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How to prepare yourself for working abroad

What does working abroad even means?

In order to make the most of your relocation experience, it’s important that you are aware and prepared for what comes with relocating. What do you need? You might be excited about working abroad, but what do you need to know?

Moved abroad and looking for work- here are some things that will make your life easier.

First things first.

Find out if there is any type of visa required by law before making any travel moves. This can include getting a residence permit as well accessing social benefits like healthcare coverage. This often times require certain documentation from authorities in charge with issuing passports or even registering children at school (i’m not saying this always happens).

Have enough money saved up so when disaster strikes you are not left broke trying fix everything right away.

Most likely our pay-check won’t cover it all plus daily needs such groceries etc.

Personally, I love being in another country and culture. There are a few different aspects to keep in consideration when you are looking to move to a new country. I have personally found the move to Sweden to be as straight forward as it could be, but this is not always the case. 

Accommodation

One area that is important to have in place is that of accommodation. Ensuring that you have some accommodation already in place when you move somewhere new is so important. The last thing you want to do is be stuck in hotels, not only is this an insanely expensive option, you are not getting settled.

Don’t forget to research your accommodation when moving abroad. If you’re like me, then this is one thing that will likely go overlooked and leave a bad taste in your mouth for how things went so far! It doesn’t have be fancy but make sure there’s something available nearby – you don’t want spend days trying find somewhere new. And the last thing you want to do is be stuck in hotels, not only is this an insanely expensive option, but it leaves a room for potential financial problems down the line.

Getting settled in

You are going to a new country, of course it is different. One of the most important things you can do when working abroad is get involved in something that isn’t at work. Such as clubs and societies. You’ll make friends with other people quickly who are also there for exactly this reason. It can be difficult not having anything else tying you down once you’re away from home! Try and link up with something that involves the native speakers as well. It can be easy to fall into the groups that speak your native language. But doing it makes it difficult to integrate into the way of life abroad. 

This is easier said than done. For instance, in Sweden, the level of English is very high. This does make it easy for a native speaker (me) to live here, but it makes it hard to learn Swedish! What a difficult situation, I know… 

I have started to look at what is on offer after work as well, the app Meet-up is great for this. Look at what is happening around the area and if there is anything of interest! You can try everything once, if you don’t like it, move onto something else. Moving to a new place with new things is difficult, you have left family, friends etc… it’s important not shut yourself in. For one, I started music lessons again when I moved to Sweden. It allows me to get better at what I love, as well as a way to meet new people. 

Prepare for a culture shock

Every country does it differently. It can be fun to see how people talk and deal with daily life, but as a visitor, you need to be open these cultural differences and deal with them the best you can. Some make sense and you want to take them for yourself, others don’t and won’t! It’s all part of the journey. 

If you don’t speak the language, try and get lessons as soon as you can. Start simple, watch shows with subtitles, Netflix is great for this. Read the news, read children’s books.  I must admit, this is an area that I am struggling with, after a full day of work, the last thing I want to do is pick up a textbook! I am pushing for this to become part of my daily routine, that way it becomes the norm. you want these activities to become part of your day, to be in place. That way it feels normal to do them. Getting those good habits in place is key for these activities.

This is just the start for my move. I have been in Sweden since September and it has been a great journey so far. It is great to meet new people and do new things, it’s exciting to see what the future brings. 

If you have any questions please message me. My Linkedin is here.

Alexander Cook
NTU Alumni Fellow - BA Geography and Business 2012. | University of Liverpool - MSc Renewable Technology 2014 at University of Hull. Works as business Analyst at E.ON

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