For the purpose of this guide, an “international career” is a career that requires interactions with people of diﬀerent countries and cultures. Based on this deﬁnition, an international career does not necessarily have to be located overseas, and, in turn, a job overseas is not necessarily an international career. With this in mind, this section presents career resources, much broader in scope than those in the “Majors” section, and considering that most international careers do not have pipeline connections with speciﬁc majors, having exposure to a wider range of careers is crucial for discovering possible careers of interest, no matter your desired major.
Every week, the IRC brings distinguished professionals to share their expertise and career pathways with us in our International Career Series and Your Global Future programs. From curators in museums specialized in international art to business professionals in global risk management, we aim to bring you closer to the numerous global experiences that may inspire you to start your international journey. Explore our upcoming programs or dive into our past offerings by accessing our International Career Series and Your Global Future pages.
*Click on any of the “Video Resources” options below to view our past programs and learn more about each Career.
Various academic ﬁelds have both direct and indirect ties to international aﬀairs, as noted above in the “Majors” section. An academic career in one of these ﬁelds is composed of performing research, teaching classes, and publishing written works on topics relating to global issues.
The Foreign Service, the United States’ diplomacy service backed by the U.S. Department of State, aims “to promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad.” U.S. diplomats in the Foreign Service “serve at one of any of the more than 270 embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions” around the world, which allows for cultural immersion and public service.
International law and its various subﬁelds, such as international human rights law, international environmental law, and international criminal law, are all popular career choices for those interested in global opportunities, especially those who are passionate about speciﬁc international disputes and have a desire to shape policy. Students pursuing this career path will complete both a Bachelor’s degree, sometimes in a subject relating to international relations, and a law degree, often with an international law concentration.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are organizations that exist in civil society, distinct from both government and business. Careers with such organizations are popular for those interested in international relations as many NGOs address international issues such as public policy, human rights, democracy, international business, peace issues, political advocacy, and humanitarian aid.
Political consultants advise political actors by presenting reports, setting agendas, and implementing strategies. In the case of international relations, political consulting depends on the consultant’s area of expertise, whether it be a global region or ﬁeld of international policy. Most political consultants focus on either campaign or policy consulting.
The Public Relations Society of America deﬁnes public relations as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneﬁcial relationships between organizations and their publics.” The organizations referred to in this deﬁnition can be from any sector, as businesses, NGOs, and governments all want positive public engagement. People with public relations careers often work closely with the media through press releases.
Many individuals interested in international aﬀairs are drawn to service, whether it be volunteering in the Peace Corp to tackle major international and community issues facing the world today, or serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. There are many service organizations with an international focus.
Translation and Interpretation
Careers in translation and interpretation are popular for many with a foreign language background, as jobs appear across all sectors and allow for critical cultural exchange. Not only do translators and interpreters need to be ﬂuent in more than one language, but they must also be knowledgeable of cultural diﬀerences and relevant subject matter. For example, a healthcare interpreter must have a grasp on medical ethics and terminology on top of advanced language skills.
The United Nations, an international organization comprised of 193 member states, has a multitude of entities, bodies, and subsidiary specialized agencies. Due to its size and complexity, many careers exist in the UN network, and such careers are very popular because the UN deals with the most urgent and signiﬁcant issues around the world.
Many writers focus on international relations and related issues, whether they work for the government, an NGO, or the press. They may write policy recommendations, research papers, speeches, and columns in an attempt to inﬂuence both decision making and public opinion.
Featured Video Resources
Join Megan Chabalowshi, Program Officer in Public Education for the United States Institute of Peace in Whashington D.C., in exporing the many different career paths that may take you into a future of non-partisan Global Peace Building in the United States.
Join Rhiannon Johnson, Career Resources Specialist at the Kansas City Public Library, in defining an international career, identifying the opportunities and challenges of one, exploring the preparation elements to join a global workforce, and discovering the many local resources and opportunities available to you to get your global future started.
Join us for our International Career Series and Your Global Future programs to learn more about the different careers that will lead you towards a future of global adventures.
To access our full video library, visit our YouTube page!