Working Abroad

With the skyrocketing unemployment rate at home, some people can’t help but go overseas just to provide a decent living for their families. We can’t blame them. For some, being away from home is just a small sacrifice to take if what’s at stake is a better life. But homesickness is just one of the many difficulties overseas workers have to deal with. So before packing your bags and leaving your family for greener pastures abroad, here are some important factors to consider.

  1. Weigh the Pro’s and Con’s. To decide whether a career abroad will truly be good for you and your family, list down the advantages and disadvantages of working abroad. The Pros could be high income, career growth, being in a new place and experiencing a different culture. The Cons could include suffering from homesickness, dealing with discrimination, etc.
  2. Do you have someone to turn to out there? Being with people you know in the country you are planning to move to will make the adjustment period bearable. They can be your support system when you are feeling low and your guide on what you should or should not do in your new destination. If you have relatives or friends in the country you are going to, get in contact with them before leaving your home country and ask them to help you settle down. If you know nobody in the country you plan to work in, start looking for a friend who has a friend in that part of the globe.
  3. Research on the career opportunities your new destination has in store for you. This can help you move on to a new job in case the one you enlisted on first is not working out well. Just be sure to adhere to legal processes like finishing contracts or acquiring all the pertinent working documents before venturing into a new job.
  4. Get ready for different climates. Research on the climatic conditions in your new destination so you could prepare the necessary clothing. This is also important if you have health conditions that are triggered by changes in temperature and weather.
  5. Learn the language. Life will be a lot easier in your new destination if you can speak the local language. You don’t necessarily have to fluently speak their native tongue the minute you step into their territory, but you should at least have the desire to learn it as you go along. This is particularly important if you are going to a non-English speaking country.
  6. Know all important travel and working documentations required in the country you plan to work in. Research on the visa requirements and other documents needed so you can work there legally. Some countries require that local employers process and sponsor these pertinent papers for overseas workers. Others require the applicant to process the visas themselves through applications in the country’s consulate or embassy.
  7. Find out the kind of accommodations you can have there. Some employers offer lodging options but some don’t so you will have to arrange for your accommodations yourself.
  8. Go online and get to know your destination early on, paying close attention to the nearest stores, clothing shops, pharmacy, hospital, your nation’s embassy, etc. Research on the modes and even rates of transport so you know in advance where to go and how much it would cost you.
  9. Do you have the funds to support yourself before you get your first paycheck? Make sure you have enough money to cover your expenses during your first few months.
  10. Learn about the state of telecommunications in the country you are going to. Can you easily make overseas phone calls or send emails to your family? Nothing is worse than not having open communication lines to people you love most and for whom you are making the sacrifice of leaving behind.

How to Adjust to a New Settling

After a grueling job search and application process, you finally got hired abroad.  But the challenges are not yet over. Settling into your new environment will require you to be more patient and flexible. Being alone in a strange place can get a bit scary but once you get settled down, you will feel more comfortable with your new location. Here are some tips on how to make the adjustment period a bit more bearable.

Join a community.  Even before flying to your new destination, start widening your network by joining communities of your fellow citizens who also work there.  This is a good way of creating a support group that will help you settle down especially if you know no one in your new location. You can go online and look for overseas workers’ forum. Alternatively, ask friends and relatives if they know someone in the city you are going to and ask them to show you around once you get there. Having someone familiar can surely lessen the feeling of homesickness.

Get a part-time job. This is a great way to get around and know people in the area. You can apply as a dog walker, gardener, all-around-guy, etc.  You don’t only get to earn extra cash; you also broaden your social network.

Get into a new sports or hobby. If you are into baking, join baking clubs in your area. You can even earn extra bucks if you sell your goodies in your area.  You can also join gyms and running or cycling clubs.  You don’t only get the advantage of a healthy lifestyle; you also get to meet new people who have same interests as you.

Learn the local language. Living in a place that you don’t understand the language can really drive you crazy.  It’s definitely a good idea to learn the local language so you can communicate properly with the people around you. You don’t have to be fluent in it immediately, but knowing some key words can make a huge difference. Try to use the language as much as possible like when you are in the market, grocery or the laundry shop.  You will learn more words as you go along and can speak like a true local before you know it.

The key to a quick adjustment period is to go out to your new world. After all, you didn’t travel thousands of miles jut for the job, I’m sure you also want to broaden your horizon by meeting new people, appreciating a different culture and learning new things.

In an article, Fortune magazine details 22 companies hiring a total of 87,750 jobs nationwide.  These companies were recently rated “best companies to work for” by Fortune.  Several of the companies listed have a presence in the Bay Area, including:

  • Working AbroadEdward Jones
  • Google
  • Qualcomm
  • Cisco
  • Genentech, and
  • Intel

Some other companies hiring (with a lesser presence in the Bay Area) include: Price, Waterhouse, Coopers, Deloitte, and Accenture.
The article doesn’t detail exactly where the openings are – but sometimes companies are flexible on this, anyway.

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