So you want to be a World Warrior?
My work in the gaming industry has allowed me to live in six different countries: Canada, the United States, India, Malta, Poland and the Netherlands. (Possibly seven, if you count my extended vacation in Costa Rica, due to the current travel restrictions.) During my career, I’ve learned quite a lot about moving and adapting to new places. If you’ve always dreamed of being a World Warrior yourself, here are five tips on how to be working abroad:
1. Apply for the Job
Sounds obvious, right? It is, but it can also be daunting to apply for a job outside of the country. There are a lot of “what-ifs” involved, so the best way to start sorting through them is by applying. Make your decisions later when you’re actually offered the job. I recommend using LinkedIn Jobs and selecting “Worldwide” as your preferred location, so you can see what’s out there for working abroad.
2. Do Your Research
Learn absolutely everything you can about your country of interest. Do you know what the cost of living is? How about the exchange rates? The taxes? The languages they speak? What their culture is like? You can adjust to anything, but it will be a lot easier if you know that you’re moving to a region where they only speak French, 50% of your salary goes to taxes, and your take home pay is significantly less than you thought it was going to be because you didn’t double-check the exchange rates. Just sayin’.
3. Make Friends Before You Move
Moving to a new country can be really isolating. I highly suggest joining an expatriate group on Facebook or connecting with other folks via InterNations.org. Also, find out what kind of resources your new employer has available. Have they hired outside of the country before? Do they offer local language classes for employees? What is their onboarding plan for new hires? It’s important to ask up front so you know what you’re getting into.
4. Plan for Things to Not Move Quickly
Visas and other necessary documents can take quite a lot of time to process, and you have almost zero control over that process. Plus, you’re no longer in your country, so plan on the rules you’re used to not applying. Learn the rules of the new game of course, but most importantly – learn to laugh at life (and at the process). If you can do that, people from any country will laugh with you, and you’ll be just fine.
5. Get a Dual Citizenship
A lot of people can qualify for dual citizenship and don’t realize it. Having dual citizenship can help a company decide to hire you over someone else who might have to go through a lengthy visa process (ahem, see above). If you’re somewhere like the European Union, it can allow for freedom of movement between countries, which also means freedom of job prospects. Like anything else, do your research and make sure you won’t have to pay double taxes, but generally dual citizenship is a win-win!
Those were my 5 tips for working abroad. Let me know in the comments below what you think and if you have any questions. Thanks for reading!