9 Things to Ask Yourself Before you Work Abroad!

Posted on July 2018 By Luke Day
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At Speller, we’re getting more and roles in Asia and the UAE popping up – great opportunities for those with the desire to see more of the world. Luke Day here at Speller offers up some worldly wisdom based on his experiences working across the world!

I have lived abroad for 8 years now. I left the UK in 2010 for Dubai, and then Dubai in 2016 to move to the Bahamas. More recently, I’ve moved from the Bahamas to Australia.

Over these years I’ve learnt a few things about re-locating. Below I share some of the questions that I think you should ask yourself before making a move overseas.

Why are you leaving?
I knew at the time why I was leaving: to further my career and experience a new challenge whilst I was young. To be honest, I didn’t have any commitments to hold me back. If I hadn’t believed in the move and what it could mean for me I think the transition would have been tougher. The reason for moving has to be strong enough to answer the question of why you’re choosing to leave, especially if moving means leaving your friends and family behind. I personally was on a mission to succeed and thought more about the future and what opportunities it would bring, rather than thinking about what I might miss out on back at home.

Where will you live?
A very critical question to ask yourself is where you will live. This will determine how successful and happy your move will be, including finding employment (if you haven’t already), the potential for your career and for enjoying yourself in a social aspect, whether you think you’ll fit in with the culture, and whether you’ll be able to communicate to a reasonable standard (as you can’t always expect everyone to speak in your native language).

How will you earn a living?
I’ve been fortunate in that both my move to Dubai and the Bahamas came with employment before I arrived, but when I transitioned to Australia I didn’t have employment on arrival. I started by staying with my partner, so I was fairly fortunate again that I had someone here and grounded already. However, had I arrived without a secure job and someone already here, it would have been challenging since generally living without earning can be quite expensive – especially in the beginning.

Can you obtain the necessary Visa or Work Permits?
When planning your overseas move, make sure you find out how long it will take to get your visa in place before you leave, and whether your working situation has any restrictions/conditions.This is an area sometimes overlooked or underestimated.

Do you know how much It will cost to live?
Cost of living is another important factor to consider when deciding whether or not the move will be successful. If you’re working abroad you need to determine how much daily life will cost, to see if you can afford it. I had quite a shock when I moved to the Bahamas as I’d made the assumption life would be cheaper there than in Dubai. I was mistaken. I wished I’d looked into it more, as it was obscenely expensive for some very basic products in the Bahamas – although that being said, I still would have made the move.

Will you have healthcare coverage?
I have learnt this through experience. I haven’t had a severe health issue since being abroad – which is lucky – however, I have been surprised at the cost of what is usually covered in my home country (UK). This is an easy one to say “I’ll look into later” or “it’s not important right now”, but if something were to happen then it usually needs dealing with quickly, ultimately costing you more.

If you’ve been offered a job, how secure is it?
If you’re moving overseas, one of the questions you should be asking ‘how secure is my new position?’ When I moved to the Bahamas it was actually because at the last hour I was told by the New York office, which was my original destination, that I would have to do a year in the Bahamas in order to obtain my US working visa. Now although my position was still the same, it could have caused issues to someone that had made future plans for either the country they were going to live in, or the exact position they were taking.

Cost of moving overseas?
It’s worth considering the general cost of transporting your possessions. Over my time re-locating I have acquired and sold a huge amount of things. I generally re-locate quite lightly these days, packing my life into about 4 suitcases, but that is after going through the motions of moving, making a place home, selling that home and moving again. I often just pay the extra baggage fees on flights, but if a family was looking to move I’d advise them to explore the cost of transporting larger goods and maybe even a car.

How long are you prepared to be away?
The most difficult question to answer, in my opinion. When I left the UK for Dubai I said wholeheartedly “I’ll be back in 3 years on the nose and that will be that”. Six and a half years later I left for the Bahamas for the golden “1 year”. Two years later I am in Australia with my partner talking of not going anywhere else. I think the only question to really ask yourself is, “why are you leaving, and what are you leaving to achieve”? The decision to then return can be based on reaching a goal.

Overall, I’m extremely happy and I think I’ve been incredibly lucky with the opportunities I’ve had. I would recommend what I’ve done to anyone, but through experience recommend asking the questions above prior to the big move.

At Speller we have candidates working in Asia and New Zealand. Have a look at our current opportunities here to see if we’ve got any international roles that could suit you!