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As the four-year anniversary of my relocation from Toronto, Canada to London, England fast approaches, I have decided to reflect on what I have learned and why I think everyone should consider an international move – for both personal and professional reasons. It isn’t by chance that I work as an International Recruitment Consultant; I love helping those people who have always dreamed of an opportunity abroad and those who have decided to jump out of their comfort zone and try something new. I must admit I fall into the latter category, thanks to a whirlwind trip to London and a very persuasive friend who had already made the move, here I am and I couldn’t be more grateful for the experience. It isn’t always easy (I miss my family, friends and Canadian staples like Tim Horton’s every day!) but it’s worth it.
Here are 8 reasons why you should consider moving to a new country:
Working internationally can positively impact your career in a wide range of ways. From developing your soft skills (e.g. ability to adapt, communication skills), to gaining an understanding of different business practices and cultures or even learning another language, you become a better-rounded employee. Research publications such as the Harvard Business Review consistently find that “…young professionals who have international experience or identify with more than one nationality are often better problem solvers and display more creativity.” Further, research has found that gaining work experience in another country is likely to lead to a faster promotion.
Living and working in a new country can be a challenging experience. There is a lot to adapt to: a new culture, possible language barriers, different public transportation systems – you are continuously learning and growing. You may have the chance to pick up a new hobby or learn a different skill. When immersed in a diverse environment, you become more independent and open to trying new things. You learn a lot about yourself and are able to reflect on what you have achieved.
Moving abroad can simultaneously be one of the most challenging and rewarding things you do.
Recognising the challenges associated with moving to a new country, expatriate packages are intended to compensate and incentivize the employee. Companies may offer packages which include: employee accommodation / accommodation allowance, relocation allowance, healthcare insurance, education allowance for children, annual flights home, mobilisation / repatriation flights, transportation, generous annual leave, and depending on the country, tax-deductions on your salary.
It is important to research the country you are planning on relocating to and to consider all of the factors which will contribute to your quality of life once there (eg. security, access to healthcare services, cost of living and infrastructure). The compensation should remain attractive even after considering all points.
According to HSBC’s 2015 Expat Explorer Survey, the Middle East has the most desirable packages for expats with companies offering high salaries, generous employee benefits and material incentives. Meanwhile, Singapore is ranked the best country overall for expats when considering career prospects, quality of life and financial well-being.
If you do make the move, you will be lucky enough to be in a position to benefit financially while seeing the world – something to consider!
Since moving to London, I have visited twenty new countries. From Canada, this wouldn’t have been possible for me because of the costs and travel time. Having a base in a different part of the world allows you to travel more easily, and frequently. Whether it be a weekend away (think London to Paris or Singapore to Bali) or a longer holiday using some annual leave from the 30-40 days you have waiting in your expat package, having the ability to explore a new city or country is my favourite perk of living abroad.
Traveling can make you happier, more relaxed and open-minded, and provides new experiences and memories.
As an expat you are able to make global connections which could benefit your career, and friendships which may make your move all the more worthwhile. Working in a different country, you have the chance to build relationships with international contacts who may help you in your next career move, whether that be back home or to a new country. In countries where there are a high percentage of expats, you will be able to find forums, groups and clubs which will help you to connect with fellow expats and allow you to build a strong support system. For example, in Dubai there is the “International Business Women’s Group Dubai” which connects businesswomen and helps to foster new business opportunities, or in Hong Kong there is the “Australian Association” which organizes regular events for Australians and their families.
You will have the chance to meet someone who could become a valuable business contact, or a lifelong friend.
Did you know in 2013 there were 96 mobile phone service subscriptions for every 100 people in the world? Between mobile phones, smart phones, email, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, FaceTime, Skype, Whatsapp and Viber there are endless, and affordable, options which allow you to stay in touch with friends and family. Then there are the travel apps – with these you are able to monitor and compare the price of flights home, to make sure you are getting the cheapest deal.
Flying has also become more accessible, so not only can you visit home, your friends and family can come to see you too!
Living away from home can help you to re-evaluate what truly matters to you, for example your family or friends. Since relocating to London, I have realised I took certain things for granted in my day-to-day life in Canada, but now I have a much greater appreciation for my country and feel so proud to say I’m Canadian.
Moving abroad can give you a new perspective and help you to appreciate life in your host country and in your home country.
At Cavendish Professionals, we deal with all types of contracts, from locum to open-ended, your relocation doesn’t have to be permanent! There are plenty of resources available to help you find out more about working overseas, but the best thing to do is to speak to someone. Our consultants are always on hand to help to facilitate the relocation of those who have already decided, or to offer helpful advice to those who still need some guidance. To speak to a member of our international team, call us today on 0203 008 5212.