Working abroad offers the opportunity to expand your horizons, develop yourself personally, and immerse yourself in a foreign culture. Whether you opt to teach English in Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam or Myanmar, you are signing up for so much more than a run-of-the-mill trip overseas. The experiences you live through whilst working abroad may not be a souvenir you can bring home with you but they will transform you fundamentally as a person and impart invaluable skills which will benefit you for the rest of your life – both on a personal and professional level.
While it may not be a drawing factor initially, an added benefit of working abroad is that it makes you more employable. Aside from the fact that you will be able to make killer pad thai or spring rolls for your office Christmas parties, there are a few more reasons why you will be a more employable candidate for your dream job after some time living and working in a foreign country.
In summary, here are 7 reasons why working abroad boosts your employability:
- You are more independent
- You can handle the unexpected with poise and efficiency
- You are more adaptable and take initiative
- You are a self-starter with a high dose of ambition and drive
- Your resume and experience stands out from the crowd
- Your network and career prospects have grown
- Working abroad teaches you the importance of cultural sensitivity
1. You are more independent
When you work abroad, you’re surrounded by people with different beliefs, cultures, and even languages than you. This means that you are forced to learn how to rely less on others and more on yourself.
A lot of times this also means making decisions that you would have previously second-guessed or asked someone about first. In turn, you become a more independent and confident employee, experienced solving problems and making decisions on your own.
2. You can handle the unexpected with poise and efficiency
Living abroad can be challenging. From handling the ins and outs of everyday life to handling bigger issues, like homesickness and medical affairs, you learn to expect the unexpected and take things as they come.
Issues and surprises that may have previously stumped you or caused anxiety now seem like simple problem solving. If you could handle the rural Thailand hospital visit for a common cold with charades and Google translate, you can certainly handle that presentation deadline being rescheduled at the last minute.
3. You are more adaptable and take initiative
Teachability and self-awareness are important attributes to any employer. While innovation is welcome, it’s important to show that you’re able to jump right into the daily operations and play your role in the show.
Having worked abroad proves that you can do this, as you have probably spent a lot of time figuring out how things work from observing and asking others. You know how to figure out exactly where you’re needed and bring your own valuable input to these areas.
4. You are a self-starter with a high dose of ambition and drive
Moving to another country is no easy feat. Between visas, time zones, language barriers, and culture shock, your past experience proves that you are willing to go above and beyond to achieve your goals.
You are a risk taker who’s willing to step out of your comfort zone, and have seen proof of the payoff from going the extra mile. This, when translated to the career realm, makes for an employee who will set professional goals and commit themselves to accomplishing them.
5. Your resume and experience stands out from the crowd
The head of HR or the founder of the startup you’ve applied for may not remember your GPA or what school you went to from a once-over of your resume or CV, but that year spent teaching English in South Korea or volunteering on the Wildlife Conservation project in South Africa will certainly catch his or her eye.
Furthermore, if your interviewer asks you about your experience in the interview process, you have the opportunity to showcase all of the soft skills you picked up that may not be considered when they skimmed your resume the first time, such as your adaptability, cultural sensitivity, problem-solving skills.
6. Your network and career prospects have grown
It is no secret that you meet people while travelling, but it may surprise you how many different occupations you will encounter. While living and working abroad, you will hear of jobs that you didn’t even know existed.
While travelling you become aware of many different occupations that are possible to do remotely, and you could end up making a connection that leads to a future company or client. In our increasingly globalized world, you will meet people from all over the world who may very well have a job you have never even heard of.
7. Working abroad teaches you the importance of cultural sensitivity
Living in a foreign place where you do not know the native tongue brings forth patience. The interpersonal and cultural sensitivity that is fostered when living abroad remains with you forever and makes you a more affable and easy going person and, in turn, an easier person to work with. More importantly though, it makes you a more respectful person, who is able to think objectively, not pass judgement on others, and collaborate with people from all walks of life.
These are just a few of the innumerable benefits of working abroad. Our participants find their experiences lead to internal growth and change evident long after their program ends. And while these benefits all relate to your employability, they also have a major impact on your personal life, bringing you home with a greater sense of self-discovery, purpose and direction. You return home not only more employable but more aware of what your calling is in life, and that is better than any souvenir.
With all the personal and professional benefits that come with teaching and volunteering abroad, what are you waiting for?