Who knows what crazy shenanigans you’ll get into during your after-hours! If you’ve got the travel bug, you can probably think of a million and one reasons to explore the world. But the number one thing that usually stops people from traveling is a lack of money.
That’s why working abroad is such a great way to explore other countries and cultures. You get paid to travel, whilst building your career and enjoying an adventure of a lifetime. However, if you’re wondering whether working abroad might be the right move for you, there’s much more to consider than earning a living whilst traveling. We’ve put together this guide of nine reasons to work abroad:
Why working abroad is good—for your wallet, the world, and your career
As you figure out whether working abroad is the right path for you or not, we encourage you to read over these reasons to work abroad and decipher if they align with your goals.
1. Get paid to travel. We repeat: Get paid to travel.
Let’s face it, traveling is expensive. Even if you’re sticking to a strict budget, long-term travel costs a lot of money. If you’ve got running costs, like student loan repayments, it can be difficult to go abroad for an extended time without breaking the bank or getting into more debt. That’s why working abroad is the perfect opportunity to travel while getting paid. You get to explore a new country while earning a decent income and without sacrificing your career.
2. Learn new skills.
No matter what country you move to, working abroad will undoubtedly lead you to learn new skills. Not only will you get new skills at your new job abroad, but you’ll also learn new soft skills, from communication skills to networking. After all, navigating a new city without speaking the language makes you resourceful, and working in an international team will help to improve your communication skills.
3. Personal development.
Moving to a new country to start a new job will undoubtedly push you out of your comfort zone. Nothing helps you grow as a person like interrupting your safe and comfortable routine. Whether you’re a serial traveller or this is your first trip abroad, you’ll gain new perspectives and learn things about yourself and your home country that you never knew before. This new perspective will help you develop personally just as much as you grow professionally.
4. Master a second language.
Chances are that you’ll be moving to a country where you don’t speak the language. Consider this a bonus for when you work overseas, as it gives you the unique opportunity to learn a language abroad and practice your new skills with locals. Speaking the language will not only help you better integrate into your new role, but also help you stand out from the crowd in the future.
As yet another layer of icing on the work abroad cake, learning a new language is associated with long-term benefits, like improved memory, improved attention span, and boosted creativity. The advantages of working overseas include a boost to your brain power!
5. Expand your network.
Working abroad is a great way to expand your personal and professional network. While it’s already possible to network with people all around the world via online platforms, such as LinkedIn, it’s a completely different experience to meeting people in real life. While you work abroad, you’ll be collaborating with locals and expats from other countries—this can expose you to new job opportunities (or opportunities in general!). Additionally, you’ll be forming friendships with people from different backgrounds, some of which will last a lifetime.
Why work overseas? Advantages include a global circle of people who have your back and can help you get the leg up in future job hunts (we think that’s a pretty cool one!).
6. Boost your resumé.
Having an international assignment on your resume could boost your future employability. Talent mobility is a big topic in recruiting, and an increasing number of future jobs will require international travel. Your stint working abroad will prove that you’re flexible and independent, and help your resumé stand out from the crowd. Also, any additional skills you gain while abroad, like language skills, will further boost your resumé.
7. Immerse yourself into life abroad.
There’s only so much you can learn about a culture on a short vacation. Working abroad will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of a country, its people, and its culture. You won’t just be a visitor anymore, but a temporary member of that community. This insider view will give you a different perspective on all aspects of life, including family life and politics.
You’ll have the chance to really immerse yourself and learn about unique quirks and traditions from your local friends, which you’d never be exposed to on a vacation.
8. Find your dream career.
Often, the desire to travel comes from a drive to learn more about ourselves. Many people choose to work abroad not only to travel, but also to try out different jobs and new roles. In particular, working holiday visas are a great opportunity to dip your feet into a few new industries. It is very likely that by working abroad you will find new interests and passions, which might lead you on a path to a new career that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
9. Earn good money!
That’s right, jobs abroad often pay just as well if not better than jobs at home. Depending on the country you select, it’s very possible to earn a decent living abroad. Also, with living costs being much lower in many other countries, you might even find you’re able to save more than you would at home. This will allow you to travel even more during holidays and possibly between work opportunities.
How can I work abroad?
Just like any big change in life, finding work abroad takes time, dedication, and careful planning. There’s more to it than just hopping on a plane and going to a few job interviews. If you’re asking yourself “How can I work abroad?”, then here are six tasks for you to follow to find your first work abroad opportunity.
1. Research, research, research.
Before you start applying for random jobs all over the world, you need to sit down and do the necessary research. There are many things to consider before going abroad:
- Where do you want to work?
