Moving overseas to broaden your experience professionally and personally can be life-affirming. Whether you are heading off on a whim in an attempt to find employment or whether you are being seconded internationally with your current company, landing at a foreign airport with just your laptop, a backpack and a smile, can be something of a culture shock, especially if you don’t speak the language.
You will need to sort a bank account, visas, and accommodation within the first few days of setting foot on overseas soil. The initial seventy two hours can be a whirlwind, leave you doubting your decision and make you feel like a lost soul. Try not to worry. Here, we take a look at the sorts of things you can do to make your foray into working overseas a little less stressful.
It doesn’t matter where you are heading to work, it is vital that you learn the lingo prior to setting foot on the plane. You need to know the basics so that you can greet people, order food at a restaurant, purchase travel tickets and understand what people are saying to you. The individuals you meet will appreciate your effort, they will warm to you quicker as you are showing them respect by not simply shouting at them in English, and you will find it easier to develop relationships with new work colleagues.
Even if you are heading to an English speaking nation for work, you will still need to take an IELTS visa exam to prove your native speaking proficiency. If you have developed some bad habits, can’t remember the nuances of English grammar and haven’t got a clue what syntax is, it may be wise to brush up on your English knowledge to ensure that you secure your all-important work visa.
If you haven’t got any housing arranged through work, check yourself into a cheap hotel for a few nights and organise a short term let. The chances are that your company will have housing stock for expat workers. If you are going it alone, go through legitimate channels such as agents and online flatshare boards to locate your new home. Prior to boarding the plane, you should have done your research into the local regions so that you can hit the ground running and not end up living in some sort of dive.
It can be terribly lonely and scary venturing to a new place for work, especially if you are travelling to a completely new country. It’s time to be proactive and start socialising. Go for drinks with colleagues if you are invited, try and find a group that caters for your hobby whether this is crochet, golf or karate, and always smile when meeting new people. Although you may not have the inner confidence that so many of your acquaintances have, a smile and a greeting goes a long way to making you appear approachable.
Working overseas, even if only for a short time, opens your eyes up to new ways of working, new cultures and new experiences. Why not take the plunge and apply for that international secondment that you’ve had your eye on for a while? It could be the making of you.