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When you opened this article, you had a pretty clear expectation. You were pretty sure what I was about to write.
"Work abroad is better paid, it looks good on CV, it could open interesting career doors in the future, there are more opportunities outside. "
And you’re right. Of course, you are, it’s pretty much given. But even though this article is about advantages, I’d like to add the price for every one of them. Because like anything else in your life, it’s gonna be the way you make it.
Because like anything else in your life, it’s gonna be the way you make it.
First time I heard that sentence was when I was about to go for Erasmus (European student exchange program). Some of my peers had a great experience of partying all the time with a minimum of studying. Some of my peers enjoyed it so much because of the education they got there. On the other hand, some people were disappointed because they didn’t learn anything and some of them just studied so much and didn’t really enjoy anything else. Do you see where I'm going to? It’s all about what you want and what you are willing to do to get it.
You might argue that some of the Universities were harder than others. Yes. But you could study smarter rather than harder. And if it was too easy, you could look for more assignments or choose a special project. My point is, that it’s all about your choice and if (or how) you overcome the barriers.
Now let me list you all the advantages (I could come up with) of working and living abroad and what to be aware of.
1. The Money
Let's start with stating the obvious. We like comfort and comfort has a monetary price. Most of the people would move to another place because the job is better paid. However, we might forget the other side of the coin.
Keep in mind ~ There is a reason why the job is better paid. If it's in a bigger and more attractive city or country, the costs of living are probably much higher. You might nominally earn more but you could be spending a lot above that.
So if you decided to move to a new place to raise your comfort and now you have to live in a tiny apartment with 10 flatmates or in a house 2 hours away from your office, you didn't count very well. What to do? Check out Numbeo which will compare the cost of living in your current city with the new one. Take a calculator. And count.
2. Hot CV
A working experience at a foreign place might be a great addition in your resume. As a former HR consultant, I'd like to see a candidate who worked abroad. I'd assume that he would be fluent in more languages, has an experience in working with different nationalities, is independent, proactive and probably somehow valuable if the previous company hired him instead of a local.
Keep in mind ~ You gotta be proactive #af (sorry for my French). Try to work on projects with various people. Try to get face to face meetings in clients (for me the best way how to understand the culture). Try to learn the local language, dialect, accent. Become one of them. #Cliche
3. Extensive Network
This is one of my favorites. Living in different parts of the World will give you the opportunity to establish business and personal relationships at various places. That's something which nobody can take away from you. Ever. I still know people in many countries. Maybe I don't talk to them on a regular basis but I'm sure they'd be open to meet if I stop by. At least most of them would. I hope.
Keep in mind ~ Live by that. Especially if your plan is to go back to that place again. Use every opportunity to meet interesting and valuable people. Look for even more opportunities. Try to get to know as many people as you can. Extend your network. Meet Locals. You can check out if there are any biz meetups at Eventbrite or Meetup. To see what groups meet in your city. You can also try Bumble. Or more sophisticated Lunchclub to set up a meeting with relevant people.
4. Friends All Around the World
Pretty similar to the previous point. This one is maybe even better. I love the fact that I know people who live in different countries, cities. You can travel to visit them! And they will show you around. You might stay at their place (and save some valuable cash) and experience the life of a proper local. Or you can travel together. Me and my best friend Milda are living at different continents for the last three years but we meet every few months. Usually in different countries. (Last time it was our jubilee, 50th country of each and 20th country we visited together, #India)
What to keep in mind ~ The fact, that some of your friends live elsewhere is, that there was a time in the past when you, him or her left. #crying #WhyGodWhy #ImissThemTerribly
5. Experiences of Unthinkable
This might sound like a cliche but none of the greatest experiences in my life would happen if I stayed in my little hometown (I still love you, Sumperk). From the top of my head, it was surfing in California, helicopter ride to Grand Canyon, snorkeling with whale sharks in Cebu, meeting tribesmen in the Philippines, swimming in Marina Bay Sands pool in Singapore, walking on the Great Wall of China in the snow, (not) understanding the traffic in India, getting lost in Petra, enjoying a forbidden DJ contest in Brunei or being the only guest in the whole resort in Bali.
What to keep in mind ~ I'm going to repeat myself. None of these would also happen if I won't take the opportunity to do it. And there is no other dark side. Those experience will stay with me forever. Or at least till I remember them.
So to Wrap It Up
Do it. Just do it! Make the life-changing decision. It will pay off. I swear.