10 Things to Know Before Working Abroad

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Gaining employment in a foreign country is an excellent way to expand your horizons. Not only will working abroad allows you to travel and see new places, but you will also meet interesting people from different cultures. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows; you should know a few things before you go. Here are ten things to keep in mind before working abroad.

Learn the Language Basics

You don’t need to be fluent, but it’s helpful to know some key phrases in the language of the country you’re moving to. This will help you with everyday tasks like ordering food and asking for directions. And bonus points if you can learn enough to carry on a conversation—you’ll make a great impression on your new colleagues. However, in countries like Japan, it is essential to be proficient in their language to get hired. It is exceptionally difficult for foreigners to land a job in Japan if they do not know the language.

Research the Cost of Living

Depending on where you’re going, the cost of living can be very different from what you’re used to at home. Make sure you have a realistic idea of how much things will cost so you can budget accordingly. For instance, in countries like Switzerland, the cost of living is significantly higher than in other countries. If you are working there, make sure that the job you have pays enough for you to cover your expenses.

Get Your Finances in Order

Along the same lines, make sure you have your financial ducks in a row before moving abroad. This includes getting your visa situation sorted out and making sure you have enough money saved to cover your first few months of expenses.

Sort Out Your Visa Situation

Speaking of visas, this is one of the most important things to sort out before heading overseas for work. Ensure you have the correct visa and that it’s valid for your stay. Nothing will put a damper on your international adventure, quite like being deported. Details should include the validity dates, visa type, and applicable restrictions.

Know Your Rights and Responsibilities as an Employee

The rules around employment can vary wildly from country to country. For example, employees in some countries are entitled to far more vacation days than employees in others. Employees in some countries can be fired at will, while others enjoy near-total job security. Knowing your rights (and responsibilities) as an employee will help avoid unpleasant surprises.

working woman

Pack Light

When moving abroad, you might be tempted to bring everything with you, but it’s better to travel light. Moving around will be easier (and cheaper), but you’ll also have less stuff to worry about keeping safe. And if you find that you need something, chances are you can pick it up cheaply once you’ve resettled.

Make Copies of Important Documents

Before leaving home, make sure you have copies (or digital scans) of important documents like your passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, etc. Keep them in a safe place (a secure email account for your digital scans) so that if anything happens to the originals, you’ll still have access to them. This ensures that nothing will stop you from returning home should something happen abroad.

Tell Your Friends and Family Where You’re Going

Once you’ve decided to work abroad, it’s important to let your loved ones know where you’ll be and how they can get in touch with you. Give them your contact info — email, phone number, social media handles — and let them know when they can expect to hear from you next. Being able to inform them of your whereabouts will give them peace of mind while you’re away.

Stay Connected with Home

Whether it’s through social media, video chats, or good old-fashioned phone calls, make an effort to keep in touch with your loved ones back home. They’ll appreciate hearing from you, and staying connected will help reduce any homesickness that might pop up from time to time.

You can also stay connected by sending them postcards or small trinkets from your new home. You can send packages of your family’s favorite snacks, clothes, or toys. This is easy; all you have to do is research the shipping cost. If you are an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Singapore, a balikbayan box in Singapore’s price ranges from S$70 to S$150, depending on the size and weight of the box and where it needs to be shipped. Don’t worry about the fees and hassle; international shipping is a breeze, and your family will be thankful for the thoughtful gifts.

Have Fun!

Lastly, remember that working abroad is supposed to be fun! Embrace all that comes with living in a new country. The good and the bad. And try not to take yourself too seriously along the way; this is an adventure!

So, if you’re considering working abroad, make sure you take the time to plan. Knowing what to expect will help reduce surprises (and stress) along the way. And most importantly, have fun! Working in a new country is an amazing experience, so make the most of it.

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