In growing numbers, young Americans are finding jobs abroad.

Such wanderlust among the young is nothing new of course ; travel has traditionally been a means to let off steam after years of cramming for exams - a chance to see some sights, live out some romantic fantasies and pick up a cosmopolitan patina before going home to the serious business of life. The difference these days is that young people with degrees in business administration are leaving the U.S. not for pleasure or the burnishing of their education but for the serious business of life.

Others admit that U.S. jobs prospects are cramped. "There are about 12 million students in colleges across the country, and this economy cannot absorb all of them," says Michael Kahan, a political science professor at Brooklyn College.

The American itinerants come in several categories. Some have hired on with banks and consulting firms or the dwindling number of U.S. companies willing to post, and pay the expenses of, novices overseas. Some have gone to work directly for foreign businesses. Others originally went abroad for such conventional purposes as study, language teaching or subsidized social work and then found that their knowledge of English and of U.S. habits was a negotiable skill in the view of local employers. And a few set out to seize or create business opportunities in new markets.

Such optimism is comforting and, in a global perspective, almost certainly correct. National boundaries have become less important in the world's economies ; a job is a job, whether it be in Budapest, Buenos Aires or Birmingham, Alabama. Still, certain ancient human emotions have not yet adapted to the new realities. Some of the new expatriates tell of encountering resistance from their parents.

Time, September 19, 1995

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