It is easy to forget just how far our society has advanced in just the last century. Technology that would have been unimaginable to our great grandparents is now an essential part of our everyday lives. One of the enormous benefits that this steep curve of progression has given us is open, affordable access to distant parts of the world.
This isn’t just limited to brief vacations. Cooperation between nations, online resources, and lower airfare has helped to ensure you can live and work in various countries. That said, engaging in an international job isn’t an easy or practical path for everyone. There are challenges to consider, and you’ll need to overcome them to have a positive experience.
Rather than just diving in, why not take a moment to review some of the potential advantages and disadvantages?
There’s no doubt working an international job will give you some incredible experiences. For all the challenges of moving house and making new friends you’ll face, it’s important to bear in mind what there is to gain from your time working abroad and outside your geographical comfort zone.
Some aspects to consider include:
- Cultural Exposure
The only way to truly understand the different ways people live their lives, the values they hold close, and their unique perspectives is by experiencing their culture. When you work in a different country, you get to understand the nuances that contribute to the richness of the native culture. There are even likely to be aspects that surprise you. Some U.S. values you might consider to be common around the world will often have variances that help you view your own culture a little differently. Though it’s not always easy to make a cultural shift, it will give you insights that can enrich your time abroad and even influence your path when — or perhaps if — you return.
- Impressive Resume Addition
International work experience will always look good on your resume. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve spent years operating within a multinational corporation, or you connect with small local businesses as you take some time away to travel. In both cases, it demonstrates you’ve picked up experiences those who have only lived in their home country have not. It also suggests you have soft skills that tend to develop when working abroad — cultural awareness, empathy, resilience.
- Higher Living Standards
There is a bubble that U.S. living tends to create — you’re always told this is the greatest country on earth. While you live in an incredible nation, the truth is many other countries are considered to offer a higher standard of living. Scandinavian countries are often considered in this regard. In terms of quality of life, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are considered among the top 5 countries in the world. There are certain areas where you’ll get more for the salary you earn, and even unique cultural elements like Germany’s legally mandated quiet hours and rest days can give you a more relaxed way of life.
An international career can be an incredible opportunity. However, it shouldn’t be ignored that you’ll face some challenges. As such, it’s a responsible part of your decision-making process to consider these.
They are likely to include:
- Limited Job Demand
Make no mistake, anywhere you go there will be career specializations that are more in demand than others. Indeed, a lot of countries operate their visa system on a basis that prioritizes certain professions. As such, it’s sensible to gain qualifications and experience in paths that are more likely to be in demand. Finance analytics is a good example of a profession that is often transmutable across nations as part of our growing global economy. Particularly when working for multinational corporations, those who have expertise in applying analytics across domestic and international markets are valued. Accountants are common in most countries, but financial analysts are specialists and expected to be in demand for the foreseeable future. You need to bear this kind of issue in mind when researching how you can get a job abroad — you may need to retrain first.
- Language Barrier
This is the element that trips up a good many people who have ambitions to work abroad. Yes, English is considered to be the business language of the world, and you’ll find it spoken in a lot of countries, particularly in big cities. However, for day-to-day interactions, you’re likely to be expected to at least try to speak the language of your host nation. You may even find it an additional source of stress both while job hunting and at work to not be able to communicate effectively. Indeed, while you’ll find people are patient, it is still considered a matter of respect that you make efforts to converse in the native tongue. You’ll also find you have a richer experience if you do.
Improve Your Experience
There are always going to be advantages and disadvantages to any situation. The key is to know how you can best overcome hardships and make the most of the benefits. The same goes for pursuing an international job — certain things can help you succeed.
The main point is just taking the time to approach the situation logically. An international career is not something you should just leap into — indeed it can improve your chances of getting a job if you take time to prepare effectively. Undertake some careful research into both the companies you want to work for and the country you intend to visit. This gives you insights into the cultural and professional aspects you need to engage with. Sharpen your soft skills, especially in collaboration and adaptiveness. This can make you not just an attractive candidate but also prepare you for the challenges of daily life in an unfamiliar land. Give yourself the time to plan and you can make a big difference to your overall experience.
An international job is an opportunity for adventure and personal development. While there are certainly some challenges along the path, these aren’t necessarily insurmountable. With some planning and focus on your skills, you can make your experience a positive and enriching one.
Guest Author Bio
Jori Hamilton is a writer and journalist from the Pacific Northwest who covers social justice issues, healthcare, and politics. You can follow her work on twitter @HamiltonJori, and through her portfolio at Writer Jori Hamilton.