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The Pros and Cons of Working Overseas

Maybe you’ve been bitten by wanderlust and want to explore the world.

Maybe you want to expand your skills and talents.

Or maybe you just want to try out something completely different.

Whatever your reasons are, you’ve got the bug to step beyond your comfort zone, and make the big step of working overseas. Before you rush your next move though, it’s really important to consider whether it’s definitely the right thing for you.

So to help you decide, here are some of the real pros and cons of working in a different country.

Pro:

Expand your horizons. Literally. If you’re tired of seeing the same people and scenery that you grew up with all your life and just want to see something new, you’ll certainly get the chance to see life from a totally different perspective.

Working overseas gives you the chance to immerse yourself in a different culture and environment, especially if you choose somewhere that is radically different from where you are from. This can be really inspiring!

Con:

Culture shock, and adjusting to change is not easy to deal with. It’s one thing to visit a country on holiday for a few weeks, but living and working there is a completely different experience.

For many people, one of the hardest truths to digest is the fact that the values and comforts you may have taken for granted back home are not so widely accepted all around the world. To prepare yourself for this, it’s important to educate yourself on what to expect, long before you go.

Pro:

You’ll meet lots of new people wherever you go, and you’ll have the chance to encounter people from all walks of life – especially those you might not have mixed with back at home.

Unless you already have a solid network before you leave, chances are, when you get there you will be a complete stranger. And the best way to meet new people is by talking to everyone – from the taxi driver on the way from the airport, to your new colleagues and their families.

Con:

Getting isolated can be a potential issue for those working overseas, particularly if there is a large ex-pat community already there. It’s really tempting to stick to people who speak your own language and already share your culture or views, without getting involved with the local community.

This really goes against the whole spirit of working overseas – after all, if you just wanted to be surrounded by people like yourself, do you really need to go across the world to do that?

Pro:

You don’t have to settle. Many roles that involve travelling overseas are relatively short-term, with brief stints of a few months in different locations.

For example, if you’re considering teaching overseas, you may only be offered a contract of six months to a year, after which you have either the option to renew or go somewhere else. So if you really want to satisfy that wanderlust itch, you could see a lot more of the world that you expected.

Con:

Short term roles means there is less security about your position, and if you really find yourself wanting to settle down in a place, it may be harder to find a longer term role. Like all things with working overseas, it’s important to plan ahead and talk to as many people as possible about your plans, to help you find a solution that works.