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Jobs in Texas?

July 1, 2015

Q. Hi Nick,

This website has been very helpful and I am going to buy your book to get even more insight. I am new to the international development world and am trying to get my foot in the door. My biggest struggle right now is that I cannot relocate. I live in Dallas, Texas. I have been looking for a career position that is based in TX but where I could still travel internationally for aid relief throughout the year. It seems that all organizations that have a home office in the United States are based in Washington DC. I am looking for something like project management where I could work on clean water projects, food aid, etc in the developing countries but work mostly out of Texas. Do you know any organizations like this in Texas? Any advice for me on how to get my foot in the door? Thank you!

A. Hi Jenni,

Thank you – glad you liked the site!

First off – you are right that many aid organizations in the US have their headquarters in Washington DC, but there are also lots that don’t. IRC, CRS, CARE, Mercy Corps, IMC, and World Vision spring to mind immediately (although it’s certainly true that they have representational offices in DC as well). The reason for the DC thing is ease of access to the US federal government, where most of the money for international aid comes from.

Second – Unfortunately you don’t mention what kind of skills, and experience you have, so I don’t know how realistic your goal of working on water and food aid projects are. Most of the people who are technical advisors or evaluators based in the US with travel are people with years of experience who can go and give advice to those based in field locations. That kind of consulting arrangement is rare for people without impressive resumes.

My advice would be, honestly, that if you don’t want to live and work overseas for years at a time, you should seriously consider whether this is the career for you. In most organizations its very hard to get promoted without those years of field experience.

There are a lot of ways to have impact on important issues in Texas – one thing that springs to mind is that the IRC has a substantial program helping refugees arriving in the US to settle and integrate. If I were working with you as a career counsellor I would ask you to unpack what about the situation that you describe really inspires you, and think about ways to get that outside of international relief. Trying to square the circle of living in Texas and getting your foot in the door may not be a good idea.

Good luck, and let us know how you do,


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Matthew van der Wegen permalink
    July 7, 2015 10:26 pm

    Hi Nick,

    I’m a Canadian, graduated University with a business degree, specialized in finance and minored in mathematics. For the past 8 years I have predominately worked office jobs. I have lived and worked in both Europe and Asia and can speak basic Dutch and Japanese. I’m comfortable working internationally, and look at the world’s condition and feel the desire to work for the UN. I would like to help develop and build refugee camps. The UN is a large organization to toggle through. Can you please grant me guidance as to what types of positions are available to a person like myself, and how can I effectively apply for these positions?

    Thank you,
    Matthew van der Wegen

  2. Tiba Fatli permalink
    August 28, 2015 2:46 pm

    Dear Nick,

    Thank you for all of the information you have provided. I am a recent college graduate who is looking to work in refugee camps, specially in legal protection. I am a recent refugee to the US and have work in international development in East Africa. I know that I need a law degree to obtain a job in refugee legal protection, however, I would like to gain some experience now in that area. I have applied for internship/job positions at the IRC and U.S. Committee for Refugee and Immigrants. I speak two languages and I have lived in developing countries for the majority of my life.
    The problem is that I have not heard back from any of the organizations I have applied to. What do you suggest I do? Do you have any suggestion on where else I should apply?

    Thank you,


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