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Working abroad

Working abroad: is the digital nomad life for you?

Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova

  • The nuts and bolts of working abroad
  • The advantages of working abroad
  • Things to consider before working abroad
  • Key takeaways

In this era of remote work, being a “digital nomad” is appealing to a lot of people looking to improve their work-life balance. But is it right for you?

One of the outcomes of the pandemic is that more people than ever are working remotely. So if you can work from your home, a coffee shop, or a local library, why couldn’t you work in an entirely different country? You can! 

In fact, according to the InterNation’s Expat Insider 2021 survey, 36 percent of Americans working abroad are doing so mainly for the benefit of their career. Another 8 percent said they relocated for “adventure” or for a “personal challenge,” and 5 percent said they “simply liked living abroad.” So if you’re looking for a change, living and working abroad might be for you.

In this article, we’ll discuss the idea of working abroad, including:

  • How can you go abroad to work?

  • What are the advantages of working abroad?

  • Things to consider before working abroad

The nuts and bolts of working abroad

The fact is, you can’t just decide one day to pack up and move to another country. It’s not a vacation; you’d essentially be relocating your entire life. Once deciding where to go, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the new country’s work and visa requirements. While it can be a tangle of red tape to unravel, some countries, like Croatia,  Bermuda, Estonia, and Malta, have started to create employment regulations aimed at “digital nomads” and making it easier to set up a home base there.

And your quest for a better work-life balance might come at the expense of moving up the career ladder, so if you already work remotely, before moving, check with your current employer to see if you can keep your current position while relocating abroad. If your company already has an office there, or is currently an employer of record, you might have an easier time navigating any financial or employment regulations that are required to run a business overseas.

The advantages of working abroad

There’s no question that living and working abroad can be exciting, as well as potentially life-changing. So, why would someone want to make the leap?

  • It looks really good on a resume, and shows future employers your adaptability

  • You’ll get to  experience different cultures and expand your horizons

  • You’ll gain valuable life skills

But the main benefit of working abroad seems to be maintaining a better work-life balance. According to a Axa Global Healthcare survey, 46 percent of expats felt their work-life balance was better since moving abroad, even though only 22 percent were working fewer hours than they did in the states.

Things to consider before working abroad

Choosing to work abroad is a big decision, and a lot of factors have to come into play. And “abroad” means different things to different people, so it’s good to have an idea of where you want to go before you can take the steps to get there. Other things to consider are:

  • What you’re looking for in your day-to-day life. Even the local cuisine can have an influence on where you go! And if you want to be able to get home from time to time, you may not want to move to a distant mountain or beach in the middle of nowhere.

  • The cost of living in your new country: utilities, health care, groceries, and rent.

  • The requirements of getting a visa — you’ll need legal permission to work before you can take up residence.

  • Make sure your current lifestyle can withstand significant changes, including possible restrictions on your work, identity, and how you express yourself. 

  • The local language. While you don’t need to develop fluency right away, getting some basic words  and phrases down pat will help you mesh with the local culture.

While deciding to work abroad can be exciting and life changing (no matter what stage of life you’re in), it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Do your homework, and keep an open mind. You never know what great adventure might just be around the corner!

Looking for a new job? Check out our Job Tracker tool to track and manage all your applications in one place!

Key takeaways

  1. It’s important to understand your desired country’s employment and visa requirements before moving.

  2. Many people feel working abroad has improved their work-life balance and overall happiness.

  3. Before moving, consider the cost of living, culture, and language barriers and make sure they align with your current lifestyle.

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