Interested in working abroad (temporarily or permanently)?
Perhaps you’re sick of the UK weather? Or looking for your next big adventure?!
Well why not? According to a study by Towergate Insurance, 83% of people who moved abroad to work said that they were (at least) “generally satisfied” by their experience.
But before you start packing your things and booking a one-way ticket to Oz, there are few things you really need to consider…
1. Is it the right time?
Are you definitely (100%) ready to leave behind…
Your current career. For example, if you’re working for a great company, you love your job and can see great opportunities to progress, is this really the right time to leave?
Your family and friends. For example, do you have any responsibilities as a carer (or might you in the near future)? Are you going to miss any weddings/ births/ celebrations that you’ll regret missing?
Your partner. This one’s pretty obvious. If they’ve decided not to join you, do you think you’ll cope? And will you try to do long-distance?
I know, I know, is there ever a “right time?” Perhaps not.
Obviously these kinds of questions are ones that only you can answer.
2. Can you afford it?
Sure, you might be able to find a cheap flight but…
- Will you be able to afford the cost of living?
- How expensive is accommodation/ property out there?
- And what do you get for your money? (What kind of state is the accommodation in?)
- Will you need a new bank account? What about exchange rates?
- What is the healthcare system like in your new country of choice?
- Have you taken things like tax into consideration? (For example, property and capital gains tax).
- Have you worked out (exactly) how much it’s going to cost to move? (You and your stuff).
As you can see, there is a lot to think about before you’ll know whether you can really afford the big move. Click here for some more in-depth advice on this.
3. Can you cope with the culture?
Wherever you go, you can expect to get a culture shock – that’s inevitable. But can you handle it?
It’s worth doing some really in-depth research into the location, their traditions, attitudes and other people’s experiences before signing yourself up – you want to know that you can fit in to a certain extent.
For example, if you like your home comforts, you may not want to take part in a voluntary project in the middle of nowhere, with limited water and no electricity.
Think about what would make YOU happy. You’re unlikely to last long if the experience is horrific.
4. What are the working conditions like?
You should also do some research into the kind of working conditions you’ll be faced with.
We’re obviously very lucky in the UK. We have pretty strict employment laws.
You won’t find that everywhere.
Just make sure you read all the documentation so you know what you’re signing yourself up for. It’s also a good idea to read what other travellers have said about companies/ projects/ areas.
5. What’s the health system like?
We’ve already mentioned the fact that you should consider health costs of moving to a different country – again we’re lucky with the NHS.
But there are also other health considerations to bear in mind…
- Will you be able to get the medication you need and see doctors as and when you need to, safely and without spending a fortune?
- What vaccines are necessary and advised?
- What kind of insurance will you need?
- Are the hospitals safe?
- Are you well and healthy enough to face such a big change in your situation?
You’d be surprised how many people fail to take the above into consideration and end up returning to the UK much sooner than expected.
I’m not saying don’t go, just make sure you’re prepared and organised on this end, rather than waiting till you get out there and panicking.
6. Are you going to get lonely?
Are you going to have a social life out there? (And do you want one?)
This really isn’t just a big issue for remote placements, even if you’re going to work in the city, without your close friends and family around, it’s easy to feel alone.
- If you’re renting, why not consider getting a roommate?
- Get in touch with people you’ll be working with and build relationships before you go.
- Take someone with you!
Of course, if you’re a bit of a lone wolf, you may welcome the alone time!
7. What’s the weather like?
Reckon this is a bit of a silly one? It’s really not.
You’d be surprised how much the wrong kind of weather can affect your mood and happiness, especially if you only move for a little while and don’t get time to adjust.
- If you hate the cold, a skiing season probably isn’t the right thing for you.
- If you hate the warmth, I wouldn’t plan on moving to Australia.
You get the gist. It’s definitely worth checking out those temperatures, before making a move.
You should also probably (definitely) check out whether it’s likely to be dry, wet or even hurricane season, before you go.
8. What kind of visa will you need?
This is kind of obvious. You’re not going anywhere (hopefully) without the right visa or documentation.
Transition Abroad suggest asking the following questions when working abroad…
- What type of visa do I need?
- Can I travel after the job ends?
- Can I change employers?
- How long is the visa valid for?
- What kind of work can I do?
- Do I need to have a confirmed job?
- Should I apply through a Visa Service?
Click here to check out the rest of their article.
Basically, do your research!
I know it’s a lot to think about! And this blog post is only a starting point!
If you’d like some more advice, check out these resources…
Decided to stick around?
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Good luck.- Anthony Hughes