Paid Work Abroad: J-1 Visa, Teach, Au Pair, Work and Travel Programs


Updated for 2022

Did you know there are lots of different ways to explore the world and earn some income while you’re at it? From teaching abroad, to au pair programs, to working abroad and beyond, there are plenty of opportunities to visit a new destination without tapping into your savings. Plus, these programs will let you build your resume and make a difference on your adventure abroad. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common paid travel opportunities.

Paid Teach Abroad Programs

There are many different opportunities to earn money while teaching abroad, especially if you are certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language: you can visit some of the most beautiful countries in the world and teach in cities or even in remote locations where teachers are limited and schools are overcrowded. Many teach abroad programs have placements open to students on a gap year or just a summer break, graduates on a career break or extended vacation, and anyone else that’s interested in spending time abroad helping to educate others. Your break could become a working holiday. English teaching abroad is the most common program you’ll find, though any opportunity you take will allow you to help create cultural connections, whether you’re working in another country with children or adults. For example, International TEFL Academy (ITA) offers the gold standard in TEFL certification for teaching English abroad & teaching English online. They provide the finest internationally accredited TEFL courses both online and in-person in 20+ locations across the globe. ITA certifies 5,000 people per year, and our graduates are teaching in over 80 countries & online.

Au Pair Programs

Au pair – French for “on par” or equal – programs are designed for travelers who’d like to stay with a host family and help care for the children and the house. Au pairs are given a weekly paycheck, and live as part of the family, usually taking on a variety of household responsibilities in addition to caring for children. When applying to become an Au pair, you can fill out a description of yourself showcasing your experience, the number of children you’re willing to work with, and the ages you’d like to work with. Au pairs do not have to be certified or have a degree, but are given extensive training before being placed with a family.

Work Travel Programs

From farming to teaching, there are many different programs to chose from when it comes to work travel. As you may expect, most of the popular ways to work and travel are teaching English to local schools and to businesses whose employees increasingly need to learn the language to interact with clients, vendors, and customers worldwide. However, there are lots of other ways to have a working holiday and earn some income while traveling, including farming and agriculture, seasonal tourism, hotel work, office jobs, and lots more.

J-1 Visa Programs

The J-1 Visa exchange program offers approximately 300,000 participants from more than 200 countries and territories to visit the United States every year with over 1,400 designated U.S. sponsors involved in the program. Participants can teach, study, conduct research, share specialized skills, and/or receive on-the-job training for anywhere between a few weeks to several years. J-1 Visas most commonly include a large cultural component, so participants can become more engaged with U.S. citizens while simultaneously sharing their culture. There are many different companies and organizations that participate in the J-1 Visa program – to learn more about these opportunities, visit

Cultural Homestays

Cultural homestays give you the chance to stay with a family in a country other than your own. As you participate in a work abroad program or paid teach abroad experience, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in a new culture while completing your project or program. Similar to the experience of an exchange program, through a cultural homestay, you’ll become a member of the family as you help around the house, learn the family’s way of life, and even teach your host family and friends all about the culture of your own country through your actions and stories. This is a phenomenal way to get the most out of your experience in a new country!

Ready for an adventure abroad? Read on to learn all about some amazing organizations that will pay you to travel and make a difference!

Maximo Nivel


Founded in 2003, Maximo Nivel provides volunteer abroad, intern abroad, study abroad, and teach abroad placements in Latin America. So far, 25,000 volunteers, interns, and teachers have signed up with Maximo Nivel, which partners with local organizations in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru to provide high-quality, engaging placements where you can learn, explore, and make a positive impact. There are many choices if you’re thinking of working abroad. If you want to teach English abroad, Maximo Nivel is a great choice: with 3,500 graduates, lifetime job placement assistance, and international accreditation, you will receive excellent training to confidently teach English worldwide.

If you want to earn your TEFL certification abroad while immersing yourself in a culture different from your own, check out Maximo Nivel’s four-week, 150-hour course in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru. Modules include Approaches to Learning and Teaching, Critical ESL Techniques, Class Management, Lesson Planning, English Grammar, Teaching Vocabulary, Assessing Learners, and more. This TEFL certification course incorporates 100 hours of in-class instruction, 35 hours of required reading and written assignments, and 15 hours of observation and practical teaching. You also will have the chance to teach hour-long lessons for five days to an actual English class as part of your certification. Click here to learn more and to sign up!

