5 Ways Working Abroad Can Improve Your Career Prospects
Published: 09 Aug 2016 By Laura Chetcuti
This month we are looking at all things travel-related and the opportunities you can grab by the horns if you decide to relocate to work abroad for any period of time. To kick it off, we've had a think about some of the advantages of working abroad and how it can help to improve your overall career prospects:
- It opens unexpected doors
So to give a minor example here, when I was 21 years old, I decided to take myself off to New York for the summer completely alone, to gain a little bit of work experience with a global fashion house that I already had solid connections with in London. It’s a scary thing for a 21 year old girl to do – I surprised myself with my boldness!
At every turn during my time in New York City, I met smart, inspiring and talented people, all of whom had different stories to tell and they all remain valuable connections to me now, both in business and on a personal level. I met people who worked in fashion (obviously), property, TV and entertainment who all hailed from contrasting walks of life and came complete with their own unique set of quirks and phrases (yes phrases!). I wouldn’t have opened those doors if I wasn’t brave enough to do it in the first place. If I turned round tomorrow and just fancied moving to New York, Norway or Iceland, I know that I’ve got strong connections with business owners, locals and employees at standout companies to help me and connect me – something I’d never have had otherwise. Unexpected doors!
- It can improve your foreign language skills
There is no better way to learn a foreign language than moving to the country that speaks it natively and immersing yourself fully into its culture. We all know how valuable foreign language skills are, so what better perk is there to relocating abroad for work? You'll improve your career prospects back home significantly as many businesses will pay a premium for a foreign language. FACT.
- Cross-cultural communication and appreciation
This is so important in the multi-cultural world that we live in today! Working abroad exposes you to a wide variety of people, both locals and foreigners alike. Building an understanding of how other cultures operate and gaining a kind of empathy that requires you to not only be considerate of others, but to be patient too. It is invaluable life experience, not just for your career, but to enrich you as a person too (sounds fluffy and GAH but it's undeniably true). It also teaches you how to adapt to different situations quickly and effectively, whilst remaining professional as well as giving you the opportunity to apply your understanding in real time. If you’re in a role which requires you to converse regularly with clients and customers (particularly on a global scale), cross-cultural communication is a skill that will propel you a million steps further forward.
- A break!
If you’re living in the UK you’ll DEFINITELY understand this point (weather-wise at least) but it’s relatable to professionals globally. Sometimes it’s just so great to get away! To be able to go abroad, even for just one year, would be such a luxury and a great way to finally cut yourself off from the stale socks in your life and inject a bit of fresh air into the mix. It can be so motivating to be doing new things in your career, and actually, shoved sharply out of your comfort zone you’ll find that you do more things that you wouldn’t necessarily do in your career at home.
- Pushes you out of your comfort zone
Similarly to some of the points made above, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is so important for your career and it really can inspire and motivate you to do more than you’d usually indulge in work-wise. They say do one thing everyday that scares you. Why not take the plunge, work abroad and do something that may seem terrifying at first but where you will reap an unimaginable collection of benefits in the long run.