Travelling overseas is something most of us love doing, it’s a multi billion dollar industry and for good reason. But the lure of going overseas extensively (or even permanently) is something that many people have contemplated and done. But is it worth it?

There are many arguments for and against and always a good subject for job seekers to contemplate.

Advantages

  • Cultural growth – How great is it to learn about other cultures by being there? Being exposed to new things, new ideas, new ways of working can be invaluable to our personal and professional growth.
  • Experience – Working in a different environment/technology can give you exposure to things that may be seen asvery valuable back in your home country if/when you decide to return
  • Learning languages – Ok you might not become fluent but it’s great to at least navigate your way around a city or shopping mall in the local language, right?
  • Travel – Being in another country gives you proximity to other new countries, especially in a region like SE Asia or Europe. Makes for great long weekends!

Things to consider

  • Missing home/family – the culture shock can hit many of us hard, so much so that many abruptly return home. One expat from the UK told me the expression “ping pong poms” i.e. Those that come to Australia, dislike it and abruptly leave to go home, only to find they’re unhappy there too and come back again anyway. The transition can be taxing.
  • Cultural shock – Working overseas in different customs can be very challenging and it can be a tough learning process. In SE Asia for example, yelling and frustration openly expressed can cause extreme embarrassment for you and all around you. Many successful managers in their own countries have left Asia because they couldn’t manage staff properly.
  • Work permits and visas – These can be a big challenge and very expensive. Do your research and get local to assistance.
  • Safety – Working in a remote area overseas can bring its challenges and safety is key. Foreigners often don’t understand the dangers not only from crime but health risks as well, especially in developing nations. Make sure to do your own research.

If you are offered the opportunity and/or are looking for that overseas challenge, what are some tips to make it work?

  1. GO THERE  BEFOREHAND – visit the town/city and stay for a week. Check it all out. Speak to expats living there. Google everything. Eat the food. Speak to the locals.  The few thousand dollars you spend on a trip could save you much more money and heartache in the future.
  2. Research your employer – Are they a reputable company? What’s their turnover like? What are the managers like? Meet them first BEFORE you accept the offer.
  3. Sovereign Risk – is your country of choice safe? Is the political system stable? Are there any risks to expatriates in the country?
  4. Return home plan – Will you be able to come back ok? Will it add value to your resume? Will the transition back to Australia be smooth and employers interested in your experience?

Like anything, changing jobs or moving countries can be a life impacting thing. Doing it together is much more so, so do your research, talk to people and weigh up all the pros and cons.


Good luck! 🙂

Carlos Principe

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