Wills Home Page


International Development

•Aka community development, economic development, technical assistance, foreign aid, relief/emergency assistance …
•Who does it? International/multi-lateral organizations, national governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, grassroots organizations, churches …
•They all need volunteers, staff, experts on culture, languages, specific topics (YOU!).

U. S. Agency for International Development  http://www.usaid.gov/


•Non-governmental or private voluntary organizations number in the thousands, and have a wide range of purposes, topical and regional specializations, funding sources, levels of expertise, and structure.  Some are faith-based (CRS, CCF, World Vision … ), some enormous (Red Cross, CARE … ), some highly specific (Darfur genocide, Pakistan flood relief … ).  A great guide is Alternatives to the Peace Corps, from Food First.   Some useful sites: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/doemoff/govinfo/intl/gov_ngos.html


U.S., U.N., Multi-lateral agencies

•Department of State houses the diplomatic corps (foreign service), which has an entrance exam and high security clearance requirements.
•U.S. AID (part of State) administers technical assistance and some foreign aid.  Most “developed” nations have a similar office
•The United Nations has many agencies and programs in the U.S. and abroad.  You can find all sorts of interesting ways to contribute.  Check their site at https://careers.un.org/lbw/Home.aspx
•FAO, UNDP, WHO, UNESCO, OECD, UNEP and others are long-standing offices with a general mandate.  Others, such as the UNHCR or IPCC have a very specific, sometimes temporary mandate.

International Parastatals

•Organizations such as the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research http://www.cgiar.org/ are established by government agencies and partners, but do not report to a government.  There are 15 (such as ICRISAT http://www.icrisat.org/ ) centers supported by the CGIAR around the world.
•Some parastatals are very specialized, such as the International Rice Research Institute, based in India.

Qualifications for these kinds of jobs

•You have a good broad degree in a social science, fluency in cross-cultural work and inter-cultural communication.
•Supplement it with coursework in a technical/practical field (agriculture, forestry, financial management, resource management [water, soil, waste, wildlife … ], public health, animal science, construction, etc.)
•Supplement it with regional expertise.
•Supplement it with foreign languages.

Benefits of international employment/experience

•Government, World Bank, and similar jobs have good pay, working conditions, and benefits.
•NGOs may not have the best pay, etc., but offer exciting opportunities to learn and make a difference.
•Even voluntary experiences look great on your resumé for grad school or a job with an international business, a community, an educational institution, or government agency.

Other overseas jobs

•EFL teachers still wanted in many places.  Check listings in http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/work/esl/bestwebsites.shtml
•A good introductory book is Work Abroad from Transitions Abroad Publishing – a complete guide to all sorts of positions in other countries.