Working in Western Europe


According to, Americans “work nearly nine full weeks (350 hours) LONGER per year than our peers in Western Europe do.”

So what the hell are we still doing here in America?

Okay, I don’t mean to get all anti-American, but that’s a lot of time spent in a cubicle when (if I lived and worked in Western Europe) I could be using those 9 weeks to travel or learn a language or read a book or — let’s be honest — drink beers.

True, it can be hard for Americans to get jobs in Western Europe these days. The Euro is crushing the dollar and the European Union makes it possible for skilled workers from all over the EU, and the native English speakers of the UK to easily find employment in Western Europe.

One of the best places to start when looking for a job abroad in Western Europe might be Student Traveler’s Work Abroad FAQ, which will answer a lot of your preliminary questions and give you some great advice.

If you’re still a student, then you’re in luck. You can often work, at least part time, on your student visa, and if you make some good connections, you might have a company who will sponser you to come back after you graduate. You can also try to get a visa through a company like, which offers visa and work permit help for students and recent grads.
Once you have the proper paperwork lined up, you’ll want to find yourself a job. Some people are partial to the just-go-and-see-what-happens style of job hunting, but others need a bit more planning. If you’re interested in working abroad in western Europe, there are loads of websites and services that can help to get you set up before you even set foot on foreign soil.

Check out temp agencies and online listings like Craigslist (which has many international sections now) to see what kind of work is available. has listings of international job opportunities for expatriates and recent college graduates. Check out their international job listings to see what is available.

Another great place to look is’s job listings at They always have some interesting gigs available, from teaching math in Egypt to nursing in Australia.
If you like kids and still have good babysitting references from your high school days, you might consider looking for a job as an Au Pair. While many Western European families would rather have British nannies due to visa requirements and cool British accents, there is still some opportunity for Americans to work as Au Pairs in Western Europe, especially when using a placement service. Check out and for some help.

Antother option is to Look into getting a job with some international company that has branches overseas. These types of companies often provide opportunities for their employees to take positions overseas, sometimes for a year, sometimes permanently – and the jobs can range from electrical engineering for Intel to bartending for club med.

If you want to find a job abroad in Western Europe, you’ll have to do a bit of searching and possibly jump through some hoops to get your work visa and work permits in order, but there are opportunities available for international job-seekers.

Don’t forget to check back with the ShangriLost crew for all the best info on working abroad.

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