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Incentives to Work Abroad

written by: Larry Gordon•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 12/5/2008

It's springtime. You have that BA degree with a major in a foreign language. You want to use your foreign language in your future job here in the United States, but too many American companies do not and will not pay accordingly for that learned skill. Teaching English abroad may be the solution.

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    A bachelor’s degree in language won't get you far these days in the United States, if you are not a native speaker. Even if you are a native speaker, too many American companies will not pay for that learned skill. Trust me, I know. I have been there and done it too many times to care to count. As a non-native speaker of your foreign language, too many U.S. managers and supervisors with minimal knowledge of a foreign language, if any knowledge at all, consider the native speaker the default. It doesn't seem to matter what level of education the non-native speaker may have. He/she is always considered the lesser of the two. Your accepted native speaker might not even have a college degree or much formal training, but the native speaker, no matter how poor his/her language acquisition is, will be considered better than yours, until some other highly esteemed native speaker in the language spills the beans, which is not likely to happen.

    Thus, going abroad, for the non-native speaker whose native language is English, is a definite option. If you want to work for an American corporation abroad, foreign language is an enhancer, but not the job. For that, you will need some expertise in some business field. For those who have the foreign language without business degrees, in many places you can teach English as a Second Language. There is also the possibility of the Peace Corps.

    The bottom line is the foreign country that interests you. However, most of the time, that country will only give you a work visa if you have a skill lacking in that country and a contract for employment . Just the same, this is one way of getting to know the people and their culture at their level. Try It. Enhance your own world. A word of warning. Do not try to work in a foreign country without a work visa from that country..