- How long do you want to stay for?
- Which region or specific country are you interested in?
- What kind of work do you want to do?
- What kind of visas/paperwork will you need?
Answering these questions will help you narrow down the opportunities that interest you. After all, there’s a whole wide world out there to explore and you’ll need to get specific in order to land your dream job abroad.
Want personalized advice? Our team of Online Advisors would be DELIGHTED to send you program suggestions based on your preferences.
2. Spread the word.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options slightly, it’s time for stage 2 of the research phase – putting yourself out there. Make a list of people you know who have spent time abroad, and ask your friends and family whether they know anyone who has worked in the same country you’re interested in going to.
Next, get in touch with these people and ask them as many questions as you can. Find out what kind of visa they had, whether they used an agency to help them apply for jobs, which area they lived in, etc. First-hand information is absolutely invaluable when traveling abroad. You might even get a few local contacts that you can quiz further or meet up with once you arrive. It’s always great to know someone in a new city.
3. Make your decision.
Once you’ve done all your research, have read reviews of work abroad programs, and talked to people who have worked abroad, it’s time to decide whether you want to get yourself a working holiday visa, apply for an international position, or use a work abroad placement program. There are many different options, but using a program can save you a lot of headache and planning time.
Working holiday visas can be a great option if you’re happy to do backpacker-style jobs. The right program will help you to have a smooth transition and get the most out of your work abroad experience.
4. Get prepared.
This is the boring, but very important part, so don’t skip it as it could get you into trouble in the long run. Like any form of international travel, working abroad comes with its fair share of bureaucracy to deal with. You’ll have visa and/or work permit applications, travel insurance, and vaccinations to think about. Don’t leave this to the last minute, as many vaccinations require multiple rounds and can take months to complete. Visa applications can also take weeks or months, so make sure you apply in good time.
5. Start learning the local language.
Whether you plan to take a course on arrival, or lessons are included in your work abroad program, think about learning the basics before you leave home. It's time to get a head start on that fluency! ;-)
Even just a simple ‘hello, please, and thank you’ will make you feel much more comfortable when you arrive. Learning numbers is also a great way to avoid confusion over taxi fares or at the market.
6. Enjoy yourself!
Last, but not least, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Like any big change in life, moving to a new country, starting a new job, and immersing yourself in a new culture can be exhausting. It’s perfectly normal for it to take a little while to settle in. But whenever you get stressed out, try to take a deep breath and remind yourself of the incredible adventure you’re embarking on. Just enjoy the journey.
Recommended programs to work abroad
Don’t just work abroad with anyone! Consult reviews and recommendations. You don’t want to end up getting scammed or living in the middle of nowhere (unless that’s what you’re after!). Here are some handpicked recs for you to consider as you continue to flesh out how you can work abroad.
1. Travel and Teach Recruiting Inc.
Travel and Teach Recruiting is an excellent agency for anyone curious about Korean culture and life. Established in 2011, Travel and Teach has successfully placed English teachers in the best schools all over South Korea. Each of their team members have taught in Korea, so they can support you with first-hand experience and advice. Korea is one of the best places to teach English, as you can make good money, meet new friends and make memories to last a lifetime.
2. LoPair China
Do you love kids and have the desire to immerse yourself in a new culture? LoPair China is a leading Au Pair agency in China placing Au Pairs from over 15 countries in all major cities in China. Language classes and Chinese cultural classes are part of the LoPair experience, and mentors will help you feel at home. Placements range from 3 to 6 months and can be extended up to 12 months.
3. Camp America
What better way is there to explore the Great American Outdoors than joining a US summer camp? Camp America is the largest international summer camp staff provider and has helped people work abroad and visit the US since 1969. Create a great experience for kids of all ages, learn new skills, and meet great people from all over the world.
4. International TEFL Academy
Teaching English is one of the most popular ways to work abroad, and for good reason. International TEFL Academy can help you find the right placement for you in exotic destinations like Nicaragua, Thailand, and Costa Rica. You’ll have the opportunity to get TEFL certified and then be placed in a teaching position with the help of the Academy.
The reasons to work abroad are endless!
We’re just scratching the surface with our list of nine reasons to work abroad. It’s ultimately important for you, future expat, to consider your goals and whether an international job will improve your quality of life, your earnings, or your future career (hint, it probably does!).
Now that you know the steps and tools you need to help you get started, what are you waiting for?! Whichever way you choose to work abroad, it will likely be an experience you’ll cherish for a lifetime thanks to the new skills you’ll learn, new friends you’ll make, and new horizons you’ll explore.