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How to live abroad as an american

How to live abroad as an american: 10 ways to make it happen 

The new American dream is to leave the country. Rising living costs, less safety, and new backwards policies coming into place are just some of the many reasons why Americans are looking into how to live abroad. Or maybe, simply, you’re looking for a new enriching and life-changing experience. You don’t know if this will be temporary or permanent. You’re looking to gain a new perspective on life. In this article, I’ll cover 10 different ways in which you can live abroad.

Before we begin, I just want to remind you that this is not legal advice. You will need to do some research of your own. As a US citizen that has spent most of her life outside of the US, I have done a few of these myself. I have also met people from all walks of life who have embraced these opportunities. Whether you want to embrace free education, new job opportunities, or simply want to spend time abroad, then this is for you.

Digital Nomad Visa

One of the easiest ways to secure long-term stay in a country is by getting a digital nomad visa. In today’s interconnected world, remote work is more prevalent than ever. As long as you have your own health insurance and can provide proof of a steady income for a few months, you’ll be able to secure one of these. Many countries now offer digital nomad visas, and the list of those that offer them goes up every year. If you don’t have a remote job yet, you can look into my resources here.

Teach English Abroad

Countries all around the world have a high demand for English teachers. You do not need to have a degree in Education for this. If you are able to get a TEFL certificate, your chances of securing an English teaching job will be pretty good. In many cases, you’ll have your flights paid, accommodation covered, and of course, a salary. Since most of your expenses are covered this is an excellent way to spend time abroad while saving money. Plenty of people sign contracts on a yearly basis, then move to a different country every year or two for the experience.

Personally, I never got a TEFL but I did teach English in China as a side hustle. If you’re already in the country this is possible but more competitive. It’s also not legal and it can be difficult to get jobs if you don’t have a working permit to remain in the country. Salaries would start from $20-25/hour, which was extremely good since the costs of being in the country were low. I’ve met people from their 20s to their 60s teaching English. You can teach in Latin America, Asia, Europe or even Africa. The options are endless.

Working Holiday Visa

This is one of those that people rarely know about, and is so easy to get! If you’re 18-30 years old, there are schemes in place between countries encouraging young people to live abroad to fill up positions, especially those in hospitality. The visas are usually a year long and require no higher education. All you need to have is international health insurance for the duration of your trip, and $3000-5000 dollars in your bank account. Once you’ve secured the visa, you fly out to the country of your choice and you can get jobs locally.

This is an excellent way for you to make money and explore the country you’re in at the same time. Countries like Australia, Singapore, and Ireland offer such visas. You can find out more about them here. Personally, I’ve lived all over the world but not taking advantage of this visa when I was younger is one of my biggest regrets up to date. Don’t be like me.

Babysit Abroad

Au pairing or babysitting abroad is a unique way to experience daily life in another country while providing valuable services to local families. You can either look for reputable agencies online, or use the website AuPairWorld to look for families directly. Work during the summer holidays, or you can even do it for a whole year. You can check out this video I made here about my personal experience as an AuPair in Spain. 

Countries like Spain and France actually provide visas specifically made for these services. It is your host family’s job to provide the documentation necessary for those. You pay for your own flights. All your other expenses are taken care of. You do not get paid, but you will get an allowance. You’ll only work part-time, too. If you are looking into learning a new language, for example, this is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new country. If you stay long enough, you can negotiate having the host family pay for your language courses too!

Traveling around Spain as this family's AuPair
Study Abroad

Higher education in the US is a rip off. You can easily get a degree abroad that’s recognized all around the world for a fraction of the price or even for free. Unless you’re going for an Ivy League education, you will stand out in a pool of applicants if you go back to the US with the degree. This includes: new soft skills, potentially a new language, and a better understanding of the world. All I would do while looking for degrees is make sure that the one you’re interested in is listed in this database. This is where you can find out if the degree you want has worldwide recognition.

I couldn’t afford to study in the US so I got a bachelor’s degree in Economics in China instead. I got tons of working experience, learned the language fluently, and even managed to set up a company while in the country. This was only at the age of 19! I would have never been able to do this in the US. My degree was only $3k per year. I’ve never had debt in my life thanks to this degree. I got my master’s degree in the UK for $10k from one of the best universities in the country. I’ve never had problems getting a job anywhere I go.


