Working abroad as a young professional has its rewards. For some, the idea evokes images of charm and adventure. The truth is that it’s not always so dazzling. Working in a foreign country has its challenges. However, those challenges reap big rewards. Rewards like travelling more and broadening your horizons – both professionally and personally.
After finishing college, I left the United States to find work in Norway. I had six months to find a full-time job that was specific to my degree. Those six months consisted of filling out job applications, taking language courses and learning to like brown cheese on waffles. Here are three advantages to working abroad:
Travel more. Working abroad is a great way to see the world. What better way to expand your world view while being paid? It doesn’t hurt that Norwegian employers are required to give their employees 25 days of paid time off each year. Having grown up in the US, taking weekend trips around Europe was not a realistic option. Now, travelling to other countries can be as easy as a 2 hour plane ride, with much cheaper airfare. For young professionals who aspire to travel, what’s not to love?
Grow professionally. People with international experience have a competitive advantage in the working world. Employers are attracted to people who’ve worked abroad because they appreciate the intrinsic value of having that experience. They recognize that you have overcome significant obstacles. Not only that, working abroad gives professionals the opportunity to foster a global network of contacts. Since starting my career at Visma last January, I have had the opportunity to build relationships with people in my field on an international level.
Grow personally. In any walk of life, the key to survival is adaptability. Working abroad helps you hone this quality, making you more versatile and resourceful. An article written by Harvard Business Review suggests that people who have lived in more than one country are better problem-solvers and display more creativity. Moving to Oslo has strengthened my independence, and resourcefulness as I continue to learn that I must trust my own initiative and draw on my personal experiences. Learning how to overcome obstacles helps with becoming more decisive, analysing problems more carefully, and weighing up difficulties more easily.
Of course, international travel is not a cure all, but it is an option for some. As young professionals, we have little to lose and a whole world of experience to gain.
Have you ever considered applying for work outside of your home country? If so, what keeps you from doing so?