A few years back I remember somebody telling me that any job I did at home, I could do abroad as well.
My first reaction was not a sense of enlightenment, and I didn’t feel inspired at all. In fact I distinctly remember scoffing at the idea and sticking to my opinion that there were only a few places, and a few ways, in the world where I could get a decent job. Stick it out through school, sludge through exams and then hope to land an internship with some big monopoly of a company.
Ah, to be young and naïve again.
The truth is, I now know, that you can land pretty much any job, anywhere in the world. And there is no secret either. You just have to get out there and find it. Easier said than done though, right?
Well if you really want to get out, see the world, and absorb a new lifestyle and experiences, then you are going to have to work for it. Yes, opportunities abroad are endless, yes, you can realize your dreams, but it isn’t going to be handed to you.
So where do you start? How can you become one of those lucky people that don’t have to schlep their way to the office through rush hour traffic or cram themselves inside a tiny cuticle?
Just follow along because the payoff is going to be worth it.
Work Abroad Arrangements
In reality there are 3 main types of work that you will find abroad. You can he hired on a contract from a company at home, you may be hired on a national contract by a company in the country you are headed to, or you can venture off into the world of self-employment and freelancing.
The most desirable work arrangement is often the contract given to you by a company of your current residence. You will be paid in your currency, receive a number of benefits and be assured quite a lot of job security. In this situation the employer will often pay for your entire move, cover a portion of your rent, pay taxes and supply you with a lot of the everyday goods and services you need. Sounds pretty sweet right? However this is the work that is tough to find, for obvious reasons.
On a national contract you will be paid in the local currency and will be given a salary that is competitive to what other people in your position make within that region. This means that you will often be paid less than you would a home, but you have to keep in mind that the cost of living is usually a lot lower. The problem with this type of work abroad is that there are a lot of entry barriers you have to deal with in terms of visas, regulations and taxes.
Your third option is to start your own business in your new destination or take to freelancing in whatever facet or arena you enjoy or are skilled at. Most expats that utilize this option to move abroad have at least a few years of experience under their belts and a strong foundation and business plan put in place.
Choosing a Country and Putting Plans in Motion
No matter which avenue you find most available, or choose to take, your first step is to figure out which country or destination you would like to head to. What you may want to do is set a concrete deadline sometime between 6 to 12 months ahead in which you will make the move abroad, even if your search from home does not pan out. This allows you the time needed to try and land a contract at home but still keeps the plan in motion and keeps you inspired to move forward if you can’t.
Start off with a certain region and then start narrowing your choices down to different cities. Search the internet, peruses website such as ours, and figure out what sort of culture, atmosphere and life you would enjoy the most. The earlier you can choose a destination the easier it will be to make contacts in the country, brush up on a new language and even save money.
Searching for a Job from Home
What a lot of people do not realize is that the search for a job abroad is a lot similar to a normal job search. You often use the same strategies and tools that you would locally and the main focal point of the entire search is to network, make contacts, and get your name out there.
For starters let’s say that you chose Belize as the place you want to live and work in. Try your best to surround yourself with the idea and slightly mention it to most people around you. If you mention the fact that you are planning to move to Belize in a year in most conversations that you have, you will be surprised at how easy it is to network. You really up your chances that you will meet someone willing to show you around, someone who has been there before, or even someone who can offer you a job.
Moving to or Visiting your Target Country
Very few expats actually land a decent job or head off to a new country with a job in hand. There are an infinite number of companies and employers that will not search for employees abroad and just wait for the right candidate to show up on their doorstep. So that is often what you have to do.
Before you pack your bags and take off with a few dollars in your pocket, try and speak to other expats and people who have been to the country before. This will give you a solid idea of how much money you will need in order to stay afloat during your job search, which can last around 3 months or even longer.
Your first priority when heading abroad is to locate affordable accommodations. Through proper networking you may have been able to make contacts which can help house you for a few days, and if not you should look into vacation rentals and other accommodations that offer a monthly rate. You can also peruse the local newspapers for classified ads asking for roommates.
Another important “tip” to keep in mind is that you will really benefit from meeting local expats and networking with them. While you may be moving abroad as a way to get away and truly indulge in a new culture, expats who have done it all before can be a great help. It is through these people where you will find the most success in terms of finding a place to live and a job abroad.
Self-employed expats follow much the same path as those looking to gain contracted employment. Most freelancers will move abroad and live on a tight budget from project to project, until they can establish a name for themselves within the community or a certain industry. While experience can help you a lot, it really is a stubborn drive and determination that will get your foot in the door. Just keep in mind that while freelancing doesn’t always mean a steady paycheck, it comes with a lot less investment than opening your own business.
You can make your dream of moving, living and working abroad a reality. You just need a slight push in the right direction and be willing to put a little bit of work in. No matter where you want to live, what sort of work you would like to do, or when you want to move, there are opportunities out there. Just do your homework, meet the right people and take the leap.
Chances are your goals are going to catch you and make all the work more than worthwhile.