Working abroad can be an equally rewarding and challenging experience.
Indeed, the possibilities are endless, the opportunities are plenty and the benefits are countless for a professional working and living in a different country.
If you’re currently considering making a change and moving your career overseas, but are still reluctant, then keep reading. Below, we’ll walk you through 15 brilliant benefits of living and working abroad.
1. It enhances your CV
Working in a foreign country requires a multitude of skills and abilities which allow you to carry out your duties but also collaborate with people in your professional environment.
For this reason, your experience will enrich your professional skill arsenal and your CV alike.
Furthermore, if you land a job with a global industry leader, including that company on your CV could help you get miles ahead of other candidates when it’s time to look for a new job.
Another factor to consider is that you will probably have access to more development and training opportunities, such as workshops and short courses, which will make you an even more qualified professional within your field.
Including these notable experiences in your CV will boost your document and enhance your employability.
2. It increases your cultural awareness
One of the advantages of foreign employment is the ability to experience different cultures, customs, and traditions. As a result, you have the opportunity to develop a more global and open mindset and cultivate a diverse perspective of the world around you.
Moreover, it can help you become more respectful and aware of cultural differences, especially within an office setting. After all, business is not conducted in the same manner across the world and you will equip yourself with the knowledge required to cater to different audiences, clients, and employers’ expectations.
3. It expands your professional network
Your professional contacts are a powerful tool.
Not only can they put in a good word for you when applying for a new position, but they can also inform you of available vacancies and opportunities.
So, by forming international connections and expanding your network even further, you will have the chance to open even more doors for yourself and take your career to the next level.
4. You'll be a more valuable candidate
Employers are always looking for candidates that stand apart from the crowd, and this is exactly what working abroad could do for you. Prospective employers could be intrigued by the fact that you worked overseas, and this could motivate them to learn more about you in an interview.
What’s more, overseas work experience could suggest that you are an adaptable person who can acclimatise to new environments — both in a professional and social context. This will definitely be a plus for you, as companies seek employees who can adapt to their new role and jump straight into their duties as soon as possible.
5. You gain work experience
University graduates are often faced with a lack of entry-level opportunities that will allow them to gain valuable experience and kickstart their careers in their industry of choice.
By opening up your job search to the global market, you could multiply the opportunities available to you. Not only will getting a job be easier, but the work experience you end up gaining could be much more valuable.
6. You can earn a higher salary
Following up on the previous point, not only will you have access to more job opportunities abroad, but you will also potentially earn a much higher salary.
Due to labour shortages in certain industries, numerous companies are willing to pay higher salaries in order to attract new talent and retain their staff.
That said, it’s also important to take additional living expenses into consideration; a higher salary in Switzerland, for example, might have a smaller buying power than an average salary in the UK, because of the high cost of living.
7. You will experience better work perks
While this will depend on the company you land a job with, you can generally expect a lot more work perks as an employee working abroad, which certainly has its advantages.
If you are planning to apply for larger, international firms, then chances are you will experience more benefits, such as more days off, sick leave, health insurance, travel reimbursement, development opportunities, and so on.
However, you could still enjoy all these benefits depending on the country you move to as well — certain benefits will be customary across all businesses due to national labour laws and legislations. So, make sure to do your research on both the companies and the countries you could potentially be moving to.
8. You will have more job opportunities
Getting a job abroad will multiply the career opportunities available to you.
Indeed, the global job market is rich with prospects. So, if you are struggling to find a job that matches your calibre, experience, skills and goals back home, diverting your attention to job openings abroad could benefit your career trajectory.
It’s also important to point out working abroad will help you hone your skills and progress within your industry faster, especially if the job market at home is over-saturated with professionals of the same calibre as you. Once you have attained sufficient experience, you could see more doors open for you, as your competition will be far less, making you a more desirable candidate for companies.
9. You will enjoy higher living standards
Countries that boast healthy economies, political stability, efficient bureaucratic processes and good education systems tend to have significantly higher standards of living.
Not only will you enjoy a higher salary, but you’ll also have access to things like free healthcare, education opportunities, better labour laws and overall an improved quality of life. If you are moving abroad with your family, these are major advantages to consider.
10. It fosters personal growth
Working overseas inevitably becomes an opportunity to grow on a more personal level.
Moving to a different country, experiencing a new culture and working in a diverse office will make you take an inward journey and help you understand your needs and your goals and aspirations a lot more. Seizing every opportunity to travel and explore will also enable you to see and experience more, all of which will contribute to your personal growth.
11. You will expand your skillset
Whether it’s learning to use French in a professional context or networking with people from different cultural backgrounds, living and working overseas will give you numerous opportunities to sharpen existing skills and develop new ones.
Soft skills such as intercultural communication, adaptability, problem-solving and responsibility are just a few areas you will have the chance to develop further. Of course, your technical skills will also likely increase, especially if your employer puts great emphasis on staff development. All in all, this will be an opportune time for you to enrich your professional arsenal.
12. You will work within a diverse team
Working within a team that consists of individuals from different backgrounds can be challenging at times, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.
Learning how to communicate your ideas when there is a language barrier can be tricky — even more so when there is a cultural barrier, too. You may need to take things into consideration that you never had to before, but also be creative when it comes to bridging differences between yourself and those around you.
Having the opportunity to work and collaborate with people from different backgrounds can only enhance your teamwork and communication skills and allow you to become a better team player.
13. You have more travel opportunities
Are you an avid traveller? Then moving abroad is probably a no-brainer for you.
Even with a 9-to-5 job, living abroad can still feel like the greatest adventure — after all, you don’t have to go too far to explore when everything is brand new to you.
During weekdays, you could have smaller adventures, like visiting art shows and exhibitions after work, or visiting a new coffee shop everyday on your lunch break. Meanwhile, weekends and bank holidays can be all about discovering other cities, and even countries, neighbouring your new home.
14. You will improve your professional prospects
We’ve already discussed how working abroad opens up new paths to gain work experience, makes you more employable and gives you more job opportunities. However, you must also consider how an overseas job will allow you to have more career advancement within your field.
Oftentimes, you can hit a stalemate within your career, especially when there are no opportunities for growth within your role or industry. However, landing a role within a company that can grant you professional growth means that you will be able to climb the career ladder and fulfil your potential more easily than you would have at home.
It could also be the case that the career you want to pursue is not possible to do due to lack of resources, infrastructure or demand. For instance, if you want to become an astronaut but your home country does not have a space agency, then relocating to pursue this career will be necessary.
15. It makes you more independent
Living abroad is no easy feat, and the challenges you will encounter, both in the office and beyond, will ultimately make you a much more independent person.
The logistics required to relocate to a new country — booking flights, finding accommodation, arranging documentation, liaising with new employers — is already a major step, but your day-to-day life when living abroad will also contribute to your newfound autonomy and individuality.
So, if you crave to start a fresh chapter in your life, moving to a new country will certainly do the trick!
Moving abroad can be a giant leap for you and your career that will open numerous doors for you.
Before you make your move (pun intended), make sure to conduct thorough research on the countries and companies you are considering applying to and choose the ones that will help you further your professional journey, but will also help you achieve your personal life goals.
Have you ever moved abroad for work? What were some of the benefits you enjoyed from this experience? Let us know in the comments section below!
This article is an update of an earlier version published on 13 March 2017 and contains contributions from Mariliza Karrera.