Advice for Moving Abroad for Career Purposes

Living and working abroad has many advantages. Pursuing your career in a foreign country will broaden your horizons and give you valuable life and work experience, it will build your confidence, character and sense of reliance and improve your future prospects. If nothing else, a period of living and working abroad looks great on your CV.

It may be that your existing employer has given you the opportunity to relocate. Many academic institutions and multinational firms offer staff the chance to live and work abroad. If that is the case, then the process should be easier as there will be an established procedure for moving and a sense of continuity as you’ll be working for the same employer.

Finding work. If you’re thinking of moving abroad to work independently, then you need to think about what you’re going to do. Getting a teaching job is a possibility, especially if you can teach English as a foreign language. Find out about the qualifications and experience you’ll need. Alternatively, find out what skills are in short supply in the country you’re thinking of moving to; or which countries need the skills you already possess.

Do your research. Thorough research is essential before you commit to living and working in a different country for an extended period. Find out about the language, the economy, the culture and the climate. Ideally you should visit the place you’re thinking of living at least once before you decide to move there. It’s one thing knowing that Dubai is hot and dry, but until you’ve actually tried working in those conditions you don’t know how it will affect you.

You might also find that the way of life abroad really agrees with you. 80 percent of UK nationals living in Spain said that the cost of living there was lower and the quality of life better than at home. Think about whether you’ll be able to pursue hobbies and outside interests when you move. If you love outdoor activities and sports then somewhere like Spain, with its mountains and cycling trails, could be a great choice.

Money matters. It may take a while before your wages come through and it may also not be possible to set up a local bank account until you’ve found somewhere to live. Make sure that you’ve got enough money to tide you over and that you can access it. If you need to send money from the UK to Spain then make sure you use a service with competitive exchange rates as you can lose a considerable amount otherwise if you need to pick up cash regularly.

Choose wisely. Find out about the best and safest neighborhoods to live in. Don’t just go for the cheapest apartment you can rent. Is there a large expat community where you’re moving to? If so, what part of town do they live in? Although you should certainly make an effort to get involved in the local culture (and learn the language!) having other expats around at first will help you to settle in.

Find out as much as you can in advance and weigh up the pros and cons. Working abroad is an amazing opportunity but such an important move shouldn’t be rushed into.

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