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The Pros and Cons of Working Abroad

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor

Sometimes, when you're watching a commercial for the military, it might be a bit tempting to you. OK, perhaps not the military position itself, but all of the traveling that comes with it. The truth is, there are a lot of opportunities for and benefits to working abroad.

If you've found yourself considering it more and more, but you're looking for some additional information on both the pros and the cons of being employed overseas, check these out.

PRO: It exposes you to a whole new culture that can inspire you to consider a new way of life. Sometimes when we're living in our own side of the world (same block, same friends, some activities), we get caught up into the routine of it all. There are many studies to support that the more you travel, the better your life experience is because it makes you more open-minded, which makes you more flexible and willing to try new things, which is always a good thing.

CON: If you don't adjust well, it can be a very hard transition for you. When you're working abroad, it's very rare that you can get some of your family or friends to go with you. So, if you're someone who needs the physical presence of a support system, it can be extremely challenging to go for months on end with only a phone and the Internet to keep you in touch with your loved ones.

PRO: It's a creative way to make good money. This doesn't mean that it will make you a millionaire by any means. But, if you're having a hard time finding employment in the States, not only are there many job options for people interested in working overseas, but the exchange rate oftentimes puts the American dollar on top. So, the cost of living in one place, for what you are getting paid there, could end up having you living far more comfortably than if you were trying to use that salary to survive in your own hometown.

CON: If you don't like where you live, it's hard to really enjoy it. Some people go to work overseas without doing some thorough research beforehand on anything other than the job itself. So, they move unaware of the language, food, living conditions, politics, entertainment...all of the things that make it unique. As a result, they find themselves feeling miserable. If you're making $40,000-50,000 per year, it may seem shallow to be upset that there aren't a lot of English television shows or that the food staples are basically everything that you dislike, but after about three months of it, it can be enough to make you stir crazy.

PRO: Many of the work assignments are relatively short term. Oftentimes, when you find a job on Craigslist or Freelancer, it's for a position that will last as long as you can do the work. When it comes to an overseas position, many of those are stints that range from a year to 24 months. After that, you might be able to apply to extend your time, but oftentimes, you're expected to return back home. So, if you want to work abroad but not forever, you don't have to feel like you've signed your life over just because you moved away for a while.

CON: Again, most of the work assignments are relatively short term. Some people do move and actually are so in love with the experience that they decide to relocate on a more permanent basis. However, there are some technical things to consider like having a work visa extended for a longer period of time. While on your work assignment, if you're thinking that you would like to relocate, don't wait until the final month to discuss it with your reporting supervisor. Make sure to plan ahead. When it comes to getting paid or even using your passport to travel to other parts of that country, you'll be glad that you did.

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