WANT TO GO ABROAD?

Maracas Beach. Shark and bake. Doubles. An ice cold Carib. Crossing the stage on Carnival Tuesday. Feting till the sun comes up and crawling into bed at 6 am. Cricket at the Oval. Sunday lunch with family. Liming with friends who you’ve known all your life. All of these things make Trinidad a beautiful and blessed place to live.

But, for some people who have itchy feet, these things are sometimes not enough to keep you there for ever and ever. Some just feel the need to get out, whether for a few months, a few years, or for good.

If you feel a desire to spread your wings but don’t know where to start, I have compiled a mother load of information and links on things you can do to get yourself overseas exploring the world. I hope you will find them useful.

1. Going abroad to study
: A popular choice for many Trinis, particularly for Canada, the US, and England. Many who go as a student end up working part time, and then if they are lucky having their employer sponsor them full time so they can stay. But don’t just limit yourself to the Big 3 (US, UK, Canada) — how about Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, or Dubai? Your possibilities are endless. What you will need, however, is a lot of capital. Hope you have some savings in the bank, or some generous parents, or if you are brainy, a good scholarship. You may need to forgo that Carnival costume to save some cash. Start checking out some university websites and see what inspires you.

2. Join the JET Program
: The Government of Japan runs the JET Program – Japan Exchange Teaching — with a number of English-speaking countries, including Trinidad. The job entails teaching English in Japan at a Japanese high school for a year. Participants usually need to have a Bachelors degree, but I do know some Trinis who did not have one and were still accepted. Note that as a JET teacher, you may be placed in a rural area of Japan, and not necessarily one of the big cities. If you are not fond of youngsters and fear speaking in public, this is not the job for you, as a high school class can have up to 40 students. This job has pretty good benefits — housing, flights, good salary, good holidays. Contact or visit the Japanese Embassy in Woodbrook to find out more about applying. If you get into the program, start learning Japanese at UWI immediately. Trust me on this, you will need it.

3. Teaching in other countries: 
If you are a qualified teacher, with a Bachelors degree in Education, there are many jobs at international schools all over the globe. But even if you are not a ‘real’ teacher, you can still go abroad to teach English, as the whole world is scrambling to learn the international language of business, finance and travel. Booming Asian countries, like China, Korea and Taiwan, have lots of jobs, and typically pay up to US $2500 a month at private conversation schools. There are opportunities in South America, but salaries will be much lower. Unfortunately it is difficult to get a job in Europe, due to immigration restrictions, but you could check the European nations which are not yet members of the European Union, or countries in the Middle East. Do a lot of research. Be careful of accepting illegal jobs which pay under the table. (I speak from experience after teaching illegally in Turkey for six months and then getting kicked out.) Never send any money overseas to any “school” or “recruiter”. Never send your original documents, such as university diplomas, to anybody. It also helps to take a course in Teaching English as a Second Language (sometimes known as Teaching English as a Foreign Language) at UWI before you go. Teaching English is much harder than you might think, and taking a course to prepare you is very useful.

4. Cruise ship jobs
: How about a life at sea? Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean regularly employ Trinis to work on board in hospitality jobs. Can be a great opportunity to see a lot of different countries in a short period of time. I’ve been told you have to get used to living in small quarters with a roommate, and quite long work hours. It is a good option for saving cash, as you’re stuck on board anyway and don’t have much to spend it on. The only recruiter I know in Trinidad is called Shipmate Services. You can visit their office to get an application.

5. CARICOM visa: 
If you don’t want to go quite as far as Bulgaria or Morocco, you could apply for the Caricom single market and economy scheme which allows for free movement of skilled people in any Caricom member state. A good friend of mine is working right now in Barbados on this and loves it, and I know people who have been to Grenada, St. Kitts, Barbuda and Jamaica for work. At least you will be closer to home!

6. Become a flight attendantMany flight attendants take up this job for the sole purpose of travelling the world (or at least as far as CAL flies). You could soon be snapping pictures of Big Ben in England, or shopping in Times Square in New York. But don’t just limit yourself locally. In the papers recently, there have been many job ads for airlines in the Middle East, particularly Qatar and Dubai, which are poaching flight attendants from smaller airlines. These are very big and prestigious airlines that will provide transport, housing, and benefits, and give you the chance to literally fly everywhere, from Paris to Tokyo to Rio de Janeiro. Just be mindful of the local laws and customs when living in a Middle Eastern country.

So, in conclusion, if you are a determined young Trini, there are obviously many ways to ship yourself abroad. Just start doing research, and start saving money. Take a course, if necessary. It may take many months to finally get the opportunity you want, but patience is a virtue. The day that you get that letter saying that you have been accepted to the program/job/course will be a happy and exciting day. Leaving home for a foreign land is a scary and wonderful experience, but well worth the risk.

