was a pretty cool job. When the proofreading project ended, I went into online teaching full-time.
It all started with a Facebook post about a burlesque audition. It was totally out of my comfort zone, but I figured I should at least try. I went. I got hired. I danced with a small, amazing group: The Brown Betties. I gained so much confidence as a woman. Then I got connected with Prague Burlesque through that small group. Went to an informal audition. Got hired. Did a weekly show at a beautiful theatre in Prague for 8 months. Got flown to Milan to dance. And I thought I’d never use my 8 years of dance training…
It is Unpredictable.
I never expected to be a dancer or proofreader. Jim never expected to be a tour guide. You can’t plan ahead to move abroad. You just have to do it. Worst case scenario, you aren’t able to get a visa/can’t find a job/don’t love the country and you fly back home. I had a bit of a rough start and made an impromptu pact with myself just a day after arriving. Then I stayed in Prague for over 2 years!!
Oh, and as for jobs in Australia, we have no plans and no clue. We’ve got a little bit of savings and a lot of excitement…
Ask me anything 🙂