Going global: some considerations before a career move abroad

man sitting on convertible with laptop
man sitting on convertible with laptop before a wall on which a map of the world is displayed in yellow

The idea of leaving everyone and everything behind to embark on a new adventure abroad sounds like the ultimate dream to some, but others might get homesick of the idea alone. Working in a different country can definitely be a golden career move, but be warned, because it’s not always as romantic as it sounds. Here’s what you need to know before making a career move beyond borders.

After much thought, you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and boost your career elsewhere. There are many reasons why you decide to try your luck in a different environment. You might be completely fed up with the grind of your own bubble and are in desperate need for a fresh start. Or, you may have noticed that there are more opportunities within your cluster somewhere else across the globe (check out Josie to get the latest demand for your role anywhere in the world). Either way, your decision’s final, but what to do next? It all starts with doing your homework. Because, no matter how spontaneous you are, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into.

Move for the right reasons

Although you may not always enjoy the luxury of throwing a dart at a map to decide on your next destination, it’s important to have a vague idea of where you see yourself in the next few years. Don’t just move a couple thousand miles away simply because you can get a job offer there, but at the same time try to be realistic: the demand for UX-designers may not be that high in the Maldives. Besides, you’re not going on a holiday. No, your plan is to stay, at least for a while. That means you need to investigate – learn more about your potential employer by analyzing its company culture and then decide if it might be a match. You don’t want to find out the hard way by having to search for a new job while you’re on the other side of the world on a work permit. If you think you finally found a fitting company, it’s time to delve into the local culture where you’ll be residing. Read a native book, learn the local lingo or watch some tv-shows to get a good grasp of potential cultural differences and/or similarities. This will give you a much needed head start before packing your bags.   

Don’t panic if you’re panicking

Once your next destination is set, one of your next concerns might be leaving behind all of your friends, family and whoever tickles your fancy. Or you find yourself Googling whatever form of anxiety you think you have. Please breathe out, relax and realize that this is all part of the deal: excitement and anxiety often go hand in hand, and you’re about to trade your daily routines for a life-changing experience. Even if you did your reading, culture shock will definitely happen. Same goes for feeling lonely, because you will feel like that a lot. Just go with the flow and accept that you need to fall to get up again. Also, realize it takes a lot of dedication to interact with new people. Research shows that it takes about 40-60 hours to build a lasting friendship. Add that to a full working week (don’t forget that part) and you will find out. On the bright side, once you’re invested and committed to building a community around you, you’ll experience tons of new personal and professional opportunities that will open new doors for the rest of your life.

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