The pros and cons of working abroad for a year

Paper map on desk

A lot of students or recent graduates are often faced with the decision of whether or not they should work abroad for a year. It’s a major stepping stone in your life that is bound to affect you in a number of different ways which is exactly why it is such a daunting decision to make and important to consider whether or not it is right for you.

Why work abroad?

Learn about a new and different culture
Going on holiday to a different country is a lot different to living there for a longer period. Once you live abroad, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in a culture different from your own, and this will allow you to learn things about yourself that you couldn’t do at home. Depending on where you travel, you may also be able to experience a different religion, and this will undoubtedly open your mind to different thoughts and beliefs.

Make new friends
Moving abroad will allow you to become more independent as well as making new friends who live in that country and traveller friends from all over the globe. Who knows, maybe these could turn into lifelong friendships.

Pick up a new language
If you stay open minded and practice a lot, you may even be able to pick up a new language. This will be a huge advantage for you in the future in whatever industry you may wish to work in as it demonstrates your ability to learn things quickly as well as showing that your communication skills are impeccable.

Fulfil your travel goals
For many, there’s nothing more rewarding than travelling, so having the opportunity to travel as well as earning money and picking up lifelong skills is one reason to definitely consider a year abroad. It’s likely that being abroad for a year will give you the itch to travel even more later in your life.

Add stand-out experience to your CV
A year working abroad can make your CV stand out from others who may be applying for the same position. Mostly, it demonstrates a willingness to go out of your comfort zone, and this is something that employers are really encouraged by.

Why not?

The language barrier
Language may also come as a disadvantage. Depending on where you decide to go, there may be a huge language barrier that you’re unable to pick up within the space of time. Don’t worry though, by immersing yourself into this new challenge and asking the locals to practice with you; your day-to-day vocabulary should definitely improve.

You may get homesick
Moving to a different country may pose a huge challenge to your emotional state because you may begin to feel lonely and miss family and friends. In this new country, you may not be able to celebrate holidays that are traditional to your homeland such as Diwali and Christmas, and this can play a huge role in making you feel far removed from your home.

The expense
To work abroad, the first thing that you’ll need to have is money to move to your chosen destination. You’ll need to factor in expenses such as travel, accommodation and how you will fund your day-to-day life while you’re looking for employment.

Lower level jobs
If you have reached a certain level in your current job, it is not always guaranteed that you’ll be able to be transferred directly into the same position abroad. More often than not, you may get a lower level job or be required to undertake menial work to get ahead in the country that you have chosen to relocate to. This means that you’ll need to have the patience to stick with a job you may not necessarily like for a period of time until you can progress.

Remember that no matter how discouraging some of these disadvantages may seem, it is important to look forward with a positive attitude. Everything in life has its pros and cons, but by weighing them up and choosing what feels right, you should be able to make your year abroad a time that you’ll look back fondly on for the rest of your life.

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