5 Tips for Working and Living Abroad

Andrew Deen

Andrew Deen

Consultant
Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.
Andrew Deen

@AndrewDeen14

Consultant. Speaker. Writer. Discovering new stories in business, health, criminal justice & sports. Always look for an iced coffee in hand.
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Working and living abroad gives people new opportunities and is a great way to see other areas of the world and learn through travel. Some people may gain this experience through study abroad programs. Others may take advantage of work opportunities abroad to learn about new cultures and experiences.

Although it can be frightening to leave your home country and regular routine, travel gives people wonderful opportunities to grow, develop and strengthen both business and interpersonal skills. Because many college students don’t fare well at managing and saving money – with 58-percent saving nothing at all – working abroad is a great way for people to travel and be able to explore other parts of the world.

It’s becoming more popular with younger generations to want to join a big company so that they can go abroad and expand their horizons. However, you should know these tips before you choose to live and work overseas:

Tip 1: Check Your Passport and Visitor Rights

Make sure that your passport is valid and won’t expire. Every country has a unique visa policy. Be sure to ask the right questions and know how your visa is being handled. Also, unless you have a family lawyer, it’s important to read the fine print of the visa application. It’s also important to know if the company that you intend to work for is paying for housing and other details.

Tip 2: Know Your Value and Unique Skill Set

You will surely have unique skills and a different educational background compared to others in foreign countries. Consider your strengths and what you bring to the table and utilize these skills in your job abroad to create other opportunities.

Additionally, make sure that you know if your qualifications are valid in the country where you plan to take a working holiday. If you’re unsure, it’s important to research this and possibly gain more experience before your departure.  Being less than forthcoming on your application can ultimately result in the cancellation of your visa.

Tip 3: Consider the Best Place to Go and Why

Countries and cultures are different all around the world. If you get to choose, think about and research where you may want to go and where you will feel comfortable. For example, if you choose to explore Italy because you enjoy art, you must be prepared to speak Italian. English is not always the language of choice. Whether your company helps you to relocate or whether you go for other reasons, know why you’re choosing a particular destination and what you stand to gain from the experience.

Tip 4:  Network All the Time

Today, it’s easy enough to network with professionals around the world with just a few clicks. However, these virtual connections do not come with the depth and quality of professional relationships that start out with a face-to-face connection. Making an in-person business connection allows you to build a greater deal of trust than you could through online networking.

Even though your new international connections may live far away, they could one day become influential leaders. This could play out well for you if those connections can somehow influence decisions that could boost your career.

Tip 5: Expand What You Know Through Learning

Take the initiative to soak up the culture, understand the people and learn what it’s like to live in another country. Make living abroad and educational and memorable experience.

You could choose to learn something obvious, such as the local language, or something more substantial, such as skills that are specific to your profession like international regulations, policies or processes. A working holiday is an excellent way to expand your professional learning and development. While immersing yourself in a culture that doesn’t speak your native tongue is challenging, the experience is considerably rewarding.

Bonus Tip: Be Digitally Savvy and Safe

Always be aware of the culture of new countries, what’s expected and how to survive. Make sure that your electronics are functioning, you have the right apps and the right connectors to use the power supply in the country where you intend to travel.

Be sure to stay safe and think smart. Traveling to a new country is fun. However, it’s important to consider how to live well and remain safe while you’re there. For instance, make sure that you delete any unnecessary personal documents from your electronic devices and secure them with passwords.

Working holidays are an opportunity to experience many things and meet different people. The experience will result in lifelong memories and, possibly, long-lasting personal and professional relationships.

Analysts forecast that there will be a sharp increase in the number of international assignments over the next half-decade. Professionals who pursue work holidays will position themselves for these opportunities with international experience and enhanced skill sets.

Just having overseas experience on your resume could boost your career. In fact, forecast some business experts, overseas business experience could become a new hiring benchmark for employers who are in search of strong potential leaders.