Living abroad for a year for a new job or a work transfer is a major decision that will affect your life in a lot of ways - most positive, don’t worry. Before you make this big move abroad for work, though, it’s important to consider whether or not it is right for you.
Reasons to move abroad for a year
If you haven’t already set your mind to moving abroad for work, take a look at some of the more positive aspects to consider when you move abroad for a year.
You will have a chance to add experience working abroad to your CV, which will improve your career prospects and demonstrate initiative and willingness to go outside of your comfort zone.
It will help you to become more independent and learn to take care of yourself, even more so than you might be already.
You will get to live and work in another country, giving you the opportunity to learn about a culture that is different than yours.
It will open up your mind in an entirely new way and everything will be an adventure, even grocery shopping!
You will make new friends from your chosen country, as well as traveller friends from other the world. These connections could turn into lifelong friendships.
You will learn a lot of skills from your job that will benefit you in your career and in your future life.
You’ll have a chance to travel the country you have chosen, as well as visiting other neighbouring countries, and fulfil your travel goals.
If you learn another language when you are living abroad, this will be a huge advantage for your future and will make you more employable.
Cons to moving abroad for a year
The other side of the coin to moving overseas for a year may be daunting, but there are ways to cope with the cons of living abroad.
You will be spending a year away from friends, family, and loved ones. You will miss out on Christmas and other holidays, birthdays, and special moments.
Solution: There are many ways to keep in touch: download Skype and have video calls to catch up every now and then. Wake up early/stay up late so you don’t miss those important moments, and make sure to document your time abroad so that your friends and family feel like they’re there with you, too.
If your chosen country requires you to learn a language it can be challenging and frustrating at times.
Solution: Find a local friend who can tutor you, or download a language learning app like Duolingo to get the basics down quickly. Learning before you go is always recommended, but don’t be discouraged if you have no time to practice until you arrive. As long as you make an effort, it will be respected and people will be willing to help you grow your vocabulary.
If you have an apartment or valuable possessions at home that you can’t bring with you, you might need to either sell them, give them away, or store them for a year.
Solution: Let your friends borrow your possessions while you are away so that they are not collecting dust. For example, bicycles, sports equipment, art supplies, even clothes can be looked after while you’re away if you don’t plan on bringing them with you.
You might go through times of feeling homesick and lonely, especially in the beginning before you form a group of friends.
Solution: Try to join as many activities and clubs as you can to give yourself opportunities to meet new people. There will be others with the same interests as you!
Living abroad can be expensive, especially with the cost of flights, visas, and getting yourself set up abroad, especially if your employer is not contributing to your relocation costs.
Solution: Start saving up your moving fund early and save more than you think you’ll need. Research the best flight routes to get yourself abroad, set up price alerts, signup to expat forums, and make sure you know all the major costs beforehand so there are no surprises for you and your bank account.
You might experience culture shock and find it difficult to live somewhere you don’t fit in.
Solution:: Don’t expect things to be just like home, and come with no expectations but to learn and engage in a new culture. You can indulge in your favourite familiar foods, TV shows, movies, and other pleasures whenever you feel homesick.
Not every employer back home will “get it” and might see your year abroad as frivolous and not understand that you learned something valuable from it.
Solution: Express it clearly on your CV/resume and ask for a letter of reference from your employer abroad. After that, if they are still skeptical, perhaps that workplace isn’t the best fit for you.
To work abroad or not to work abroad
There is no right or wrong answer. It’s up to you to determine which path excites you the most and will give you the best possible experience.
Working abroad is becoming increasingly popular, so you are not alone in your decision. There are plenty of resources and people to consult. If you’re stuck and are ready to flip a coin or ask a Magic 8 ball, answer this question first: why not?