Students work experience

Looking at opportunities working abroad

The article was written before the pandemic, when travel was easier. Despite the current travel conditions, the advice Alex shared is still valuable.

So, you’re now in work and thinking about the wider world.

The plus point is it has never been easier to communicate with people around the world. Currently, the movement around Europe for work is quite easy. The uncertainly with Brexit will make things harder in the future, but no one is sure to what extent this will be. 

Things to consider

I was in a privileged position. I had already worked in Sweden before applying for a full-time role here, so I knew some of the people that I would be working alongside already. This is a definite plus and something to keep in mind if you are looking to move internally within your company like I did. If you have the chance to communicate and engage with the team that you want to move to, do it! 

If you are applying for the role fresh, ask for some contact information. See if you can talk to someone about the role and have a chat. Also, I cannot stress this enough, update your LinkedIn account, a lot of companies will search your account to find out more about you before any interviews take place. Take the time to get it looking professional and make you update any qualifications as well.

Applying for Work: Over Skype

The process for applying for work abroad is very similar to any other job application, it depends completely on the company’s own processes. However, be prepared for some further questions such as ‘why this country?’, alongside the usual range of questions.

Also, since the interview will likely be across Skype or some other variant and not in person, there are few lessons I can share:

  1. Use your words. This is even more important than in person, your body language says a lot about you, but you are behind a screen, adjust how you communicate to take this into consideration.
  2. Be clear. You are communicating across a network; a lot of different factors can come into play that influences the quality of the call. Speak slowly and clearly, this is important. 
  3. Answers. Don’t rush into any answers, use some time to think about what you want to say and keep it concise. This links to the second point.
  4. Time. Technology can be fickle, ask if you can have a practice run of connecting for the call a few minutes before the actual thing. The worst case, you are looking at a room as it is set-up! This is much better than the alternative of not being able to connect. 
  5. Feedback. Ask if you can have a call back with someone as soon as they feel it’s OK. That way you can keep engaged with their decision etc. 

One of the difficult points is to ask around the financial aspects of it all. How much are they paying? Are they helping with relocation etc? After all, you don’t want to put them off with extra costs, but ask these questions. Have an idea of what you want to be paid, raise it with them and state that you are happy for them to review and get back to you if they want any changes. Don’t make anything concrete. I personally did not get a relocation allowance, but this was known at the start of the discussions because I asked, it was not unexpected announcement part way through the process. 

Before you go…

If you are successful, the difficult parts come into play. Figuring out the process of moving, letting everyone know. Utility companies, the tax man… even student finance etc. The UK Government have a lot of support for this topic. Read it carefully and see what is needed, it takes a long time for this work to take place, so be ready for this. 

For the country, the process can be extremely complex, even within the EU. I have moved to Sweden permanently, which means amongst a lot of things, I needed to get their version of National Insurance in place, a personnummer. Seems fine, but you need a contract, or a reason to be in the country for this, also you need a personnummer to get a contract… catch 22. This can take a lot of time; my recommendation is to get involved with the HR side of the company you go to as soon as you accept the role. Let them know the issues you think you will face and ask what can be done to help it all. For me, it involved me flying out to Sweden on a separate occasion to sign some documentation in person. 

So, you’ve moved, what can you expect?

Our second part of article here explains some tips to help you get started when you move abroad.

Alex is an NTU Alumni Fellow. You can find out more about how to get involved with the Alumni Fellowship Programme here

Blog Administrator. Currently ran by co-author Emilia Denis. Emilia has studied Fashion Communication and Promotion at NTU between years 2017 and 2020.

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