Globalization has enabled people to leave their home countries, move around, study and find new jobs abroad, and create new lives. Any expat situated anywhere in the world will tell you that there are countless benefits to working abroad, both professional and personal in nature. There are many expats living in almost every country in the world and most are so happy with their decision, they would not consider moving back to their home countries.
Are you a recent graduate and can’t find a job in your home country? Or are you perhaps considering that long-overdue career change you’ve been putting off? Maybe you’re simply looking for a new adventure in completely new surroundings? If you answered ‘Yes!’ to any of these questions, now might be the perfect time to look into considering a new job opportunity abroad. New year, new beginnings!
Sure, moving to a new country for a new job can have its challenges, but the long-term benefits to your life are priceless.
Here are 4 reasons you should consider working abroad as an expat:
1. Numerous Professional and Financial Benefits and Opportunity for Personal Growth
Let’s forget about the professional and financial benefits for a moment. The richness of your experience working as an expat abroad also contributes to personal growth. Working abroad in a completely new country develops your confidence, self-reliance, and independence. You become accustomed to taking risks (as you did when you made your decision to work abroad), and can therefore succeed in diverse and challenging working conditions by successfully drawing upon a wide range of experiences. Let’s not forget the most important of them all: adaptability. Your expat experience inextricably molds you and requires you to be as flexible as possible towards diverse work atmospheres, international business customs, languages, people, environments, and experiences.
Expats find that there are several professional benefits to working abroad as well.On several expat assignments, you get to work in a field or project you wouldn’t have been able to explore in your home country otherwise.Just by agreeing to work abroad for your company, you instantly become a more valuable employee on the grounds that you are willing to take risks.In subsequent job searches, you would naturally have a competitive edge over others in your demographic group in your home country.The fact that you had the courage to go and work abroad in a completely new country means that you have an excellent sense of initiative and flexibility.Future employers like this, that nothing can stop you, as it shows that you would have the same attitude towards your job or towards an important project. This perceived advantage equals advanced future career benefits.You are also seen as an out of the box thinker as you were exposed to different cultural business perspectives and practices, and through your experiences, bring innovative ideas and perspectives to the table than other candidates.Having worked abroad opens more doors for you in terms of career changes.By working abroad, you have learned new working styles and have built international networks which other companies appreciate.Companies everywhere are looking for professionals who not only have excellent intercultural skills, but also have a global perspective.
In most expat situations, financial benefits and perks are a given. Expats almost always have a higher income in their host country than in their home country, and usually have relocation costs, housing and accommodation, health insurance, and transportation paid for by the companies they work for.
Bottom line, by working abroad as an expat, you expose yourself to new paths. For example, maybe you know how to do something that you previously thought you couldn’t? Perhaps you found a new passion for a new topic or field you would like to explore? Maybe you got in touch with your entrepreneurial side and had a million dollar idea and would like to launch it? The possibilities are limitless!
2. Opportunity to Learn New Languages or Hone Existing Language Skills
Living and working in another country allows you to meet locals and other expats from other countries, multiplying the opportunities for you to learn another language. Do make it a point to learn a few words or phrases from each language you come across, including the local language. Feeling more courageous? Take a formal language course and learn how to speak your desired language fluently! You never know when your language skills will come in handy: knowing a few words in a certain language has the power to positively change a business relationship and you might just seal that important business deal! I cannot stress this opportunity enough! Expat communities are so diverse, you will learn something from everyone.
3. Chance to Build a Global Network of Friends, Professional Contacts, and Acquaintances
When working abroad, you naturally meet people from different countries and cultures. Did you know that in the UAE, Dubai’s expat population represents 85% of the local population? That means there are so many opportunities to learn something new from each person you meet in a professional or personal context. One person might teach you a new way of approaching a business task, another might teach you a few phrases in their own language, or introduce you to a new hobby. Keep in touch with everyone you meet, and don’t forget to mingle with the locals! You never know who you can meet up with in a completely new country or who can help you get that new job in your dream company a few years down the line. You can learn so much about a culture and how to think with a global perspective from your global network of friends, professional contacts, and acquaintances.
Bottom line, make an effort to meet people during your time spent working abroad. Engage with locals, join expat groups, join workshops and classes, and keep an open mind! Expats are often the ones with the most lasting and meaningful friendships and relationships. And look at it this way, you probably have a friend in every country you visit from now on! Rich cultural exchanges with others occur while working abroad and you will learn many things from those you meet in your new country.
4. Possibility to Travel and Discover the Beauty of the World
This is probably one of the benefits of working abroad that most expats really appreciate! Most expats love to travel in their free time in order to discover other cultures, their customs and traditions, and to broaden their global perspectives. Why? You might have heard the phrase “one must travel in order for life not to escape them” — this is very true. Life is too short, so enjoy every moment life graces you with. That said, expat populations in some countries are so large that expat communities have created travel groups that travel together to surrounding countries during weekends and national holidays. Travel has become so much easier, allowing you to discover the countries and regions around you.
Convinced that working abroad is the correct decision for you? Great! Being an expat is a different way of life. All expats, including myself, have not regretted their decisions to move, study, and work abroad.If working abroad is your objective, you must take calculated steps several months ahead of your move.Don’t forget to do your research, and sort all visa and financial issues before making the life-altering decision to work abroad.
According to a survey by HSBC Expat, Switzerland, Singapore, and China led the top destinations for expats in 2014. Which country will be your destination in 2015?
Have you ever made the decision to accept a job offer abroad? What were your personal benefits of working abroad? What challenges have you faced as an expat? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!