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Working Abroad - Be Prepared

19 February 2016

We all love to go on holiday. It can be a chance to see how other people live, to enjoy some warmer, or colder weather, depending on what you want to do. But imagine you fell in love with a country so much that you wanted to prolong your stay, or even stay there indefinitely! You are going to need to survive, which means getting a job. There are some crucial factors to take into account when considering working in a foreign country.


Cost of Living

You are used to how much things cost at home. Day in, day out you are spending money on the same kinds of things, such as toiletries, food, rent, etc. Just because something costs a certain amount where you live now, don’t assume it will be similar somewhere else. Different countries have alternative financial ecosystems. You should be aware of this before you pack your bags and jump on a plane.

Sometimes this can work in your favour as you may find that items abroad are much cheaper than when you buy the same stuff back home. Usually, when this is the case, the average salary is also lower and will reflect the price of everyday goods. You may go to Thailand and find that you can buy a day’s worth of meals for next to nothing, but this is an indicator that the wages are usually pretty low also. You could work for a whole day and only have enough for daily food costs, so don’t carry away and blow all your contingency money. You will need it to supplement a lower income than you are used to.


Communicating with Co-workers

So you have booked your flights, found somewhere to live, and most importantly, you have secured a job. The only problem is, when you turn up on your first day, nobody speaks English! There is a tendency for English speakers abroad to assume that everyone else speak their language. While this is fine in some foreign countries, it should not be taken for granted. Think about this, you are working picking oranges in Seville. The boss declares that everyone can go home early if they pick ten more oranges in the next five minutes. You don’t understand what he says and instead, end up working at the same pace and missing out an early finish. It looks like you should have taken that Spanish course after all!

Also, you will be able to ingratiate with your fellow employees much more if you speak their language even just a little. This could be the difference between having an active social life and going home alone every night after work. By learning just a few simple phrases, you can open yourself to light conversation, which will lead to your learning a lot more.

These two basic things will impact your quality of life while working abroad. Make sure that you take the necessary steps and do the research. Your experience will be so much richer for doing so!

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