In today’s world, there are so many options for long-term traveling. Aside from hopping on a plane and backpacking your way through Europe, you can study abroad, volunteer with the Peace Corps or similar organization, work on a cruise ship, become an au pair for a family, join an intern abroad program or simply find a job abroad.
In my experience (ok I’ve only done it once, but still..), finding a job abroad is one of the best options. You can make money while you travel. Right after I graduated from college, I found a job in New Zealand on the internet. I figured out where I wanted to live, googled companies in my field and started contacting them. It may not work like this for you but it’s worth it to do the research, who knows what you could find! You can also use sites like WWOOF or Workaway.info to exchange your work for free accommodations and/or food.
Working abroad has allowed me to take control of my life, to meet incredible people and create new experiences every day.
Here are six reasons you should work abroad:
- Live like a local. Have you ever gone on vacation and, not only dreaded going back to the “real world,” but felt like there was so much more to learn and discover about the destination? You spent 10 days in Brazil but knew there were hundreds more restaurants to try, thousands more people to meet and millions of steps to be taken to discover new places. Working abroad gives you the opportunity to do it all. Spending time with locals in your favourite cafe can give you insight on the culture or getting lost in the next town over could lead to you discover a new hiking spot. Who knows, you might even find out about the underground dive bar only locals knows about.
- More freedom in your field. This depends on where in the world you are and the field you are in. Competition is very high in the U.S. and working abroad could allow you to have more freedom in what you do, say, write or research. A woman I met in Fiji had just moved there after getting her PhD from Texas A & M. She was in the psychology field and told me about how much freedom she and her small department had at their university – something she most likely wouldn’t have found in the U.S. Depending on the country you go to, your skills and expertise may be in high demand.
- Make yourself more hireable. If you were able to move your entire life to a new country where you didn’t know anyone, that’s impressive. If the company you work for is international, they might need someone who is willing to move abroad at some point. Working abroad shows you are adventurous, flexible and willing to try new things.
- Learn to spend money on experiences, not things. One thing I have noticed about myself living abroad has been the decrease in spending money on “things.” Back home I always had to buy a certain cardigan or new pair of trendy heels. Now that I am in New Zealand, it’s easier to prioritise where my money goes. My main priority is to travel and have fun experiences. Buying clothes or room decor is not going to help me travel to Australia in October.
- Spend less money. Depending on the country you work in, you might be able to save more money. The cost of living can vary from place to place and it might just be cheaper for you to live abroad. Unfortunately, this is not the case for me in New Zealand, as the cost of living here is outrageous (ugh). I have read that teaching abroad can have a pretty decent salary, which could make it easier to save in countries that have a lower cost of living.
- Find out who you really are. Traveling to “find yourself” was a line that used to make me want to vomit. It’s cheesy and cliche but it’s so true, ugh. Moving abroad is hard. You don’t know anyone, you have to completely start over, learn new cultural norms and sometimes learn a new language. It puts you to the test, mentally and emotionally, and you truly find out who you are on your best and worst days.
Living or working abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and if given the chance, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO IT.
How has working abroad changed your life? If you could work abroad anywhere in the world, where would you go? I would love to hear from you – leave your comments below!