On Maximo Nivel’s English teaching volunteer program in Latin America, you will immerse yourself in the culture of Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru while helping local students develop and improve their English language skills. For two to four hours each day, you will teach grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, speaking, writing, and listening skills to primary, middle, and high school students. Your specific tasks will vary depending on project needs, but can include creating lesson plans, teaching classes, helping with tutoring, and organizing educational games and activities. Learn more and sign up here!

International TEFL Academy (ITA)

Another opportunity to check out if you’d like to get paid to teach abroad is International TEFL Academy (ITA), which has provided online and in-person TEFL training and certification classes since 2010. To start, ITA offers extensive pre-enrollment guidance from expert advisors to match you with the best program for your interests. After that, you’ll be enrolled in an internationally accredited and high-quality TEFL course, which will open you up to paid English teaching jobs all over the world – and with lifetime job search guidance plus an array of other valuable resources for students and alumni, ITA’s community is here to support you long after you’ve completed your TEFL training.

International TEFL Academy’s 11 week online course is a great way to earn TEFL certification before traveling abroad. This experience includes 150 hours of online lessons plus 20 hours of live teaching practice with ESL learners over 11 weeks, with about 10 to 12 hours of training per week. You can also choose specific tracks to focus on, including Young Learner and Business English, depending on the type of English teaching placement you’d like to pursue abroad later. Once you’ve completed this class, you will be qualified to become a full-time, paid English teacher abroad – here are a few of the awesome destinations where you can get paid to teach English abroad!

Teach English in Argentina

Native English speakers with TEFL certification can get a good job teaching English in Argentina. A 4-year degree may give you an edge in the job market, but isn’t required. With amazing cities like Buenos Aires, great cuisine and a culturally vibrant atmosphere, Argentina offers a work-life balance that attracts many foreign teachers. Wages average around $700 – $1,500+ per month.

Teach English in Spain

ITA can assist with job placement in Spain, one of the most popular destinations in the world for teaching English. You need a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate, which you can get through International TEFL Academy. Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona offer the most options for English teachers, and teaching jobs are usually a part of a government program such as the Cultural Ambassadors Program. Pay ranges from $1,800 – $3,000+ per month.

Teach English in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

A center of trade and commerce, cities in the UAE such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi are some of the most sought-after destinations for English teachers. To get a teaching job in the UAE, a bachelor’s degree is required (master’s preferred). You’ll also need TEFL certification and preferable some experience to help you have an edge over other applicants (due to a competitive job market). Expect to make between $1,800 – $5,000+ per month, with 20-25 teaching hours monthly. The nice aspect of teaching jobs in the UAE is the benefits, which can include free housing, airfare and health insurance, as well as paid vacation.


Founded in 2001, Geovisions helps travelers develop global skills that will help them to succeed by leading to greater cooperation and understanding among nations. The organization ensures that every participant is treated with respect, and they devote their energies to help their travelers and hosts meet their collective and individual goals. Geovisions offers a variety of paid teaching abroad opportunities. Whether you’re a recent graduate trying to find a job, a teacher on sabbatical, or just someone who’s interested in teaching overseas, they will help find the right fit for you.

This summer, Geovisions is looking for someone that would like to teach in Thailand for two months, with a promise of being back to your home country before the next school year begins. You can spend either June and July or July and August enhancing your teaching experience by working abraod in Thailand for your summer vacation. Geovisions’ Thailand program began in 2006, and since then the organization has sent more than 2,000 teachers to participate. There also are a limited number of programs for teachers in the United States, Canada, or the UK who only have the summer to spend teaching. However, if you can arrive in May or October, Geovisions will find an opportunity for you to teach an entire semester abroad.

A few of the other countries that offer paid teaching programs are China, Myanmar, South Korea, and Vietnam. Through all of these experiences, you will be able to not only enrich the lives of your students, but if you are a current teacher in your home country, you can bring what you learn back to your students and give them a more cultural education as you share your experience.

