6 Tips for Students Who Dream of Working Abroad

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Moving to Qatar for work was one of the greatest challenges I have ever faced. I had lived my whole life in an insignificant city, never leaving town even to go to university, and working in my city’s small hospital. Then I got married and decided that it would be a whole new definition of “fun” to tag along with my husband on his new offer in the far off, mysterious Middle East.

Many of us who leave to work abroad have different reasons why we choose to go international. Many of us do it for better work opportunities and for the chance to be more financially stable. Some do it to have a fresh start in life, knowing a change of scenery can help in moving on from whatever it is that held us up. It may have been a no-brainer decision for me to drop everything, move away to be with my husband, and earn more than what I normally would at back home. But it was also a decision spurred on by the desire to see and experience new culture and way of life that I would never get to do had I stayed in one place.

Nothing had prepared me for the experience. Now, after eight years, I can say that I have changed a lot because of that decision to move away and work far from my home and comfort zone.

So, whatever the reasons, here are some of my insights on how it is to work abroad:

  1. Research, research, research!
    It is always best to research and learn more about the place you are moving to BEFOREHAND. This is a good way to prepare yourself and know what to expect in your new place. It is important to know the cost of living, which should include your transportation, tax and any other living expenses. It would also be good to note where your new workplace would be, to have a good accommodation plan.
  2. Pack light, and pack right.
    What are the things that you need to bring with you? Bring as little as you can. This can help you save a lot in shipping. However, if it would be cheaper to bring things with you, then ship those items at least two months before you leave. The internet can easily tell you what's necessary to pack when moving to a specific place, like the important documents that you might need in your transition, paying attention to those that would be important in processing your visa. It would also be best to prepare all the documents needed for your new job, like your education records, previous employment certificates and references, even police clearance from your home country.
  3. Be adaptable.
    Being in a new place can throw a bit of a learning curve. Sometimes, what we know can mean an entirely different thing. It is best to know the basic law and etiquette expected from you, as an expat. It will help you avoid embarrassing moments, and even avoid a scrape with local law enforcement. Living in Qatar required that I respect their Islamic culture and laws, which included dressing modestly, never wearing anything that showed off too much skin even in the middle of a 120° summer day!
  4. Know your rights.
    It is always best to know the local labor laws and any other laws of the country you are moving to. Sometimes, your stay in the country can be tied to your employment contract. Once the contract expires, the visa can be cut off. It is best to know your options regarding this. Also, it is best to understand and study your contract. You need to know prior to signing what you are getting yourself into and your rights are as a worker in that specific country.
  5. Be frugal.
    Just because you are earning more doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to spend more. Learn to enjoy life in its simplicity. Most often, the best cultural experience is exploring the country in the ways of a local, and not by falling into those expensive tourist traps. Create a bucket list that will allow you to enjoy more, but spend less.
  6. Embrace the change in you.
    Living and working abroad will change you, for good and for bad, permanently. You will come to know yourself better and grow to be more independent. It will also change your relationships. Over time, your bonds to the people from your home country will change. Some people will just fade away from your life, while there will be newer bonds forged in your new adventure. You will also come to experience a different brand of freedom, in knowing that you have left and now the world is yours to explore.

Sarah JacobsSarah Jacobs is an experienced writer who loves creating articles that can benefit others. She has worked as a freelance writer in the past making informative articles and fascinating stories. She has extensive knowledge in a variety of fields such as technology, business, finance, marketing, personal development, and more. Find out more about her company here: http://www.lea-p.com/