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.
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