Working abroad can be one of the most exciting adventures of your life. From seeing incredible places to meeting amazing new people, working abroad doesn’t just expand your career horizons, it also changes the way you see and experience the world. Going on a vacation is great, but there’s something really unique about immersing yourself in a new culture and living like the locals do, all while being paid!
In order to set yourself up for success on your working abroad journey, here are the top essential things you need to know to be a working abroad pro.
Get the job
If this is your first foray into working abroad, already having a job lined up before you go can make a world of difference. Many workers simply transfer within their existing company. But, for those who are making a bigger transition, the gig economy offers lots of options. Explore remote jobs using sites like We Work Remotely or freelance platforms like Upwork. Whether you transfer with your existing company, or you work through an agency, knowing that you have a job on the other end of your journey will make the transition much smoother and set you up for success in your new role as an expat.
Save before you go
Even if you have a job lined up before you take off, you’ll need to save up to at least 2 months of living costs for your new country just to cover your bases. There are many unforeseen expenses that can come up. Having that safety net will prevent you from going into unnecessary debt. Whether it’s hidden broker’s fees for finding somewhere to live or inflated costs for buying new furniture, you can never have too much extra cash to help get you settled in your new city.
Get the right adaptors
It may seem oddly specific, but the number one tool you will need abroad is your multi-country adaptor. This is a nonnegotiable as every country has their own unique electrical situation. Since replacing all of your electronics is serious overkill, the adaptor will become your best friend. One piece of advice: make sure you check the voltage of your electronics and that they adhere to that country’s standards. No adapter in the world is going to save your hairdryer if you plug it in and it’s the wrong voltage.
Learn about money transfers and credit cards
When you first move to a new country, getting set up with a bank account can prove tricky and time consuming. Getting a credit card can be even more complicated. You could be using your country of origin credit cards for quite some time. Make sure that you have a card that has no foreign fees. Bring a backup card that you don’t carry with you on your person. If your credit card gets stolen or goes missing, you won’t have a bank you can just walk into to replace it. It can take some time for replacement cards to arrive, so keep yourself covered by having a spare.
Get international health insurance
Speaking of coverage, getting health insurance can feel rather daunting. Each country has their own set of rules about health insurance, and you may not be eligible for a local plan. In order to mitigate the stress around this, there are a number of different international health insurance plans that can cover you to varying degrees. Many of these are affordable and will give you peace of mind. For full local comprehensive coverage, discuss options with your employer and see if they can supplement your international insurance plan or offer you a local plan as part of your package.
Research the visas
Many countries require that you obtain a work permit or visa to work legally before entering the country. The visa process can be complicated and lengthy and depends quite heavily on whether your job will be organizing it for you or if you need a lawyer to help you on your way. There are a myriad of scenarios that can come up depending on your country of origin, as well as the agreements that your country of origin has with the country you are going to. Don’t despair, because there is a light at the end of the paperwork tunnel as long as you’re organized and well informed.
Bring prepared before you jet off on your adventure will help mitigate a myriad of different problems that can pop up when you’re first settling in. There will be days where you feel overwhelmed and unsure of your next move. Just remember – this is an incredible opportunity and once you get to know how your new digs operate, you’ll be living like the locals in no time!