Do you have a recurring vision of living in a country far far away where you will be able to work at your dream job somewhere by the beach, sipping mojitos on weekends or where the view from your apartment at dawn is a colorful sunrise seeming to pop up from beneath the snow-covered mountains?
Well, this does not have to be a dream. For many people this is their everyday reality! You can embark on a journey that most people can only dream of by working abroad.
FINDING A JOB
If working abroad is something that is of interest to you, there are a variety of steps that you can take which vary greatly depending on the country that you are interested in working in.
If you are working for a large corporation, the easiest way of going abroad is by requesting a company transfer. I suggest you check job openings in your company’s international offices and speak to your human resources manager. Do not forget that following up in this situation (and in many others) is key.
If you are not employed for an international company that type of move becomes more difficult but not impossible. If you are a student at a university, apply for an internship program abroad, work really hard for that company and they just might sponsor you if you show interest, dedication and of course ask for it.
If neither of the above cases apply to your situation you will now need to do some research on the different types of visas and any other prerequisites that your country of interest requires for you to work there.
Start contacting employers directly by using LinkedIn and company websites.One of my friends, Len Choo-Foo, a fellow Montrealer, found his job in London, England after having connected directly with the CEO of the company through LinkedIn. He was later recruited by a company in Thailand, which is where he currently resides.
Another thing you can do is look up various working abroad programs that can help you find employment.
In my case, I decided to go work in South Beach while remaining a Canadian citizen. I was still living in Canada while I applied for work and was unsuccessful in getting any interviews.
The next thing I did was actually go and live in Miami while I was working from home for another company. At this point I had a Miami address and phone number and soon enough I was getting phone calls for interviews.
Please understand that when you are called in for an interview, it can be scheduled for next week, next day or even the same day and being on the other side of the planet attending those interviews would be close to impossible.
Some larger companies will do Skype interviews, but again this all depends on the demand that your profession has. If your position is in high demand, you will not need to make much effort in order to get sponsored but if it is a common position that can easily be replaced, I suggest that you go to your city of interest, start applying from there and be as proactive as possible.
SETTLING IN A NEW COUNTRY
Once you have found your job and you are ready to move, you start getting excited but also nervous of the unknown. This is normal. New country, new people, maybe new language(s) are all very scary for most of us but there are a few things you can you do to make this transition an easy one?
Finding a place to live
Make sure to do your research on where you will be living not only by educating yourself on the cost of living or proximity to work but also on the type of neighborhood you are settling in, access to public transportation, laundry, gym, pharmacy, grocery store, other shops, restaurants and entertainment.
Pick a location where you can socialize with others and make new friends, which for most of us will be the biggest challenge of moving abroad.
Making new friends can be very difficult especially in countries where there are many expatriates on assignments. They are there temporarily and as soon as you make good friends with somebody you have to be ready for them to leave.
Keeping yourself social is key when adapting yourself to a new country and it is important that you don’t hide out at home being antisocial waiting for people to rage over your friendship because that is not likely to happen.
Start talking to people at your job because most likely they have been in your situation in the past and will gladly offer to show you around and give you some tips of advice.But they won’t know how to help you if you are unapproachable and hiding away at your desk all day. Join your coworkers during lunch and social events that you are invited to.
Taking a class
A good way to integrate into a new culture and meet new friends is by taking a class. Learning the language of the country where you are residing would be a good start but classes do not need to be limited to language.
They can be valuable for anything from dance class, to cooking, to painting, or even a sport like surfing. If you do not let yourself be seen then nobody will see you so get out there and do something!
Invite friends and family to visit
During the first few months, the integration is quite difficult and most of us will start to feel home sick after a few weeks. I found that a great way to get back on track is by having friends and family visit you to reassure you and give you motivation. Also, it is much easier to meet people when you are with other people.
Working in an unknown country can be the most exciting and life changing experience that you can ever imagine but it can also be very lonely and difficult.
You are the only person who can decide what kind of experience you will have, and remember that a lot of the time it is this social aspect that will shape your experience. One of the most magnificent parts of the experience is meeting like-minded people who are adventurous and love to travel.
In addition to all the incredible places and things that you see in a foreign country, the people you meet will make your stay worth the stress. The benefits definitely outweigh the challenges that come with relocating and I would absolutely recommend for anyone who is adventurous and open-minded to work abroad.
Working abroad and sponsorship websites:
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have.
Top Photo Credit: Paris via Shutterstock