Many college students cultivate the fantasy of working overseas with nothing but the clothes on their back, boundless curiosity, and ambition. In reality, however, you’ll need more than ambition and curiosity to secure and keep a job abroad. Working overseas has a lot of benefits, but there are pitfalls as well. Here’s what you need to know before you decide if an international job is for you.
Why Work Overseas?
Why would you want to take your career international? There are plenty of good reasons to consider and here is why:
Independence. Going abroad means leaving behind the traditional ties of home, so goodbye to your family and your close friends. While communications technology makes it easier than ever to keep in touch, you’ll still be on your own much of the time and branching out to new life experiences.
Experience. Getting far out of your comfort zones means you’ll have new and unique experiences that more traditional career routes may not offer. Not only will this be an enriching experience personally, it will also help you stand out from the crowd when it comes to resumes and interviews.
Education. As the saying goes, there are certain things you just can’t learn in the classroom. Acquainting yourself with an entirely different set of cultural nuances, languages, traditions, and living habits will teach you things you’ll never get from a course or a book â€” things you may be able to leverage into career advantages later in life.
Freedom. While you’ll still face challenges, responsibilities, and problems working abroad, taking a job overseas means taking charge of your life and choosing your own path. Once you learn that you can literally go anywhere and make a new life for yourself, there may be no limit to what you can do.
What kind of jobs can you get overseas? The most common by far is teaching English in other countries, either formally or informally. There is a wide variety of consulting and contracting work available, depending on one’s skills and range of experience.
Most students, or former students just out of college, are likely to pursue some of the more entry-level jobs, working in tourism or entertainment. Hotels, resorts, theme parks, and touring companies frequently employ foreign workers. Many opportunities are available only to students, as part of work-exchange or similar programs, and students generally have fewer family ties and obligations, making them more appealing as employees.
A Vital To-Do-List
Before you decide to pack up your possessions and go abroad, however, make sure you’re ready:
â€¢ Figure out your destination. In which country would you like to work? What city? Do you know the language? Will you run into any other cultural barriers? Do your research first, not only into the broad cultural strokes, but things like transportation, medical facilities, and banking arrangements.
â€¢ Sort out your passport, travel visa and citizenship for both your home and your destination. Find out if there are any special requirements you will need to meet to stay in the country, and how your taxes will be handled. If you have any property or a rental at home, make sure it’s looked after while you’re gone.
â€¢ Make sure your financial situation is well in hand. Make sure you have enough money not only to meet living expenses, but to meet any emergencies, including your job or living situation falling apart. The last thing you want is to be stranded in a foreign country without the means to get back. And watch that exchange rate!
â€¢ Consult a handy checklist like this on http://www.helpiammoving.com/moving_overseas/QuickChecklist.pdf and make sure you have everything in order before you depart on your adventure.
Jenny Ann is passionate about working internationally and the International Telegraph team inspired her to produce this article of guidance. She hopes this guide helps you on your international route forward.