Top 10 Expat Odd Jobs in the World

9 October 2014


Odd jobs are the best choices for most expat adventurers. These are the kind of jobs that gives way to new and exciting experiences, whether it’s another new destination or a new path in life altogether, no matter what it is, odd jobs tend to bring out people’s passion in life, especially odd jobs that take you overseas. These are the world’s top 10 expat odd jobs.


1. Surf Researcher

1. Surf Researcher

Photo: Michael Dawes

Qualifications: Swimming and Surfing Skills

Salary Range: $ 40,000–45,000 a year


Yes, as great as it sounds, this is an actual thing and it is a real job. A surf researcher is someone who studies sustainable surf tourism activities globally. You get to travel around the world to study the possibilities of surf tourism in a given place and actually try it firsthand before they are commercially developed. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for adventurers who long to travel and live abroad.


2. Fossil Digger

2. Fossil Digger

Photo: UNE Photos

Qualifications: Basic Knowledge of Fossils and Fossil Sites around the World

Salary Range: $ 41,000-80,000 a year


This is another job that taps on everyone’s childhood dream. There is a common misconception that all fossil diggers are Archaeologists, this is not always the case. There are some people who actually just have a fascination for fossils and focus their time on finding and retrieving fossils around the world, whereas Archaeologists study the overall human activity of the past including cultural and environmental data. Fossil diggers can be people who do it for their personal pleasure, there are some who really work for an organization, and there are also some who do it for pure profit. Fossil digging is an adventure that is a bit different from “surf research” and it also attracts a different type of adventurer (more like an Indiana Jones type of adventurer). You would need a lot of help and research to be a fossil digger, but if you already have a particular interest in fossils and the “land before time,” this may well be the perfect job for you.


3. Waterslide Tester

3. Waterslide Tester

Photo: Rolfe Kolbe

Qualifications: Excellent Swimming Skills

Salary Range: $ 15,000–56,000 a year


This job is exactly as it sounds, you travel around the world in different resorts and amusement parks to test water slides. There are companies who actually hire professional waterslide testers to test how safe, fun and innovative water slides can be. All you need to do is have an excellent international insurance coverage, have good swimming skills and a special interest for waterslides.


4. Snake Milker

4. Snake Milker


Qualifications: Expertise in Snake Venom, Experience in Handling Snakes

Salary: $ 30,000–45,000 a year


Snake Milkers are people who extract venom from snakes. It may not be the most fun job for a lot of people, but for the very few thrill seekers and keen venom researchers, this is as much fun as surf researching and testing water slides. Snake milkers tend to travel a lot because they are mostly employed by zoos, wildlife reserves and drug research facilities because snake venom is an integral part of developing anti-venoms, so when you think about it, snake milkers are actually heroes. 


5. Storm Chaser

5. Storm Chaser

Photo: Daniel Rodriguez

Qualifications: Meteorology Background

Salary Range: $ 45,000-132,000 a year


Like the snake milking job, this job actually requires a passion or interest in... things that can potentially kill you. But to be more accurate, you just need to be interested in doing crazy things so that other people don’t have to. Storm chasers put themselves in danger so that they can study the behaviour of storms, hurricanes and tornadoes. Their job can potentially save the lives of millions. Say what you want about these “thrill seeking jobs” but in reality, they’re classified as odd jobs because it takes an incredible amount of courage to perform these tasks.


6. Theme Park Character

6. Theme Park Character

Photo: Qsimple

Qualifications: Performance Art Background

Salary Range: $ 18,000–46,000 a year


There are several major theme parks now open all around the world. Disney World for example, can now be found in Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Universal Studios also has multiple theme parks open all over the U.S., in Japan and in Singapore. In all of these major theme parks and all the other theme parks in the world, you can expect to find an expat working as a character. So if you think you look particularly like an iconic Hollywood star or you just have a passion for performing and you long to travel the globe, why don’t you go ahead and audition for a part as an entertainer in the major theme parks around the world.


7. Stunt Tester

7. Stunt Tester

Photo: Hector Alejandro

Qualifications: Strong Stomach

Salary Range: $ 39,000–115,000


There are many reality T.V. shows in demand nowadays. Survivor and The Amazing Race are just a few examples of shows that sometimes have very demanding tasks for their participants. They of course have a great professional team of researchers and stunt men and women who have already made sure that all the things that they ask their contestants to do on the show are safe. The perks of this job is that you always get to go on location (mostly ahead of time) research and sample all these stunts as you also immerse yourself with the cultural heritage that the stunt embodies.


8. Golf Ball Diver

8. Golf Ball Diver

Photo: Ben Thompson

Qualifications: Really Good Diving Skills

Salary Range: $ 30,000–90,000 a year


Golf courses and resorts all over the world pay a lot for companies or skilled individuals to dive in the golf pond or nearby water areas to recover and replenish golf balls so they can be used again.  Golf ball divers are sent by their companies as expats to different resorts and golf courses in the world and they get to dive for golf balls in different types of open water spaces — it also pays ridiculously well! Golf ball divers may not have as much fun as the water slide tester guys, but they do get the same kind of excitement, plus I bet they have a genuine explorer moment when they do manage to find and retrieve golf balls.


9. Cryptozoologist

9. Cryptozoologist

Photo: Lars Plougmann

Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Biology or Zoology

Salary Range: $ 36,000-93,000 a year


This is yet another childhood dream job on this list. Cryptozoologists are pseudo-scientists who are researching and studying creatures whose existence is not yetproven. Like the Lochness Monster, Bigfoot, Yeti, Phantom Cats, Chupacabra etc. It does pay a lot and you get to run around the world, plus you get to do field research and interviews to chase the myths of unproven animals and creatures. If you’re really into adventure and mythology, then maybe this is what you should be doing.


10. Cow Inseminator

10. Cow Inseminator

Photo: Sander van der Wel

Qualifcations: Experience with Dairy Production, Bachelors Degree in Science

Salary Range: $ 30,000–50,000


A cow inseminator is basically someone who deposits bull semen into cows to get them pregnant with the best possible DNA match. Yes, you stick your hands inside a cow’s privates with bull semen to make sure they produce the best possible meat for offspring. It may sound unpleasant, but there are a lot of opportunities that await acow inseminator. There are many multinational food companies that employ cow inseminators and deploy them all over the world to ensure the best DNA match for cattle, and it certainly is an interesting job for people who love the farm.




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