So, you want to see a bit more of the world, but at the same time work on your professional development? Spending time working abroad could be the answer you’re looking for.
Working abroad comes with some obvious benefits: a chance to travel, experience different countries and cultures and make new friends. But aside from allowing you to tick off items on your personal bucket list, you’re also getting valuable work experience, which can prepare you for entering the world of work full-time post-university.
Moreover, you’re picking up key transferable skills that employers love to see. Think about the confidence you will build up as you travel to another country by yourself and the independence and adaptability you will develop as you adjust to a new way of living and working. It can also help you to become more resilient as you may be faced with unexpected scenarios or setbacks. And then there’s the language aspect: it’s much easier to pick up a new language when you’re totally immersed in it.
What could you do?
You could join a graduate scheme or internship related to your career aspirations, take a summer job in a camp or a volunteering opportunity within a local community or conservation area. Start by asking yourself three questions:
1. Where do you want to go?
2. For how long?
3. And, crucially, what you want to get out of it?
How do you find opportunities?
It could be as easy as talking to friends and family; they may have worked abroad themselves or may know people in other countries who can help you out. Also reach out to your online network or use LinkedIn to find alumni from your course who now live and work elsewhere in the world. Don’t be afraid to send them a friendly message asking for advice – it’s very likely they’ll be happy to help! Asking your career service is also always a great idea or check out working abroad websites such as Oyster Worldwide in the UK, Go Abroad in the US and STA Travel in Australia.
What do you need to consider?
Obviously, working abroad isn’t usually a spur of the moment decision and there’s some essential planning and preparation that needs to take place first, such as calculating the costs of your international venture, checking visa and passport requirements and whether you need any vaccinations, to just name a few. Reading up about language and cultural differences and getting to grips with local workplace practices and etiquette is also a vital part of preparation.
So, whether you plan on spending a month doing a marketing internship in Italy or a year helping endangered marine mammals in Australia, there are enormous benefits to be reaped from spending a period of time working abroad. But, plan your time away carefully and consider all of your options before taking the leap.