Depending on where you’re from, you may either be quick to jump on the opportunity of living and working abroad or stay behind to build a career back home. In Hong Kong, for example, four out of five employees would shun traveling abroad for work, while Chinese counterparts have a totally different situation, with a measly 2% choosing local work instead of going international.
Interestingly, both countries, along with New Zealand, Belize, the UK, Switzerland, and a few others, are in the Business Insider’s top 10 list of best countries for expat employees, suggesting that working abroad is a matter of personal choice as well.
Those who have experienced working abroad swear by it as a life-changing experience on both personal and professional levels. A number of them find the opportunity a golden one and would encourage others to try their luck, at least once in their lifetime.
Here’s a round-up of reasons that motivate expats to pack up their bags and build their career elsewhere, and which you should consider too:
1. To do the impossible
Migrating is tough by any measure. You leave your old, familiar life and set foot on a foreign land where you have to start from scratch—most of the time, all on your own. However, to do it means you’re bold enough to see what’s on the other side of the world.
2. To explore other cultures
If you would like to satisfy your curiosity, experience diversity, and understand how one community exists as it does, you’ll definitely welcome the experience. Explorers are such a great breed that if they could go to Mars, they would hop on to the next NASA space mission.
3. The boring stuff: bigger income
Surely, you wouldn’t settle for anything less than what you would get or are getting back home, so you go out for greener pasture.
If you’re from the freelancer bunch whose most prized possessions are your laptop, along with a good Wi-Fi connection, you could earn yourself more money in countries like Ecuador, Thailand, or Singapore where work from home opportunities abound to help you offset the reasonable to pricey cost of living.
4. To bring back some learning
Patriotism is not dead. For a number of professionals abroad, settling away from home is not the ultimate goal. Some would want to bring back what they learned abroad to their motherland.
For example, Americans are very low key when it comes to status and wealth. So, to a Filipino migrant in the United States, it may be a personal crusade to come back home in time and teach fellow Filipinos to be less obsessed about titles and more humble with their wealth.
5. To adorn your CV
Having an international job history on your CV / Resume makes you an attractive candidate for recruiters. It speaks highly of your ability to break through social barriers, to adapt to new surroundings, and take on challenges in an unfamiliar territory.
6. To shift gears
Other people see working abroad as an opportunity to discover what their passion really is. Perhaps being away from one’s comfort zone could help a person reflect on which route to choose as far as career is concerned. Plus, there’s less pressure from family or friends in case you fail on your first few attempts.
7. To be globally competitive
If you finally decide on a career or industry of your choice, working in a foreign country can give you a different kind of perspective on how things are being done elsewhere. If later, you decide to expand your boundaries, you could be way ahead of your peers in terms of global advantage and competitiveness.
8. To make extraordinary memories
Despite the associated challenges, starting fresh somewhere can be a memorable journey. Meeting new coworkers, living like the locals, learning a different language, and adapting to your surroundings—all of these could add value to your personal and professional life.
9. To seize the day
Not everyone is given a chance to travel to see the world and work. Some wait forever for a chance like this to come but are less fortunate.
For some, the opportunity might come a little too late, especially if you have been working on tenure for the longest time. But if the opportunity presents itself to you, like your company sending you on a special work assignment or you land a job from your own fruition, then, by all means, embrace that opportunity.
Working abroad may not be for everyone, as it will all boil down to various contributing factors such as your capabilities, goals, readiness, and others.
If you’re doing OK where you are right now, well then good for you. But if you’re the sort that feels like conquering the world and gaining valuable experiences along the way, the way to your dreams is well within reach.