The Professional Benefits of Becoming an Expat
There are many reasons people move abroad: to study, for a better life, for love or for an adventure. But it is also a must-do if you’re looking to improve your CV and give yourself an edge professionally.
Whether you are moving to work for an international firm, teach English or start up something yourself, here are just some of the professional benefits spending time as an expat brings with it.
Developing language skills
Given a second (or third or fourth!) language is one of the most desired skills by employers in today’s competitive market, gaining skills in this area can be hugely beneficial to your career. And as one of the best way to learn a language is via total immersion, spending some time abroad will help you get there faster.
Even if you can’t master fluency, having the nous and desire to even attempt learning another language will always give you a plus sign in an employer’s eyes.
Learning to flourish outside your comfort zone
In a perfect world every office day would run smoothly and to schedule, but in the real world this isn’t the case. In fact, one of the greatest professional skills you can possess is being able to perform under times of pressure and confusion. Nothing prepares you better for that than working in an environment when even basic communication with your colleagues can be a struggle due to cultural, language or time-zone differences.
No matter how developed your new home country is, there will always be unfamiliar situations that can cause discomfort, being able to overcome these trials will vastly improve your professional capacity.
Improved networking skills
When you’re new to a city, you quickly learn to ditch any preconceptions of social awkwardness surrounding meeting new people. And while making small talk and forming long lasting relationships with new contacts soon becomes a force of habit and necessity socially, these are also highly valuable professional skills which will last a lifetime.
New outlook on life
Studies show that, as you’d expect, people with international experience get used to applying and understanding different perspectives on standard concepts. Not only has this been found to help increase creativity, it also helps empathy and problem solving as you can use your new logic to tackle previously complex situations.
Unexpected doors suddenly open
In just a few months of expat-ing, I’ve heard the most incredible professional stories. So far I’ve met a man who runs a safari in Mozambique on a laptop from Thailand, a successful cooking school owner who met his business partner in a bar and a whole host of digital nomads who would struggle to survive running a start up in the West. Moving abroad can seem like a big leap, but once you’ve made it there are huge opportunities to be had, certainly nothing you were told about at school.