What I didn’t know when I was younger was that I could have studied abroad FOR FREE. Plenty of universities in Europe offer free education. All you have to do is pay for your own expenses. There are also countries around the world offering scholarships for you to study in them. Turkey, Bahrain and China are among those. Believe me, as long as you HAVE a recognized degree, it doesn’t matter where it came from. You can follow me on TikTok where I regularly share the scholarship opportunities I come across.

how to live abroad as an american
Class of 2011 in Guangzhou, China. Can you spot Sibu?
Find a Job Abroad

If you have a specific skill set or profession, consider searching for a job abroad. Many international companies actively recruit foreign talent, and platforms like LinkedIn and global job portals can help you connect with potential employers across borders. You can easily get visa sponsorship to move abroad. This option, together with studying abroad, are two excellent ways for you to move to a country in a more permanent way.

Once you’re studying or working, you can find ways in which to secure Permanent Residence. This in turn could lead to you obtaining that country’s citizenship in the future. This is especially common in Europe. Once you’ve studied and/or worked in the country for a number of years, it will also be easier for you to get your visa extended. This gives you the opportunity to look for new work possibilities. These two options I’ve just listed are the most efficient way for you to move to a new country permanently.

Language Course Abroad

This is another fun hack that many people don’t know about. There are formal institutions and universities offering language courses locally. If you enroll yourself in one of these and pay 6-12 months up front, you’ll be granted a language course visa. This is a part-time course that allows you to immerse yourself in the country, and work part-time during your studies. People of all ages do it!

This does not have the same status as the full-time university degree visa I mentioned earlier, but it is still a good way to get into a country if you don’t want to go to college again. Once you’re in the country you can pick up the language. You can network. You can apply for jobs locally and try to get visa sponsorship. Let’s face it. You’ll be taken more seriously if you’re already in the country making an effort to immerse yourself than you would online. I’ve personally done this in China, Poland and Germany and it is my favorite way of moving to a new country.

how to move abroad through a language course

This strategy does require money up front. A good amount of it. Not only do you need to pay the course up front, but you also need to have enough money in your bank account when you apply for the visa. This is to prove that you have the necessary amount to live comfortably during your stay. The amount varies from country to country. I can, however, say that you can take a 20-hour weekly German course for around $300 USD per month in Berlin. Then you need to add your living expenses. This is a bargain, in my opinion.

Right to Foreign Citizenship

For those seeking a more permanent change, explore options to obtain foreign citizenship. If you even happen to be part Caucasian, then someone in your family was probably European. If anyone in your family hailed from Europe, you might be able to get citizenship by descent. For some countries, even as far back as your great grandparent could make you eligible for a European passport.

You do not need to have even stepped foot in the country. It is simply your birthright. This takes time, and research, but it is definitely possible. As someone with dual citizenship, I can tell you that it opens even more doors than you could possibly ever imagine. I am extremely privileged to be able to have two, and if you can have them, you should make the most of it.

Citizenship by Investment

If you’re reading this and you’re wealthy enough to have a few hundred thousand dollars lying around, you could invest in a foreign country. By following the local regulations in place, this would make you eligible for permanent residence. After a few years, you could apply for that country’s passport. This will require some knowledge of the local language. Should you do it? Definitely.

This is very common in a couple of European countries, and you might even be able to secure a visa in the Caribbean, too. They say money can buy it all and in this case, that statement is true. You can have a look at the updated list of countries offering citizenship by investment here.



The beauty of all these opportunities is not just embracing life as a local, but also making the most of being in the region. I traveled extensively around Asia when I was living in China. I traveled to different countries over the weekends or long holidays in Europe without breaking the bank because everything was so accessible. I basically took the opportunity to discover the region I was living in, and so can you. And if you’re worried about retirement while living abroad, you can read this article here.

Living abroad as an American is not a far fetched possibility. It’s a reality. The good things in life are rarely easy. This will take time and effort from your side. Honestly, I’d say the outcome is worth it. While most salaries are nowhere near as high as they are in the US, I can assure you that the quality of life is better. Living expenses are usually lower. You’ll save more. You can have a better work life balance. Embrace the adventure and step out of your comfort zone. It’s worth it. If you’d like to discuss any of these possibilities, you can always schedule a call with me here.

a woman posing in the water

Hey there, and welcome to Go Global with Sibu! I’m a global citizen that has been living and traveling around the world since 2005 – all through budget travel, scholarships, study/work and living abroad opportunities.  I share everything I’ve learned over the years here – to prove to you that you don’t need money or privilege to enjoy everything that this world has to offer. 

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