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Ten Working Abroad Tips

The thought of working abroad is incredibly exciting to many people – it gives people the chance to broaden their horizons, see some of the wider world, meet new people, have new experiences and learn about other cultures, languages, religions and ways of life.

If you’re thinking of going overseas to find employment for a few weeks, months or even years, the Shelter Offshore ten working abroad tips will help you get your mind focused and your self organised and will help you make your dream of overseas employment that much more real and tangible.

1) The first thing you need to do is decide where you want to go and work!  This may sound very obvious – but aside from picking a random nation to land in and bestow your skills upon, there is actually a little more thought that needs to go into picking a location.  So, first pick the country that you want to work in…

2) Then pick the region or even town or city that you want to base yourself in.  For example, you’ve just finished studying French at university and you want to go to France for the summer and work.  Well, do you want to head for the south coast and work in a tourist bar, do you want to end up in Paris working as an au pair, would you prefer to wait until December and go to Chamonix and teach people to ski?

3) With a nation and a location in mind you have to think about getting a work permit or residency visa – if you’re an EU national and you’re going to work in another EU country then you will not have to worry so much about this side of things.  It’s likely that you will have to register your presence in the nation with the local police station of immigration office – but for those going further afield or for Aussies, Americans or Kiwis heading for Europe, there is paperwork to be completed.  Contact the nearest embassy to you of the country you want to travel to and work in.  Embassies are usually in capital cities and they often have a strong web presence as well which can at least give you a basic grounding in the paperwork you will need to complete to be allowed to work abroad.

4) With the country, the city and the paperwork sorted it’s time to think about actually working abroad and the capacity in which you are hoping to be employed.  If you’re simply seeking casual work and you don’t mind what you do, it can be sufficient to just arrive and go from bar to bar, farm to farm or shop to shop asking for a job.  For those more serious about their overseas career development or for those who will require a certain level of income abroad, research into what’s available has to be done before you go.

5) Looking for jobs abroad can be done via the Internet – you can contact employment agencies local to the country or even town you’re hoping to head for, you can contact agencies specialising in international recruitment, you can contact agencies specialising in recruiting for the work you’re hoping to secure.  Additionally you can often get hold of newspapers from all over the world on the Internet – and jobs are often advertised therein – or the final option open to you is directly targeting potential employers with an application for employment.

6) Another top tip is thinking about whether you know people who live abroad.  If you do, are they in locations that you might like to work in?  If so this can be a great way in for you to get acclimatised to living and working abroad.  Think about the useful people you know and consider targeting them for advice and assistance with your plans to work overseas – you’ll be surprised how happy people are to help when you show an interest in their lives and their nation.  You never know, they might even offer to put you up while you find your feet and they may even be able to introduce you to useful contacts for employment purposes.

7) If you want to travel and work abroad, consider getting a qualification or gaining skills in an area of employment that is portable.  One of the favourite choices for those hoping to live all over the world and work is TEFL – or teaching English as a foreign language.  The best, most recognised courses are those that are accredited by the Cambridge examinations board – steer clear of distance learning or Internet based courses as you will gain no practical experience and employers will not give your resume a second glance.  Other portable skills include things like PADI Dive Master for example, and anything where you can carry on working where you left off in the last nation!

8) If you have a particular skill or area of expertise and you’re not sure where in the world you want to work abroad, try and find out where your skills or areas of expertise are most in demand.  Naturally enough, where there is demand for the talent you possess, the easier it will be for you to find gainful employment.

9) Think about the financial aspect of moving abroad very seriously.  Even if you have a job lined up for when you arrive or you intend to bum around and don’t care if you earn all that much, you will have an initial outlay at least for accommodation.  So you will need some money behind you before you even leave home and what’s more, you should always have a little in reserve for a flight home in case it doesn’t work out and you don’t like living and working overseas.

10) And finally – even before you go and certainly when you’re on the road travelling overseas, remember to network actively!  It’s not what you know in life but who you know!  When it comes to getting on in life, you can never have too many useful contacts.  Make friends, go out of your way to be polite and friendly and always keep names and addresses given to you, you never know when you might need or want to call in a favour.  But remember, it works both ways, you have to give to receive and so if someone calls you asking for advice about your experiences of working abroad, take a little time out, be honest and helpful. Chances are your kind deed will be repaid in some way down the line when you’re looking for a new job or a new place to live perhaps.