Have you ever considered living and working overseas?
What does living overseas mean for you personally and professionally?
Ever wish that travelling to exotic places was a way of life?
For some, it is a lifestyle. As consistent and as normal as living and working in one’s own home country.
So why work overseas? Is it really better or just different? Does it truly expand your senses, your sense of being or does it make you lose your identity?
Let’s dig in and find out why more people are choosing to live and work overseas.
Teaching Overseas, my story
I’ve lived and worked overseas for about 16 years now, and am still enjoying it. In my profession, (I’m a teacher) there is more work for me in an overseas country than in my own country. Compound that simple fact with a passion for multi-culturalism, travel and living with differences and you have a match made in heaven.
The countries I have lived in South Korea, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Turkey and I am getting ready to make my next big move to Yangon, Myanmar. I lived in Brunei the longest time, for a total of 12 wonderful years. The minimum amount of time I stay in any country is usually 2 years which is enough time to really get to know the people and the culture.
My family is for the most part excited for me that this is the way I live and work. There is something to be said for living in your home country, especially as you get older, but I got the overseas bug 20 years ago and, for me, it is a lifestyle that is hard to beat!
Pros and Cons of Living in a Foreign Country
Living and working overseas is really only an option if you are in a profession that is transferable overseas.
Teachers, business people, doctors and any other health care professionals, finance people, salespeople, lawyers…there are loads of professions that can easily transfer overseas. To be eligible for a good job overseas you need to be highly qualified in your field and have loads of experience.
Most overseas jobs pay far better than the same job in your home country and there are usually many perks attached to this lifestyle. These perks may include: free housing, health care cover, free education for children in private schools, bonuses to lure you to stay, sometimes tax-free salaries and
Many families, singles, and couples have taken the plunge and who have made working overseas their preferred lifestyle choice, and why not! Overseas, you often work and live in conditions better than what you would live and work in back home. Furthermore, you will have access to a whole new culture, way of life and many more travel options.
Culture Shock is Real
Ok so every new experience eventually settles and reality settles in.
After arriving in a new country there is much hype and energy flowing as you adapt to a new culture, new language, housing and your new job. There is so much to learn and adapt to and it can stress you out if you expect things to go a certain way.
If you are a person who likes routine and stable predictable circumstances then living overseas won’t be for you. You have to arrive in a new country completely open and flexible and with NO expectations. Things will not run the way they do ‘back’ home or as they did in your last posting.
In fact, things may not be at all familiar. You have to be willing to go with the flow and roll with the ups and downs. For example, you may not have a bank account for weeks maybe even months, your accommodation may not be up to scratch or it may be far better than what you had back home. Your job may change and you may be expected to do something you may not feel confident doing. In short, anything can change!
Things to Consider Before Living Overseas
If you ever have a chance to work overseas and you have a spirit that welcomes adventure, then definitely consider it! Be sure that you have a solid contract though, and you are going to work for a reputable company. Talk to other employees who are currently working overseas and ask them honestly if they are happy and anything else you may be wondering.
Take your time to consider the decision to move overseas. Consider everything from housing, to education for children, to benefits, health care, career advancement, hours and days of work, salary, safety, retirement funding (if any?), host and base country taxes, freedom to move around and travel outside of work.
If you own your house, you need to consider what you will do with it while you are overseas. Will you rent it or have it managed by a family member or a professional company? Also, what will you do with your possessions while you are away? You will likely not be able to take everything with you.
Be sure you have satisfied all your questions before you go. Nothing is worth the adventure if you have no support, get sick with no recourse, or lose your job when you arrive. Be prepared as much as possible for anything and everything.
The Best Part of Living and Working Overseas
I have loved every minute of my overseas adventures and I truly thrive in foreign environments. There is so much contrast, new things to learn, situations that are unexpected and occurrences that can push you out of your comfort zone and make you rethink everything.
I love Canada but as a teacher, my prospects for employment are much better overseas than back in Canada where class sizes are much larger, salaries are lower, taxes are higher, and working conditions are generally harder. Furthermore, there is a lot of opportunity to travel and learn about new cultures and languages.
Things to Consider Before Moving Overseas
- One thing I have to do myself is saving for retirement. Canada doesn’t allow non-residents to pay into their Canada Pension Plan if they are working as a non-resident. Managing your retirement savings is something to consider if you a Canadian teacher about working abroad.
- The upside living and working overseas is knowing that you are stepping outside of the box and experiencing life in a whole new way. You will learn many new skills both personally and professionally. Your senses will be overwhelmed, you will change your views on virtually everything. Last but not least, you will never take your home country for granted ever again.
- You will miss family, you won’t be part of significant family get-togethers. That means being comfortable with being an outsider. Sometimes you’ll feel depressed, and really miss your loved ones there is always Skype and Zoom which can really help take away those ‘missing home’ blues.
- You can reinvent yourself overseas. Sometimes cultural ties make it difficult to step out boldly and live your life differently in your own country. Living abroad is like a breath of fresh air. No one knows you … yet. You can be the best version of yourself; start over, or stay the same; learn new things like a language and culture. You can
adaptto a fresh new outlook on life.
- Best of all, you will find your peace. You will find yourself overseas. You will find your inner strength when surrounded by a world of ‘unfamiliar’ things.
- Make sure you get or are getting health care coverage for your journey and your entire time overseas. If your employer doesn’t provide it, check into the cost of getting an international plan before you go. Check out BUPA, TieCare, and your insurance carrier on your credit card.
So if you get the chance; embrace a job overseas! and live and learn in a whole new country and culture.
It will be the best education and experience you ever give yourself!
If you are considering a move overseas, especially working as a professional please reach out and connect with. I have a lot of tips I can share with you.