Last Updated on March 31, 2021
Whether you’re a recent graduate or a career-driven professional, working abroad can be a great way to gain valuable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Not only will you be able to boost your resume with unique professional experiences, but you’ll also be able to travel and immerse yourself in new cultures.
Though moving abroad seems like a complicated process, many people don’t realize just how easy it can be to find a new international career. Plenty of job marketplaces, like Fusion Marketplace, are dedicated to helping professionals find jobs catering to a travel-friendly lifestyle. However, before you pack your bags and board your plane, make sure you’re prepared for the ups and downs of your new life, and avoid making rookie mistakes.
Do research your new home
Moving to a new place means learning new cultural norms and protocols. Showing up to your new home without doing any research can lead to unnecessary social blunders in the workplace. While making mistakes is understandable, knowing basic etiquette like how to greet people respectfully and properly address your colleagues and superiors can go a long way in making a great first impression. As you’re out in the world, you’ll also gain respect from the people you interact with by showing them the basic courtesy of respecting their culture.
Don’t wait to obtain your visa
Every country requires a work visa, and employers will not hire you without one. Luckily, if you’re employed in a long-term position, your employer will apply for the work visa on your behalf. However, for short-term work positions, you’ll need to apply on your own. Every country has different work visa requirements, so make sure to check with the embassy or consulate of the country you’ll be working in. However, it’s wise not to put off the application process. Obtaining a work visa can take much longer and require more documentation than other travel permits.
Do save up for your move
Relocation is an expensive process. Aside from plane tickets, you’ll need to designate money for an apartment deposit and furnishings with enough leftover as a safety net. Researching the cost of living for your new home is essential to budget correctly. Consider spending three to six months building a substantial nest egg before you pack your bags to move. While it might be difficult to be frugal for a few months, the financial safety you’ll have while moving will make it all worth it.
Don’t over-commit at work
Everyone wants to make an excellent first impression at a new job, and a job in a new country is no exception. However, it’s much worse to take on too many projects at a new job and fail than it is to know your limits and avoid over-committing. Remember, in addition to adjusting to a new job. You’re also learning new cultural norms and, in some cases, a language barrier. Agreeing to work on more projects than you can handle while also adapting to your new home will undoubtedly send stress levels skyrocketing. Your workplace will understand that you need time to acclimate.
Do seek out fellow ex-pats
Leaving home to work abroad is exciting and adventurous. However, it’s easy to feel homesick, and without a strong support network, it can be lonely, too. Seeking out other people who are also making their new homes in a new location can be reassuring. Not only can experienced ex-pats give tips and sound advice about living in your new country, but they can also provide a listening ear for your frustrations and fears. Many websites work to organize ex-pat meet-ups in any country, so a simple internet search can help you find some new friends.
Don’t close yourself off
It’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed as you move to a new place. After your first days at your new job, you might want to head home and spend a night in, re-charging. However, spending too much time alone will make you feel isolated after too long. If your co-workers ask you to go out for drinks after work or if you receive an invite to an event, make an effort to say yes. Of course, self-care and alone time are essential to everyone’s mental health, but find a balance between personal space and making connections.
The bottom line
Working abroad is a significant decision, so making adequate preparations for your big move is vital for a successful experience in a new place. Be patient with yourself as you navigate a new culture. Conducting research and asking your new co-workers questions can always be helpful to learn about your new home. Done right, working abroad can be an enriching and life-changing experience, so don’t miss out on growth opportunities by making avoidable mistakes.