Why should you work abroad?
Working in a foreign country for a while can do wonders both for your private and professional life. By using your adaptation skills and resourcefulness, you learn how to navigate another culture and language. After that, when you’re back home, every other challenge will seem like a piece of cake!
This is why many recruiters and HR experts highly value international work experience when looking at candidates. Having successfully managed some time in an international environment shows that you are not afraid to take risks, that you are ambitious, resourceful and versatile.
In this article, we will look at all the benefits of having international work experience, both in a general sense and in the context of job-seeking. This information will be valuable to:
- those who already have international work experience
- those who are preparing for their work trip
- those who are still deciding whether working in a foreign country is right for them
If you’re still undecided, you will surely be certain that you want to go for it after reading all of the benefits it will provide you!
1. Gets You Out of Your Comfort Zone
Going away on an international job placement is a sure-fire way to get out of your comfort zone in a matter of a few days. As soon as you start packing and leave for the airport, you will start feeling that you’re doing something brave and extraordinary.
Image source: The Wealth Hike (TWH)
Your international work journey might closely resemble this illustration in terms of your mindset and adaptation.
The fear zone sets in already while you are pondering whether you should go or not:
Lack of self-confidence
- Will I be able to pull this off?
- Am I good enough for this?
- Am I brave enough to actually go through with this?
- I can’t leave for x months – that’s crazy!
- I can’t leave my family and friends.
- I shouldn’t leave my current job position.
- I should be stay home during this time.
Being affected by others’ opinions
- My family would hate this idea.
- My friends would think I was crazy.
- What would people say about me going away?
As you can see, all of these questions are principally rooted in fear. Fear is a natural reaction that, in this case, serves to leave you safe and comfy in your well-known cocoon of a comfort zone. However, if you don’t manage these fear-based doubts, you won’t be able to reach the so-called “learning” and “growth” zone.
2. Creates and Boosts a Bunch of Skills
The list of skills and abilities that you acquire through international work is so long that it wouldn’t fit in a book, let alone this page.
In line with going out of your comfort zone, which we previously talked about, the learning and growth zone which is achieved during your time abroad makes it possible for your skill set to dramatically expand.
To see what it’s all about, try listing your skills before you go on your international work adventure. Then, list all of the abilities that you acquired and skills that you have learned or improved after you’re back. You will see that the list will be so long that it would simply be impossible to achieve that kind of feat at home.
Before you leave, you can also compose your own growth strategy checklist as a plan on which features you want to improve and increase.
3. Language Learning
If you’re going to a country where your native language isn’t the official language, you will have the chance to learn an additional language next to your own.
Being bilingual or multilingual has multiple benefits. Not only are language skills in high demand on today’s job market, but it also has many benefits for your personal growth. Speaking and understanding another language teaches you how to think differently.
In the science of language, this notion is known as linguistic relativity. This theory states that a person’s worldview is directly shaped by their language. You probably heard about some of the famous examples depicting this – e.g. Eskimos have 50 words for ‘snow’.
If you learn another language, not only will you obtain the ability to converse to people from another culture, but you will also get a new worldview that will allow you to look at a situation from many different perspectives, which is key to critical thinking and decision-making.
For language learning, there’s no better way to quickly advance and absorb a language than by being immersed in it in your daily life. That’s why international work will be the best opportunity to become fluent in another language.
4. Teaches Your Resourcefulness and Adaptability
You may get a bunch of support from your family and friends, but once you’re there, you’re mostly on your own. To tackle the forest of bureaucracy regarding visas, licenses and other official documents, you will have to figure out how everything’s done on your own. And on top of all that – in another country where you likely don’t speak the language very well!
Working internationally is much harder than your day-to-day challenges at home. While simultaneously juggling your work commitments and social life, you will have to adapt and change at the same time. When you are abroad, no two days are the same. That’s why your ability to adapt will be off the charts once you’re back.
5. Increases your cultural sensitivity
According to studies by Southeastern University, cultural sensitivity is defined as “being aware that cultural differences and similarities between people exist without assigning them a value”. In other words, practicing cultural sensitivity means being able to observe cultural differences without assigning them “right” or “wrong” labels.
In our increasingly globalized world and diversified workforce, sensibility to culture is extremely important. When you have international work experience, it’s much easier and simpler to work with people from other cultures. After all, you’ve spent some time completely immersed in a culture that’s not your own!
This is one of the most valuable personal and professional benefits that you will get by working abroad. You will quickly realize that every culture is different, but that these differences are precious.
6. International Work Differentiates You from Other Job Candidates
When you start applying for jobs, you will quickly see that international work experience will significantly help you stand out from the crowd.
Some HR experts even list international work as one of the top desirable resume sections among candidates. Not a lot of people have work experience in a foreign country, so even a shorter period of working abroad will help set you apart. Remember to highlight it on your resume and add some specific skills that you have acquired during this period.
Working in a foreign country might seem scary at first, but it will provide you with tons of benefits.
It’s a swift and impactful exit out of your comfort zone, so adaptation might be hard and intense in the beginning. However, when you finish your experience, you will be stronger than ever and ready to take on whole new challenges!
Kristin Savage is interested in writing and planning to publish her own book in the nearest future. Also, she has been a reviewer at Pick Writers for a few years and is known for her thorough approach to accurately assess newcomer translation services. You can find her on Facebook.