Perks and Disadvantages of Working/Living Abroad
More and more, people seem to be looking outside of their own countries to find work. There may be various reasons for this, one of which is the economic status of many countries. There is also the fact that the idea of living in a novel location is practically irresistible for some people. Whatever reason you may have for toying around with the idea of looking for a job in another country, it might be one of the best things you can consider!
Why do people get suckered into working and living abroad? (Note: I use the word suckered without the negative connotation!) Here are some compelling reasons.
- A sense of excitement. Visiting a new place, not to mention different, is always an exciting endeavor. Add to that the idea of actually living in that environment and experiencing a life that may be far from what you are used to, and you have a perfect recipe for adventure. The sense of excitement that working and living abroad is hard to beat!
- A chance to broaden your cultural horizons. Living abroad always means being exposed to cultural practices that may be different from yours. This can be a frightening thought for some, but if you look at things in a positive light, this is a great opportunity to learn new things. You get to see people from a different angle, and you may very well gain a new perspective of life.
- An opportunity to learn a new language. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of being multilingual, or at least bilingual, and the best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in an environment where the target language is spoken everywhere. That will help you pick up the nuances of the language and force you to use it on a regular basis as well. If there is one thing you might as well take away from living abroad, I think it is learning the local language.
- A sense of having a fallback. Think about it. If you work and live abroad, you always have the option of going back home. There is a fallback in case you get tired of being an expat. Compare this to the situation where you work and live in your hometown. The only other option is to move away, which is not always as easy as going home!
As compelling as working and living abroad can be, we cannot ignore the downside of doing so. There are certain things that you ought to consider before making the jump.
- Loneliness. This is one of the biggest issues that people working and living abroad face, especially if they do so alone, without friends or family. While there is the Internet for constant communication back home, the distance can still be felt. However, if you do not have strong ties at home, or you make friends easily, this should not pose a problem for you.
- Culture shock. Okay, I mentioned broadening your cultural horizons as a perk, but it is also important to realize that in certain places, the cultural differences may put a strain on you. There are so many examples of this, but the point is that you have to be prepared to go out of your comfort zone and accept that other cultures do things differently. It is not wrong, just different. And if you cannot accept that, you might want to reconsider moving to another country.
- Starting from zero. If you are fortunate, you will find a job at the same level you are in right now. If your company operates in different countries, then you may be sent to a different place. No issues there. If you are looking to relocate and find a different job with a new company, however, there are no guarantees that you will start where you are at. You might very well have to go back to square one. More than the job status, this can also mean a lower income. Are you ready for that possibility?
Best Places to Live
Once you have decided on whether you can actually leave your comfort zone and try out a new adventure, it is time to take a look at the possibilities. Of course, if you have been offered a job at a specific country, you do not have much choice. If, however, your options are still open, you might want to take a look at this infographic which details the best countries to work and live in 2012.
It covers Asia, Europe, Australia, and America, so you can take your pick!