Career Tips: Working And Living Abroad

To Live and work abroad can be exotic and carefree. Information on having a successful experience in a foreign country.

Thousands of Americans make a life changing decision each year by moving abroad to live and work internationally. These new internationalists are joining an already large community of Americans that have made the same decision in earlier years. For centuries thousands of Americans have made a choice to relocate abroad. What is the allure? International working and living surely have their benefits, but it's more complicated than that alone. Along with the benefits come the challenges. International living and working is equally rewarding and challenging.

At first look, moving abroad may seem very glamorous. Arriving in a new country you will be inundated with new smells, sounds, and sights, generally experiencing a new culture, language and climate. How exciting the "newness" of a foreign country can be to a person. For many of us we have lived in the same country, speaking the same language, eatting the same foods, and participating in the same cultural activities for the majority of our lives. It can feel exhilirating and thrilling to experience the world as a new place once again.

These benefits are just the surface of the experience, as they are quite tangible. If ones goes further and spends a good period of time living and working and immersing themself into another country's daily happenings one may find themself making deep and lasting relationships. The person living and working abroad may find themself having daily interactions with people who may seem very different than anyone they have ever known. With time, patience, open communication, and humility to learn, you find that people who originally seemed quite different may in fact share some of the same human processes as you do. Further, you may even be able to experience the world, and share the world you know, in a way completely other than you have known. This may in fcat be one of the largest blessings and benefits of life abraod.

To experience some of the beauty of living and working internationally calls upon strength, persistance, wisdom, and absolute humility in a person. At times being surrounded by an environment that may be entirely unfamiliar to you can challenge your very core of values, beliefs, and perceptions about the world and your place in the world. You may constantly feel misunderstood, or be tempted to make judgements of the behaviors and values of the host country nationals. Further, for some it may be easier to use simplified explanations of differences (i.e. cultural differences) to make sense of the 'other'. To have even a somewhat satisfying experience living and working internationally you may need to accept that there may be other ways to see this new environment than right or wrong, or by utilizing simplified cultural explanations to create understanding.

A person may need to really explore their internal life. Finding out about what is really important to you, why you believe certain things, and how you came to hold and live by the convictions you have may be a necessary and difficult path you may find yourself upon. It is inevitable that in this search for understanding of self to better understand and relate to the 'other' that a person can open themself up and be humble in the process. Humility may allow you to really connect with something larger and less tangible than differences in food, climate, or language. Humility may in fact be a bridge to not only making yourself accessible to concrete experiences but to much more feeling and relationally oriented exchanges.

Certainly there may be an initial euphoria from experiencing a country other than your own and a life somewhat out of the ordinary from your own typical day back 'home'. However, after the initial euphoria passes it takes work and committment to live through all the daily trials and tribulations that may present ethical, psychological. physical, and emotional challenges. On the other side of these challenges often lies a deeper, greater sense of living and working internationally.

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