In closing, I’d like to share my favourite quote, from the movie Big Fish:

“Kept in a small bowl, the goldfish will remain small.
With more space, the fish can grow double, triple, or quadruple its size.”

Hope these tips will help you find that bigger bowl out there…

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20 Replies to “WANT TO GO ABROAD?”

  1. Hi fellow Trini! I’ve just moved to Vietnam after three years in Japan. I’m making my way around the world as an English teacher and freelance writer. Just wondering what the job prospects are like in Hong Kong for Trinis since I’m already thinking about my next destination. Please give me some inside tips!

  2. Hi Shiv! A Trini in Vietnam — we really are EVERYwhere ent? Why don’t you drop me a line at thetravellingtrini@yahoo.com to keep in touch, I’d be glad to send some info about working in HKG. Are you teaching in Vietnam too? Or trying to get OUT of teaching? Hope to hear from you!

  3. Hi, I’m a The_Travelling _Trini can I also email you more information on Trini’s working abroad, I have a degree in Agribusiness and have never been beyond Trinindad & Tobago I would love to know more about teaching abroad.

  4. hey came across this site. Do you know anyone offering job sponsorships in the USA? I havent been able to locate one and I’ve been trying for a year now…

    1. Hi Bunny, I’m sorry but no, I don’t have any useful information about getting a job in the US nowadays! The only Trinis I know working in the US are those either working for multinational companies, or those who went to university in the US and then went straight into a job out of school. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  5. HI, travelling Trini I am also looking into ways to explore the world especially Asia. Although i am very much determined to go I have a fear of being alone there (Im gay so im knida alone im trinidad too). I jsut want to go around the world to meet people who dont know me or my family so even if i mess up it wont reach back home. I have been looking into South Korea and Japan recently but anywhere seems to be fine. Did you set out on this by yourself? how old were you? i dont have a degree in anything though i am still in UWI in my 3rd year of medical school. I fear that i will be stuck here or at work. I love medicine but now i am thinking that i want something more.

  6. HI, i do want to go around the world also. but i am scared of being alone and getting homesick. how did you deal with this? did you initially travel by yourself. also i am gay and as you may know trinidad is quite homophobic is it like that in the other countries you have been. i want to be free i here locked up not wanting to disappoint my parents or loose the few friends i have by coming out. I also dont have a degree but i am in my 3rd year of medical school at uwi. is it possible for me to get work elsewhere?

  7. Hey Sunny I know the feeling! It’s the main reason I do want to get out! I can tell you for certain that travelling to Massachusetts in USA is most welcoming of same sex people. In fact the people are not bothered whether you hold your partner’s hand or kiss your partner etc… Since you are doing Medicine you will have a lot better chance for firstly an H1B work visa to USA and then good chances to get the company to sponsor you a green card. Also Canada is another great option for you!! 🙂

  8. wow thanks @the_travelling_trini i shall look into all these great help. and @Bunny wow thanks to you i’m using all the help i can get so i can make a good decision. this site is truly helpful and also it looks like there are very nice trinis visiting here.

  9. You’re welcome Sunny! I’m glad I can help… and remember the USA and Canada are very huge countries… your family can be states away, should you choose those places… some areas are not Trini or Caribbean people infested….. 😉 Don’t give up! I’m not 🙂

  10. Hello All,

    I am originally from Trinidad but I have lived in Canada for a while.
    I spent the last year in Trinidad trying to make some personal decisions and I do believe that I am more prepared for a change.
    I have been interested in teaching ESL in China/ Japan/ South Korea for a few years. I have done my degrees, TESOL certification, taught ESL online and volunteered as an ESL tutor.
    I know that I would like to give it a shot however the fear of not knowing what to expect is an issue.
    I do want to move back to Trinidad at some point in the future, at the same time, I want to take the chance because I may never do so again.
    I have received several offers but I do not know if they are “legit” or work-friendly schools. Can someone suggest a few recruiters/ schools?
    Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

  11. I’m finally going to make my first step to get out of my country by applying for the JET and now I’m stumbling upon so many unique blogs and youtube channels and this is one so I’m shouting out hello!! If I require any extra info I’ll send you an email.

    1. Hi Apphia, that’s a great choice about applying for the JET Program. I hope you get through. Email me any time!

  12. I’m always so excited to find blogs by fellow Trinis abroad! I’m leaving tomorrow for my second year abroad teaching English in Colombia, looking forward to more adventures in South America.

    1. Hi Astrid, do you keep a blog? I wish that I had gone to South America while I lived in Trinidad… and I’d love to hear more about your travels and what life is like in Colombia!

      1. I blog about my travels at astridoxfordtravels.wordpress.com … There’s a whole lot more to Colombia than meets the eye! You should definitely try to visit sometime!

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