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What are some international opportunities as an engineer?

Engineering is a global profession. There are opportunities to travel to other countries on projects and even in some cases relocating from your home country to another location where the company you work for is doing business. Because of the cyclical nature of engineering, new projects and opportunities are always changing, so listing current opportunities would quickly become outdated. If you are interested in international opportunities there are a number of things you should do to maximize your chances of landing the right position.

If you are still in school target companies that have an international presence; that is companies that have locations in many different countries beyond the country where they are headquartered. A few examples include: IBM, Philips, Swisscom, Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, SAP, Samsung, Alcatel, Dell, Microsoft, Toshiba, General Electric, AstraZeneca, Rolls Royce, Siemens, Honda, Volvo and BAE Systems. This is just a short list. The key is finding a global company that has a location in your own country. These companies typically hire local engineers when they staff their offices. Getting into a global company could lead to opportunities to travel to other company locations.

If your goal is a more permanent type of opportunity, where you move to another country to work as an engineer the path is more difficult. The advantage of getting employment at a global company where you live is that if they need you at another location they can move you and all issues like travel visas are handled by the company. Trying this on your own means you run up against every county’s specific work visa and immigration laws. Many countries restrict access to foreign workers unless there is a specific need.

Doing extra homework is your best approach. Start with internet searches on global companies. Find the ones that have locations in your country. If possible make use of the career services center on campus if you have one. Also, join engineering and technical professional societies. These organizations have a global presence and the best way to identify opportunities is through networking. Meeting engineers at conferences and events could lead you to open positions. Finally, monitor business and industry journals to see where the new projects are developing. If you see that Siemens has announced a big new contract in another county they will be looking for engineering talent. So make sure you keep your eyes open. The key for seizing international engineering opportunities is persistence.

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