Many of us dream about working abroad. For some it evokes images of a life of glamour and excitement, others just long to escape dreary commutes and long cold winters.
In reality living overseas can mean exchanging one set of problems for another. There may be visa issues, language barriers and the pain of being separated from family.
But there are huge rewards too. There’s the chance to experience a totally fresh culture, the opportunity to travel in a different country and make new friends. If you’re toying with the idea of upping sticks and leaving home, here are 5 reasons to go for it.
1. To enhance your career
Moving abroad might enhance your career, Copyright CC User Paolo Margari on Flickr
Whether you’re stuck at a certain level within an existing job or are just starting out on your career, the experience of working in a different place can be a valuable one. It introduces you to new markets, alternative working practices and management priorities. You will be forced to adapt and operate outside your comfort zone. These can all be highly valuable when you return home – either to your current company or to add to a c.v. There’s no such thing as too much experience. Working and living abroad will enhance not just your life but your prospects too.
2. Better quality of life
Sick of your long daily commute? Copyright CC User Paul Appleyard on Flickr
Many people choose to work overseas because they seek a different lifestyle. This might involve moving to a country where they are able to afford better accommodation and a greater range of social and leisure activities. That, of course, relies on moving to a place with a lower cost of living than their home whilst continuing to achieve a similar salary.
Others feel they are willing to sacrifice material benefits for the opportunity to spend more time with their family, or to be able to devote greater hours to non-work activities. Or indeed, they might be moving to an area that sustains or enhances one of their passions, be it climbing or diving. This might mean living on a substantially less income to achieve a dream.
Only you can decide what really matters most to you. Trying to live someone else’s life is frustrating and can be depressing.
3. To be more appreciated
Teachers are in high demand in certain countries, Copyright CC User Frontierofficial on Flickr
You might find that your skillset is in greater demand overseas than it is at home. Whether you are struggling to find a job in your current country or are just feeling undervalued, research locations that might be actively recruiting in your area of specialism. Use social media, conferences and contacts to reach out and test what might be on offer.
Much depends on what you do and where you want to live abroad but, according to some reports nurses, doctors, psychologists, teachers, IT developers, accountants and dentists are in high demand in certain countries.
Not only might you find a better job abroad but the experience you gain may also help you improve your job prospects when you return home.
4. To experience a different culture
Street life in Vietnam, Copyright CC User KPluto on Flickr
This is a significant factor in people deciding they want a change. Moving abroad allows you to interact with people from a completely different part of the world and to learn about a different culture by being immersed in it.
There will undoubtedly be challenges – you can guarantee that you will have your original perceptions about a place challenged. You may even be disappointed in some ways. Try to keep an open mind about what you might find.
5. Because you might regret it if you don’t
If you’ve just left college or university, you’ve probably got student debts and are wondering if now is the time to seek work abroad or just hunker down at home and try to reduce your loans. These are good things to consider. But, if you delay, will you ever have such a great opportunity to travel again? Once you’ve embarked on a career it can be harder to put it ‘on hold’ for a while, whereas a stint overseas early on can be a good foundation to build on. As you get older you tend to gain more responsibilities, be it children, mortgages or caring for relatives. These factors too can put up a barrier to moving away.
Likewise, if you’re in a job that is not great, but not that bad either, it can be hard to reach a crunch point, that ‘deciding moment’ when you think ‘this is the time, let’s do it’. However, in the words of a very worn cliché, we don’t usually regret the things we’ve done but the things we haven’t done in life.
There’s probably never going to be the ‘ideal’ time to move overseas, there will always be factors weighing on the side of the ‘known’ life at home, but do you really want to be that person who looks back on their life with regrets, knowing that they had the opportunity to work overseas and let it pass them by?
This is written b
y Alex Bradbeer, the creator and author of Finding The Freedom, an adventure travel blog focused on adventure and crazy off the beaten path destinations.