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Hi guys,

I am curious to know if anyone here is using, or has used surveying as a tool to move abroad and perhaps see the world a little.

I would like to live in a number of different countries, and likely not all of them but I'd like the chance to live in one or more of the following, preferably for a reasonable period of time, not just months at a time:

- The U.S

- Asia

- Europe

- Canada

Has anyone here ever successfully done this before? (What were your challenges and things that you'd do differently)

Is there anything anyone can recommend in terms of their particular region? (How to find a job, best avenue of approaching and cold calling surveying firms looking for work etc)

Did any of your drafting or GIS skills come into use on a freelance/contract basis either locally or via the internet on sites like www.upwork.com ?

Would only being able to speak English be a major problem?

I am currently at an associate level as a surveyor. I have nearly 5 years experience with a wide range of equipment and jobs, including As-con, cadastral, engineering, total station, RTK, levelling etc. I have experience with GIS software, AutoCAD, CvilCAD and 12d.

Money is not a huge problem, meaning, I don't expect to come home rich (if at all) but I'd certainly like to be living a reasonable life.

I realise this is a pretty broad topic, but I am very interested to hear everyone's opinion and ideas and whether anyone has done it before. I hope this is something other people are interested in too.

Thanks guys,


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  • Seeking Employment
    Hello Paul. U are lucky be positive. Take the opportunity. Visit Kenya too. Wish u well
  • Here you go Paul, this is a little more on the man and his company good luck.


    • Land Surveyor

      Whoa! What a post!!

      Thanks very much for all the effort, Billy!

      You sure have lived one of lives that a lot of young surveyors dream about! Some of it quite tough work by the look of it!!

      I will check out all those links! Thanks again guys.

      Also: I am curious to know from the business owners why they would or would not be interested in hiring from Australia. Has anyone done it in the past and had issues with international staff coming to grips with the basics like the local map projections and imperial vs. metric system etc.

  • Hi Paul , i will tell you this story,I have known many people to go to work for to company. Many like me quit because they  wanted to stop traveling. Back when i started my surveying career, i started working in the Florida swamps, we used swamp buggy that floated on water and had to build wooden platforms between trees to set the instruments on. My feet stay wet all day not to mention the dangers in a Florida  swamps, you could make a Tarzan movie,One day a friend of mine called me and said i need you to come to work on the Mississippi river, you will work from Memphis  to New Orleans  on a Potamology crew, this is what it pays and all expenses paid per day .do you want the job, great i live free and get paid to, and get to work on the largest river in the USA and maybe my feet will get dry sometimes, remember this is a river. So i took the job, this company was Michael Baker JR. I had never heard of them. when i reported to work the crew had a car and two trucks and a 30ft river boat on a trailer with 2 85 horse mercury outboards.and there was five more people. and on their doors i saw the logo for the first time , Michael Baker JR. We Traverse the Earth, a transit sitting on top of the world. I told myself, who on earth have i went to work for. This was in 1973,then they were one of the biggest Survey / Engineer Companies in the World,  For the next five years i spent 6 to 7 days a week working for this company in that time they wanted to ship me all over the world to Alaska pipe line, to Brazil,Saudi Arabia,Virginia US, Canada, South Pacific Islands, New Zealand,Chile and the list goes on. it was a hard  and difficult  to not to keep this up. But my mother became sick and i elected to stay closer to her and take a job closer to home. At this time MBJ was around 2000 surveyors and 1000 other personell working for this company, it was started in 1940, I worked most of my time at the Vicksburg Dist.of the corps of ENG. in case you didn't know this is the US Army. This company had more than 90 % of the contact work for the army in this dist, this is many survey crews.there are many rules and regulations when you work for the Army. Today this company is still very large and still works all over the world. they have more than 6000 employees  and 90 offices that are in 38 countries and 5 continents .I made many friends when i was there, and later in life one of my mentors had also worked for them long before me all over the world. He and i made a trip to one of their reunion meetings and saw old friends we had worked with years before. After that they asked me to come back to work for them, but i turned them down, i was to old for that again. If you are lucky go to work for a company like this yes this ? you ask will be apart of your life.In today's competitive world, going to work for them may not be as easy as it was for me. but i wish you all the luck so contact them if you like they may have something close to you and need your help in that area down under because they Traverse the Earth. they are now Michael Baker International.




  • Land Surveyor

    Oh, and I didn't mention that I am from Australia.

    Thanks for the reply guys. I appreciate it.

    I'm looking forward to as many opinions/experiences as I can find!!

  • GeoEducator

    I worked two overseas jobs. The first was a USAID project in Egypt (1990-1995.) The second (1997-2001) was running a survey department for an Indonesian construction company in oil fields on the island of Sumatra. I see that John recommended a list of companies. I would add Bechtel to that list  I worked for them in the US only, but some of my co-workers got overseas positions with them. 

  • Land Surveyor
    My advice would be to get a really well written resume completed. Then start checking sites like KBR, Turner Industries Group, Cajun Constructors, Jacob's, CB&I etc etc. Once you get your foot in the door at one of these places a lot of doors will open. Start networking with the surveyors that you meet. Get their number and give them yours. Whenever you hear about a job opening, call and let them know and ask them to do the same.

    As long as your English is good you should be fine from what I hear. Just ask your potential employer if only speaking English is a problem. Taking the time to learn another language or two can't hurt either.
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