Ever thought about working abroad during your placement year, vacation or after you graduate? Love the idea of experiencing a new culture and getting to grips with a new language? Looking for a chance to showcase your academic skills in a completely new environment? Working abroad, wherever you choose to go, will likely offer you an exciting and unique opportunity!
There will however be a few challenges too. Below is a quick guide on a few things to expect, some guidance on how to prepare, and some information to help you decide if a job or placement abroad is the right decision for you.
Is it right for you? Starting any new job can be daunting, but doing so abroad, away from home and familiarity definitely offers extra challenges. It’s normal to expect a bit of homesickness, even if you are travelling to a beautiful, exotic country! However, if the thought of being away from creature comforts gives you sleepless nights, maybe it is better to come back to the idea in a couple of years?
Is it right for your career? Research your preferred career path and think about how working abroad could help to give you a competitive edge over other candidates, for example, through developing your language skills or giving you international work experience. Working abroad shows independence, resilience and ability to problem solve, as well as cultural awareness and enhanced communication skills, which can be very impressive to potential recruiters. However, on the other hand, maybe England is home to the leading companies in your field? Whilst working next to a beach might sound appealing, is it going to help you secure your dream job?
How can the Employability & Careers Centre help?
- GoinGlobal: This is a fantastic resource if you’re considering working abroad. Packed with country-specific career information, each guide has been developed by a local career specialist, updated annually and features detailed resources to help you in your job search. The country career guides give specific CV and interview advice for their particular country. There is also a database of international jobs and internships, which is searchable by country. To access GoinGlobal, make sure you are connected to the University network and then log in here to create your own account and make full use of the system.
- Speak to our Careers Advisers to talk through your ideas about working abroad and get their advice on the best way to approach this.
- Want to do your Professional Training Year abroad? Get in touch with your department Senior Professional Training Tutor or speak to a member of the Professional Training team for some initial advice! Details of Erasmus/International placements can be found here.
- Interview help: Any interviews that you have will likely be Skype or telephone based, so check Surrey Pathfinder for tips on how to prepare.
- Job seeking: There are lots of vacancies abroad advertised on Surrey Pathfinder.
Advice for settling in…
- Get to grips with the culture! Do a bit of reading up on what to expect in the country you are thinking of going to. A simple guide book can offer quite a lot of insight into a country that goes beyond the best bars to visit! Discover information on local laws and cultural etiquette which you may otherwise overlook.
- Start learning the language before you go! Whilst you may only need English for your job, perhaps you’d like to socialise in the evenings and weekends?
- Perhaps you have a relative or friend living in the area where you are hoping to work? Now could be a really good time to get in touch with them! Having someone you know in contactable distance of where you live can provide you with support and stability, especially during the first few weeks of your stay.
The boring but important stuff…
- Budgeting – it’s important to calculate all of your expenses including Visas, food, accommodation and living cost.
- Healthcare – If you get sick whilst abroad, are you covered with the correct medical insurance? Also find out about the healthcare services offered in the country you will be working in. Check with your GP if you need any specific vaccinations.
- Check that your passport is in date! If not, you will need a new one – which can take time to secure – before you can leave.
- Will you require a visa? If so, what type of visa? Get help from student services who can provide information about visa compliance.
As long as you realise that working abroad can take quite a lot of preparation, doing so can be a very rewarding and exciting experience that can suit a wide variety of personalities! Good luck with the job search and don’t hesitate to ask for help from the Employability & Careers Centre!