Each program is a little different, with varying costs as well. The Myanmar program lasts one year and costs $1,999 if you do not take Geovisions’ TESOL course, or $2,429 when you take the TESOL course while in Myanmar. The average salary range for any starting teacher with Geovisions is $800 to $1,200, but if you are extremely qualified then you can earn up to $1,800 per month. Everyone starts out earning $800 for the first two months, but that number will increase depending on your ability and credentials. While working abroad, your host schools also will help find the most comfortable accommodations for you, and along with your salary, there are many generous benefits.

If you are interested in learning more, please visit

What Volunteers Say

Geovisions does an excellent job with constant support!


Center for International Career Development (CICD)

The Center for International Career Development is headquartered in Seattle, WA and has been providing a wide variety of paid travel opportunities since 1997. CICD’s mission is to promote the exchange of culture, ideas, and relevant experience worldwide through quality training, internship, work-abroad, and volunteer programs for qualified and diverse international interns, trainees, work and travel students, volunteers, and great host companies.

CICD has multiple opportunities for J-1 Visa programs for students to come to the United States, including a 12-month program for those students from Australia and New Zealand. Students can build their resumes, make many new friends, share their own culture, gain work experience, learn more about the United States, and earn money to help finance their trip. At the conclusion of this program, you’ll be able to spend 30 days exploring the United States at your own pace.

CICD’s J-1 work and travel sponsorship includes the following: home country interview, orientation, support, useful program and cultural information, J-1 Visa application tips, monitoring and support of your program from start to end, coordination of your work and travel program health insurance, 24-hour emergency phone number and support, and the DS-2019 form required to apply for your J-1 Work and Travel Visa. Participants are paid a salary commensurate with those offered to their American counterparts, and compensation varies depending on the employer and job type.

If you would like more information, check out CICD’s website at

American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS)

The American Institute for Foreign Study (Australia) has multiple paid travel opportunities, including au pair placements in the U.S. and Australia, plus work and travel programs in Australia. Since 1999, AFIS has provided high-quality educational and cultural exchange programs that enrich the lives of people throughout the world, provide excellent support for their participants, and promote employee initiative and professional development. AIFS encourages travelers to embrace new cultures and understand cross-cultural similarities while respecting differences.

One such opportunity to enrich yourself while traveling is to become an au pair in Australia. Being an au pair is a wonderful experience not only for you, but also for the Australian family that gets to learn about your culture while you’ll help care for the family and the household. Your responsibilities as an au pair can include caring for children (dressing, playing, bathing, and so on), preparing meals, looking after the children’s belongings, making beds, doing laundry, straightening rooms, cleaning up the kitchen after the children’s meals, and driving them to and from school, appointments, or outings. AIFS trains all of their employees so you can find the best fit for your skills and interests, and for the family you’ll be working with.

AIFS also offers a program for travelers all over the world to stay with a host family in the United States, caring for their children and getting to live the American life for a 12-month placement. All au pairs are given a four-day orientation where you are told the basics of living in the U.S. plus training for your placement. While in America, au pairs are given $500 toward studying at a local college while you’re working – you’ll also have many opportunities to travel during your placement. During your stay, you’ll receive visa sponsorship, 12 months’ insurance, meals and accommodation, weekly spending money, two weeks’ vacation, regular social events with other au pairs in your area, three hours’ study per week in which you get to pick the course, one month of traveling after you complete your placement, six- to 12-month extension option at no charge, and lots more.

If you’d like to become an au pair in the U.S. or Australia, visit


Since 1991, Visitoz has been training and preparing young men and women to work in rural Australia. Travelers are paid for their work, which is guaranteed for all who complete Visitoz’s five-day training session. With nearly 2,000 employees, the connections are amazing: opportunities range from small family farms to million-acre homes, and tasks cover anything that supports farmers and their families – such as working with horses, beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, tractors and machinery, maintenance, gardening, inside-outside work, cooking, teaching and tutoring, child care, and a range of hospitality jobs. While working with Visitoz, you will be sure to get a unique experience: working conditions are often tough, hot, dry, and dusty, and all of their employers are fair, but expect you to be hardworking.

