Wish you were there? The truth about working abroad

Wish you were here? The truth about working abroad

So, the summer is upon us. The rain may have stopped, but you know it won’t last, and you’re starting to feel like there’s so much more to life than staring out of the window and wishing you were somewhere else. It’s time for a change… So why not consider working abroad?

It doesn’t matter what stage of your career you’re in, working overseas is always an option. We asked four people who’ve been there, done it and bought the novelty sombrero for their advice on taking the plunge and looking for jobs abroad:

The Teacher

Dmitri worked in a school in Japan for a year teaching English.

Why I did it: I’ve always been interested in seeing Asia, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.

How I did it: I applied for a working holiday visa, which allowed me to work in the country for up to one year. I learnt some basic Japanese, and I was ready.

Best things: Learning the language, making a difference

Worst things: Missing family and friends, children may make fun of you at first (luckily, you’re in charge…)

Remember: Everyone loves an accent. (You might not think you have one, but trust me, you’ll be a hero).

The Professional

Courtney is currently working for a recruitment company in Dubai

Why I did it: I really felt like I needed a change. After visiting Dubai on holiday, I decided I wanted to try living there full time.

How I did it: After deciding that I could do it financially, I applied for a few jobs through reed.co.uk, interviewed for the position and got the job.

Best things: The lifestyle, the beach, the property (prices are reasonable, and there are no tax limitations)

Worst things: None so far (4 months and counting…)

Remember: Moving abroad gives you the chance to reinvent yourself, and be who you want to be. Oh, and also, get a tan.

The Seasonal Worker

Matt worked for a season (around 6 months) in a Canadian ski resort 

Why I did it: I wanted to travel, and love skiing, so I thought it would be a good fit. 

How I did it: I found a company where I could pay one fee, and be provided with a guaranteed job and a visa for the time I was there.

Best things: Trying new things, being taken out of your comfort zone, almost a 6 month skiing holiday (meals, room, free ski/snowboard hire and lift passes included)

Worst things: Pay isn’t great, pretty cold, snow becomes a little dull when you have to shovel it every day.

Remember: If you don’t like it, you can always come home (or look for a beach job instead).

The Volunteer

Jamie worked for one month as a sports coach in a village in Ghana.

Why I did it: I wanted to get into coaching after University, and thought this would look great on my CV.

How I did it: I found a company online which provides temporary placements for a range of different countries.

Best things: Helping promote sport, the kids enthusiasm for the program, puts everything else into perspective

Worst things: Can be expensive, becoming too attached to your host family/children, going home

Remember: There really is nothing more rewarding. If you don’t go, you’ll never know.

Of course, international opportunities are not limited to these areas. You could work anywhere and do anything, from fruit picking in Perth and working on a beach in Ibiza, through to working as a ski instructor in Italy or a conservationist in the Congo. The sky really is the limit.

It can also be a great way to demonstrate your skills to potential employers when you return home. Increased confidence, communication skills, adaptability, self-reliance and additional language skills are all useful potential by-products of working abroad (not to mention life experience). 

So if you’re looking for a change, and want a bit of freedom, what are you waiting for? It may sound like a cliché, but it really can be a once in a lifetime experience.

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