Can’t Find a Job in the States? Move to India

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I couldn’t find a job, but neither could anyone I knew. Now, more than a year after graduation, most of my college friends still live at home, and many of those who have moved out are borrowing money from their parents to eat and pay rent. A few have internships, but most of those are unpaid, and few are likely to lead to jobs. Two friends who studied psychology for four years now work off the books at a sandwich shop. Another, who got her master’s in development studies from Cambridge, became a barista at Starbucks.

Some are applying to grad school just to have something to do, but the prospect of racking up thousands more dollars in student debt is crushing. The rest are still looking, sending out résumés, going to career fairs, volunteering for experience, and networking. Some have given up. We are a whole generation graduating into a job market that has no room for us.

So I moved to India.

Two years earlier, I had spent a semester abroad in the Nepali-speaking regions of northeastern India, learning the language and culture through a fantastic study-abroad program at Pitzer College. In India, I met Pema Wangchuk, editor and publisher of Sikkim NOW, the most popular local English-language daily newspaper in the state of Sikkim. A couple months into my job hunt, I sent Pema an e-mail asking if he knew anyone who might be interested in hiring a young, enthusiastic American college graduate. “We’d be quite keen to have you here,” he wrote back.

Chronicle of Higher Education: What I Did When I Couldn’t Find a Job

The writer, Andrew Dana Hudson, asks “Why don’t more recent graduates move to the developing world to wait out the recession?” But he sort of ends up answering his own question: you can’t pay off your student loans while living abroad living cheaply (but as he points out, it’s still better than languishing in the States racking up credit card debt) and most people don’t have the sort of connections abroad that he had. I’d also point out that that the cost of getting somewhere, even if it’s really cheap once you’re there, is an obstacle.

The problem with finding somewhere to work/volunteer isn’t unsurmountable- but the “voluntourism” industry makes it difficult to find opportunities. Google “volunteer abroad” and you’re likely to find heaps of volunteer opportunities that cost a pretty penny.

Anyone have any experience or advice for doing something like this?

(via Bruce Sterling

5 Comments

  1. >“Why don’t more recent graduates move to the developing world to wait out the recession?”

    The answer is simple if you drop the assumptions. It seems fairly obvious that US average standard of living is going to decline, and that Indian standard of living will increase.

    So just assume you aren’t going back to the US (to work) ever. And then no problem with those pesky student loans, either.

  2. “And then no problem with those pesky student loans, either.”

    That could be fine if your parents or guardian didn’t co-sign on your student loans for you, or if you don’t care about sticking them with your debt.

  3. I must admit I’ve wanted to do this for ages.

    Apparently rent for a decent place is just $200/m, so in theory I could make enough money as an artist selling my work online to be able to get by comfortably.

    Like all my crazy plans though, this is probably fraught with realities I have not yet considered.

  4. This is an extremely doable thing, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam at the moment where teaching as a vocation is booming as much as any other industry you can care to think of. It’s probably one of the most frustrating places in the world to work and live as an expat BUT there are massive opportunities for someone who is patient and willing to spend a year getting a handle on the place. I came here 18 months ago with no money, plan or qualifications and as a teacher I’m now saving a few grand a month (living cheaply of course)

    It drives me crazy thinking of my friends back home who having actually finished a university degree then ‘decide’ to spend the following few years confused working in various cafes. If you want a leg up into a new level of work experience, want to be paid to take on a challenge, or just have nothing better to do, then get over to Asia already.

    Worlds changing guys, Asia’s going to be a thing, get onto it.

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