Working abroad is a challenge that not everyone wants to undertake but once the relocation opportunity was presented to me at work, I didn’t hesitant at all. However, I also realized that moving overseas meant starting from scratch and getting used to a new culture and location.
It was quite a struggle for me to get used to the new environment especially since I was very much in my comfort zone in Singapore, living under the same roof as my parents. But I found out that the benefits can be immense.
Here are my reasons why working abroad can benefit your career:
Learning to adapt
When you are in a new work environment, you will need to adapt to the people around you. If you were in your original country, you wouldn’t have to worry about blending in because everyone is familiar with the work culture.
However, if you move to another country and work there, you have to contend with people with other working styles and backgrounds. That also means you will need to adapt to the working culture and be sensitive to their cultural values as well.
Global networking opportunities
Working abroad will also help you build new contacts. The people you work with overseas can introduce you to key contacts from other parts of the industry you may not be familiar with.
Through them, you will be able to keep up with changes in the industry and hone your knowledge about the industry– only this time it will be on a global scale.
Improving communication skills
As you learn to adapt to a new country, you will also find yourself able to relate to people from various backgrounds and beliefs. In turn, you learn how to talk to these people and engage them in meaningful discussions without (hopefully) creating a gaffe in the process.
You will also become confident in reaching out to these people and explaining your ideas clearly to them. I picked up Shanghainese as a dialect when I was working in Shanghai; even the local cab drivers were impressed.
Gaining a competitive edge
Having experience working abroad will help you out greatly if you intend to bring your career to the next level.
When you return back home from working abroad and apply for a new job, employers will take note of your overseas tenure. They will look into how your skills can benefit the company and it may open new opportunities for you to get a better position in the company.
As a freelancer now, I get plenty of opportunities knocking on my door because I have working experience in China. Many businesses want to tap into this knowledge to help expand their businesses there.
New life experiences
Finally, working abroad will help you gain life experiences you can’t easily learn in your home country. You will be able to strike out on your own, learn how to live in a land way different than your own and learn how to adjust. You will also be able to build a larger network of friends and take up activities you never considered when you were back home.
You may even be lucky if you find your ideal partner during your work overseas. I found my Mr. Right and made it through the hardship of maintaining a long-distance relationship for the two years I was working in Shanghai.
When you get the opportunity to work abroad, you should not fear the difficulties it may present to you at first. Sure, you have to adapt to a foreign land and learn things from step one. However, the benefits are immense once you persevere with your new life. You will not only become better as a professional, but it will also help you develop as a person. So, don’t hesitate to grab the opportunity when you are given the chance. Good luck!
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By: Kally Tay