Work and Volunteer Abroad Stories

Making the decision to leave your friends and family at home to work abroad in a foreign country can seem very daunting. Students are often nervous about meeting their co-workers, being able to fit in, or understanding the language. Young people who work abroad have a richer understanding of other cultures, are able to adapt to new situations, and have a stronger confidence in their abilities – all skills that employers are looking for. Working while abroad also lets you make money to fund your travel in a new country or region, which is really the best of both worlds.

Each year, thousands of young people broad with British Council and Erasmus+. Read what other people have said about their work abroad placements, and decide if it is something you would like to do!

English Language Assistant

Ed Cheney: Placement in China 

Ed used the opportunity as a Language Assistant China to build a UK bamboo clothing and accessories brand.

James Coop: Placement in China

James taught English in Suzhou, China after graduating from Cardiff University in Computer Science.

Sally Gascoigne: Placement in Argentina 

Sally improved her Spanish skills and confidence by becoming a Language assistant in Argentina.

Emma Wind: Placement in China

Emma explains how China remains culturally distinct amidst its economic growth.

Sarah Phillips: Placement in Mexico

Sarah gives you advice for making the most of your time abroad as a language assistant.

Shareen Chenia: Placement in Madrid and Milan

Shareen, who has done two placements as an ELA, tells you 10 reasons to become an English language assistant.

Robbie Smith: Placement in China

Robbie fully embraced his placement in China, he even appeared on a Chinese TV dating show

Hope Gaffney: Placement in Italy

Hope taught English in Italy, she lets you know what you can expect to learn by being a English Language Assistant

Sarah Rainford: Placement in Guadeloupe

Sarah talks about how her teaching placement in Guadeloupe was much more than a beach holiday

Charlotte Auld: Placement in France

In 2012, Charlotte traded her life in London for an eight month English Language Assistant teaching placement in small town France.

Sophie Mead: Placement in Chile

Sophie left behind the familiarity of university life in Glasgow for a long-anticipated opportunity to live and work in Chile.

Rhiann Clarke: Placement in Germany

Rhiann exchanged her fast-paced student life in London for a nine-month teaching job in the countryside town of Loningen, Germany

Chloe Harrison: Placement in Chile

Chloe spent a year as a English Language Assistant in Santiago, Chile. She used her breaks from teaching to explore South America.

Maisie Prior: Placement in Spain

Maisie spent two years in Spain, first studying in the north of Spain and then teaching in the Andalucía in the south of Spain.

Generation UK-China Internships


Kevin overcame his initial hesitation of working and living so far from home, working for an app development company in Chengdu, China.


Max interned at a pharmaceutical company, doing cutting edge and exciting work, helping him gain valuable workplace skills and confidence.


Azeem worked for a gaming company in Chengdu working in Customer Service Support. 


Simon spent two months in Zhuhai after his graduation, enjoying the food and culture that China had to offer.


Nikki interned in Chengdu for two months, spending her free time exploring sites in China which were off the beaten path. 

Generation UK-India Work Placements

Ben Carpenter: Working in India

Ben talks about what you could gain from a work placement in India

Bobby Sebolao: Teaching Assistant in India

Bobby writes about the five things he learned in India  


Samuel Pepper spent a semester in Bhubaneshwar as a teaching assistant with the Teach In India programme. 


Rosie spent 5 months as a teaching assistant and local celebrity in Jammu, in the northern province of Jammu and Kashmir.


IAESTE employers and students talk about the benefits of the IAESTE programme

Both employers and students talk about the positive impact that their involvement in the IAESTE programme as had

Emma Gayner: Placement in Vienna 

Emma considers her IAESTE placement in Vienna a life changing experience

Ted Bellamy: Placement in Berlin

Ted, an Environmental Engineering student from the University of Swansea, spent his placement year in Berlin, Germany.

Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service

Guillermo Barco: Volunteered in Northern Ireland

Guillermo, who travelled from Spain to Northern Ireland, thinks a volunteer placement has helped his employability

Calum: Volunteered in Italy, Poland, Lithuania, and Wales

Calum credits volunteering with UNA Exchange to improving his mental health and keeping him out of trouble. 

Teach English In Thailand

Charlotte Ogilvie

Charlotte explains how to make the most of your time outside the classroom while in Thailand

Joanna Bullough: 2015 Participant

Joanna is an English and American Literature student at Manchester Metropolitan University. She gives you some tips on working abroad.