How Living Abroad Can Change Your Career Path
Posted April 26, 2018, by Daniel Ross
The idea of working abroad for the first time can bring up ambivalent feelings. On one hand, it’s exciting. On the other, it can be intimidating. Cultures vary drastically around the world, but the more foreign the culture, the more life-changing the experience can be.
The contrast from your normal culture and working conditions could be very educational; character building, some might say. People have many reasons for wanting to go and work abroad. Sometimes it’s adventure. Sometimes it’s curiosity. Sometimes the motivation is financial, and sometimes it’s a necessity.
Whatever your reason for working abroad, there are benefits that you may not yet be aware of:
Living Abroad Boosts Your Confidence
If you’ve only ever experienced your home country – in a working capacity, at least – you’ve probably followed your cultural rules without a second thought. When landing in a new country, even if the position itself is familiar, the company, staff and culture will probably operate quite differently.
Although this can be confusing or daunting at first, once you become accustomed to new ways of living, you start to see that you would function just fine in most countries. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
When you’ve made new friends and discovered new ways of living and working, you understand how rapid expansion can happen. This helps you to aim higher and to take on bigger challenges in the future – with genuine confidence.
Your Networks Grow Rapidly
Once you have established yourself in a new country, possibilities for future career growth start to open up. Not only will you have new skills and experiences under your belt, but you will also get to know many more people – inside and outside of your organisation.
These contacts will know other people who may be beneficial to your career path in the future. Even if you don’t plan to stick around in that country for an extended period, doors will be much more likely to open for you at a later date.
Similarly, the experience you gain abroad will be attractive to employers in your home country if you should decide to seek work there later.
Your CV Will Be More Attractive
Foreign work experience is a benefit to any CV. It tells prospective employers that you’re someone who isn’t afraid to take on new challenges. They will know that you’re happy to take the bull by the horns and venture out into the unknown… and when you amass some good references, they’ll know you succeeded at this.
Every company values employees who are confident and curious. These qualities are assets because they mean that you’ll probably be prepared to go the extra mile. If you’ve worked abroad, you’re likely to have good problem solving and interpersonal skills.
Those who travel - for work or otherwise - tend to develop patience and open-mindedness. All of these qualities are implied when you’ve got foreign work experience on your CV.
Improve Your Language Skills
Dependent on the country you’re going to work in, it’s possible that you’ll need to learn a new language. Although this doesn’t come easy to everyone, the more time you spend abroad, the easier it gets. You’re listening to people speaking in their mother tongue day in, day out. Eventually, you’ll become familiar with it.
Speaking another language is valuable. You may never do much with it, but then again, who knows? You might even become a translator or teacher one day. At the very least, it will make your time abroad easier, and it will be attractive to future employers.
You’re more likely to achieve career progression in your chosen country too. If you decided to do a TESOL (Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages) qualification, you can teach the English language within that country, which is another great work opportunity.
Tips For Working Abroad for the First Time
Get Prepared Well in Advance
One thing to keep in mind is that foreign countries can bring up foreign issues. There’s no point in worrying unnecessarily, but it does make sense to be prepared. Do some research on that country’s potential dangers; it could be a political crisis, dangerous weather conditions or tropical diseases.
It’s a good idea to invest in some decent travel insurance. You can never really predict what might happen to you, so covering yourself against adverse incidents is a good idea. Your personal conditions could be very specific, so check out a comparison of different insurance providers to find the best policy for you.
You should also prepare well in advance for immigration, making sure that you have the correct visas and any required work permits. There’s nothing worse than being turned away at the border due to an oversight! Lastly, find out how you’re going to manage your finances abroad. Will you need a local bank account? Or will it be more sensible for you to get yourself a digital bank account like Revolut offers?
Don't Waste Time
It’s easy to put working abroad off for a time when you feel more confident. Sure it can be a little scary, but the older you get, the more accustomed to your own culture you become. The younger you are, the more likely you are to embrace new experiences.
Similarly, when young, you are just starting out on your career path. At this point in time, your foreign travel will strengthen it. If you leave it too late, you may be immersed in a career and find it difficult to leave that path, even temporarily. It can feel like there is much more at stake.
If you don’t yet have a family or too many commitments, now is the time to go forth and gain these wonderful new experiences. We wouldn’t mind betting that you’ll never regret it.
Here are a few transportable careers that could see globe-trotting while earning some cash.
This article was produced for Career FAQs by guest blogger, Daniel Ross. Daniel is an experienced writer and is part of the marketing team at Roubler - an Australian scheduling and payroll software platform.