Right now, Visitoz has four different work abroad options for you to choose from. The first option is a 365-day package, including help with travel arrangements, insurance packages, and visa applications; nine days of training where you’ll receive an introduction to the program; all meals; shopping for work clothes and small items at the Springbrook shop; an Aussie Allrounder hat; a Visitoz water bottle and t-shirt; and many other items for a total of $2,399.

The next three options include a 90-day package with booking form within Australia for $1,299, a special offer for a last-minute promotional price, and a special offer for a “train now pay later” opportunity. These three options include a five-day integration program, an Aussie hat, Visitoz water bottle and t-shirt, help and advice throughout your stay, and several other items. All options offer a basic wage for working abroad participants.

For more information and to sign up, visit

Global Vision International

Right now, Global Vision International (GVI) is offering you a wonderful opportunity to teach in Thailand. Once you complete GVI’s comprehensive orientation weekend or its 120-hour TEFL course, you can embark on this life-changing experience. In Thailand, teachers are extremely well-respected because it is a necessity for children to learn English. By learning English, these children can secure a good education and future job, and you can play a part of their achieving that success. Through this program, you not only get a wonderful cultural experience, but you also can save money for future traveling endeavors. You will earn between 25,000 to 35,000 Baht (approximately $700 to $1000 USD) per month.

The program itself costs $1,000 but includes the following: comprehensive pre-departure support, airport pickup for orientation and training in Chiang Mai, placement matching service, shared accommodation, welcome dinner, deals during orientation weekend, assistance with paperwork, local SIM with Thai phone number, GVI t-shirt, and several other accommodations.

If you’re wondering how to work abroad, this is a good program to look into. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a recent graduate, on a gap year, taking a break in your education, or simply looking to have a one-of-a-kind experience abroad: this is an amazing opportunity that will stand out on your resume. You’ll gain greater independence, leadership skills, and responsibility, and have the opportunity to meet and work with people from all over the world.

To learn more about this program, please visit

What Volunteers Say

I have volunteered twice with GVI and in both cases the experiences are still very much with me. I had a fantastic time, got to meet some amazing people and see some really beautiful parts of the world. I felt entirely safe and looked after, right up from the moment that I booked to the point where GVI put me (sadly) on the plane to come back to the UK. I would recommend GVI as a voluntary organisation to anyone and everyone – just make sure you don’t book for too short a while because once you get out there you won’t want to come back.


International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT)

Since 1993, International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT) has been one of the world’s leading TEFL and TESOL course providers. ITTT offers high-quality training through an online coursein-class courses in 27 different countries, and a combined course, with more than 100,000 graduates to date. With worldwide accreditation, ITTT offers lifetime job support for all students who successfully complete their programs, including job leads, employer databases, CV and resume review, and much more. Online courses start at $249, in-class courses start from $1,490 for four weeks, and combined courses start from $1,195.

ITTT’s internationally accredited online TEFL courses open up opportunities for working in another country. Plus, they’re open to students of all learning styles, allowing you to earn TEFL certification from home, at your own pace, and with or without tutor support. Courses range from 60-hour introductory programs, to 50-hour specialized ones, to 250-hour TESOL diploma classes. If you’d rather earn your TEFL or TESOL certification abroad, check out ITTT’s in-class courses, which take place in more than 25 different locations across Australia, Greece, India, Japan, and beyond. These four-week classes provide an intensive and immersive experience, and are an excellent gateway to finding a job teaching English in the country of your choice. For example, ITTT’s TEFL training center in Sydney is a wonderful option for you to gain experience teaching in Australia, and then go on to teach in Asia (or anywhere else in the world).

And finally, if you want to combine online training with an in-class experience, ITTT offers that option as well: you’ll start with a 120-hour online education program, followed by one to two weeks of onsite training. For the online segment, you’ll learn about language awareness, teaching theory, and general methodology, and after that, you can take a 5-day in-classroom course in one of more than a dozen locations in the US or Canada, or an 8- to 10-day program in Spain, Thailand, Italy, France, or the US. You’ll receive full TEFL certification after successfully completing both portions of ITTT’s combined course.

If you’re inspired to travel abroad and build your skill sets, there are plenty of amazing opportunities to choose from, and lots of high-quality organizations that will help you find the right program and earn some income.

Want to know more about building your resume while traveling? Check out these articles:

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