Whether you've never left your hometown or you've traveled to every continent and have officially caught the travel bug, you've recently been dreaming about traveling. But how to spend long stretches of time out of the country going on Instagram-worthy adventures? Consider working abroad.
It seems like the perfect opportunity to earn money, get useful work experience, learn about a different culture, and explore a new region of the world. If you're ready to pack your bags and move across the globe, here's what you need to know:
Where Can You Work?
You might dream of working as the bartender at a beachside bar somewhere, but that doesn't mean that you would be able to legally work on the beach of your dreams. In order to do so, you would need to have a working visa or citizenship in that country.
The easiest route to working in another country is if you're a citizen already or if you're a citizen of a country that has special working visa privileges with that nation. For example, if you have citizenship from a European country that is part of the European Union, you can live and work in any country that is a member. If you don't have citizenship from another country, but your family immigrated in the last generation or two, you might be able to get citizenship depending on the nation in question. Do a little research to see what you're entitled to and what responsibilities might also come with citizenship.
If you don't have access to dual citizenship, don't worry! If you're 18 to 35, you can work abroad for up to two years through the International Experience Canada program.1 The program allows you access to over 30 countries including France, Germany, Japan, Australia, and Taiwan. The program offers two types of work permits – open work permits where you don't need to prearrange a job, and employer-specific permits when you have to already have an offer of employment.
You might also be able to get a work visa through a country's existing immigration programs – particularly if you have a degree in a profession that is in demand in that country. Choose your dream destination and then do some research to find out!
How Do You Get a Job?
Not sure how to secure a job abroad? It can be overwhelming to navigate a different labour market, particularly if you don't understand the language or customs. One of the best ways to do this is to use reputable recruiters. If you're interested in teaching abroad, for example, recruiters might come to career days at your school.
But if you want to get a job in a different field, there are often international recruitment or headhunter agencies designed to help companies fill vacancies in in-demand fields by looking for international candidates. Your school's career office or centre will likely have a list of some of these companies. Send your resume to all the relevant firms on that list.
When it comes to applying for a foreign job, research the resume and cover letter customs and formats preferred in your target country. Tailor your resume so that you will look like a great fit. Also, explain briefly why you want to move to that country and that you are available for Skype interviews to discuss the opportunity.
Not sure how to ace a Skype interview? Be ready for it to take place at a very early or very late hour because of time differences. Also, dress up like you would for a normal interview, check your connection and microphones beforehand, sit in a quiet area, and prepare to have answers for questions like why they should hire you over someone who already lives there.
Figuring Out the Logistics for Your Move
Moving overseas is an adventure, but it has its share of headaches, too. You'll likely be spending a lot more on travel – to get to your destination, to explore your local area, and then to go home for any holidays you want to celebrate with your family. To save money, sign up for flight alerts on air travel comparison sites so that you can book all your travel at the best prices.
Another thing you'll have to consider is your cell phone. If you have a contract here already, you might be able to sell it or get someone to take it over. Once in your destination, research a plan that is right for you and get a new SIM card ASAP to avoid roaming charges.
Finding a place to stay at your destination can be particularly fraught. You don't know the area and won't know where you'll want to set down your roots. You could also be a target for scams if you're trying to rent a place from abroad. Consider subletting a rental for a month or two before you decide where to live and sign a lease. That way, you have time to find the right place for you.
Finally, the most important moving logistic you'll need to take care of is getting your stuff to your destination. If you luck out and get an important job at a great company, your company might pay to move your things. However, you're more than likely to have to cover these costs on your own. You can bring what you can in your baggage allowance, but you'll likely need to ship some stuff via international mail as well. Don't send your furniture or any big items – since you're better off replacing your larger things second hand at your destination.
It's a Life Changing Opportunity
Despite all the planning involved in moving abroad for work, doing so can be life changing. Living and working in a different country can broaden your personal and professional possibilities and lead to once-in-a-lifetime experiences. If you've always wanted to do it — take the leap!
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