Looking for outlets to send you abroad is actually the *last* step of a going-overseas process.
- The first thing is, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- What level of risk can you handle?
- How willing are you to learn foreign languages/how many foreign languages do you already know?
- Where can you get a free place to stay?
So if you have friends or relatives in a particular country in Latin America who can offer you a couch, and you already know Spanish, and you’re comfortable with the level of stability (or instability in that country), then you go there.
I had a grandmother in
My husband had a year of Chinese in college and a strong interest in their space program, so he picked
Then you buy a one-way plane ticket (I skipped on my last months’ rent to pay for mine) to whereever you decide to go. These days, I would recommend
When choosing a country, you look for two major factors:
- A lack of local English-language talent. (That way, you’ll have less competition for the English-language jobs, which pay the most.)
- Lots of changes. (Either military, political, economic, social or all of the above, which gives you lots of things to write about.)
Once you pick your country and find your free couch (or the reverse, as the case may be) then you call everyone you know who might know anyone in that country. You tell them that you’ll be over there, and ask to meet with their contact.
Then you get to that country, go to all of those people, and all of the people those people recommend, and all of the people *those* people recommend and you ask them all for a writing job. In addition to meeting with all your contacts (you’re a journalist, you should be good at that part) also go in and meet face-to-face with all the editors of local English-language papers, all the news agencies (AP, Reuters, AFP, etc…) and the bureaus of all the major papers — LA Times, Christian Science Monitor, NY Times, Wall Street Journal. Many of them use freelancers.
It took me three days to get a fulltime job in
In my next job, I took them all on as freelancers.
Then you work your butt off — and keep following up with all your contacts because, chance are, your first job is going to suck. (Mine had cockroaches in the computer keyboards, and banana slugs crawling on the ceiling that kept dropping down into my hair.)