Updated: May 10, 2021 at 1:31 p.m.
This year, the pressure of post-graduate life has been exacerbated by an unusual senior year and a daunting job market.
But securing a full-time job in your career field isn’t the only option for new graduates. We’ve gathered a list of 10 impactful things to do both at home and abroad in your post-grad life if entering the job market isn’t the best next step for you.
If you choose to travel after graduation, be sure to brush up on the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 guidelines before hopping on a plane.
From working as an au pair in a different country, to dipping your toes into organic farming, here are a few things you could try if you’re not ready to enter your career field.
Join a volunteer program
Programs like Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and CityYear, which typically last one to two years, are popular for recent graduates looking to volunteer abroad. If programs like these pique your interest, you could find yourself teaching English as a second language in Nepal or volunteering in agroforestry in Guinea with the Peace Corps. The large variety of programs make for plenty of opportunities that are best suited for your skill set.
Become a local tour guide
If you’re a “people person” and passionate about life in D.C. or any other city, consider becoming a tour guide. The travel industry is broad and diverse, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for you to do anything from leading tours around the National Mall to practicing your foreign language skills as a bilingual guide abroad. The International Tour Management Institute’s two-week course will set you up to live, explore and work in the city of your choice.
Try organic farming
Organic farming through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms allows you to travel and develop a green thumb at the same time – no prior agricultural experience necessary. This organization connects organic farmers around the world with travelers looking for a place to stay and volunteer. Stay at one farm for the entirety of your trip or travel from farm to farm, experiencing new locations and learning new skills.
Teach English as a second language in Spain or become a ski instructor in New Zealand. Finding a job abroad could be an amazing opportunity to experience a new place and adapt to a different work culture. International job sites, like GoAbroad.com, are aimed at future expats and people who are looking for job opportunities in a new place. Some job sites even offer everything from international internships to adventure travel.
Work freelance gigs
Working as a freelancer can be a great way to make money without the constraints of a full-time job. Many recent grads turn to freelance work because of the flexibility that comes with short-term contracts. Websites like Fiverr.com connect freelancers with companies seeking their expertise, like software companies in need of a graphic designer for a new product launch or organizations seeking writing and translation services.
Backpack across continents
Backpacking from region to region has always been the quintessential post-graduate experience for the college student looking to take some time off before searching for a full-time job. Consider taking advantage of the rewarding experience by taking a chunk of time to travel to new destinations and documenting your experience through photos, videos or even a blog.
Develop your hobbies
If you are an avid skier, enjoy taking pilates classes or have always loved rock-climbing, this might be the perfect time to turn your passion into a part-time gig. Train to be a yoga instructor or work at your favorite spin studio. If you’re an artist or performer, consider teaching part time at a local community center or offering virtual classes. As spaces begin to reopen after pandemic restrictions, now is an exciting time to cultivate your hobbies.
Au-pair around the world
Turn your high school babysitting career into an opportunity to live in a different country using sites like AuPairWorld. Families around the world love hiring nannies from different backgrounds to familiarize their children with new languages and cultures. Many require you to help your host family with child care and light housework in exchange for room and board and a stipend.
Explore new fields of study
If you’ve got extra time on your hands after graduation, consider exploring subjects that have always interested you. If you’re a foodie, maybe that means enrolling in culinary school or if you’re a film buff, consider taking a course in film studies. Most institutions offer both short-term and graduate-level programs to fit your goals, or you can opt to take a more short-term informal class with a local instructor.
Start your own business
It can be difficult to find your place in most industries. The time after graduation can be your opportunity to start your own business and eventually create your own perfect job. If you have an idea or passion that takes up most of your free time, consider turning it into a small business. Here is a short guide for how to get started.