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What is it like to work in another country?

Right now, I'm still unsure about what I want to do in the future, but I've always wanted to travel the world and learn foreign languages. How would I be able to do that and earn stable income at the same time? Are there any careers that involve international travel? travel career study-abroad international

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7 answers

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Moushumi’s Answer

Hey! I'm a software engineer working in a different country. It's quite exciting to go and live in a foreign land. It helps you grow as a person and I feel makes you a better human being. You tend to learn a lot of different life skills.

It totally depends on what subjects or fields you are interested in. I found this article quite interesting: Hope this helps.
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Ashley’s Answer

Hi Ashley,

From one Ashley to another, I would highly recommend working abroad! Go for it!
It is an experience that you will carry with you for a lifetime. Not only good for your career, but for your overall personal development.
I started also with the concerns of earning an income and learning a foreign language.
Do your research first to see what you might want to do and where those industries might be most prominent.

Although when I moved away, I started as an English teacher in Germany 11 years ago and found my way into the IT industry later on down that path (so anything is possible). Of course if you can speak the local language, you will have an advantage (language courses when you get there are helpful)

My choice was Europe and through my Sales career, I have already seen a good portion of Europe outside of Germany through business travel.
You grow in your career, but as mentioned before, you learn how to function in new cultures, expand your horizons, understand other opinions & beliefs, and so much more!

If I had to summarize my learnings, I would say I learned through living/working abroad how to take life by the horns!

Wishing you the best for your future endeavors and perhaps we cross paths someday!

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Ramona’s Answer

That's a great question, Ashley. Growing up I had always had a similar goal. It's never too early to lay a path for yourself, even if you don't know what job or skills you want to pursue as a career.

As a student, I was able to start exploring languages to see what interested me. Language classes are a great way to not only learn another language, its also an opportunity to learn about the culture and political system. Then, with some language and country basics learned, high school and college programs exist that you can do a short period abroad and live with a host family. This is where you are able to apply what you learned and increase your fluency. If that's not a possibility, consider joining extra curricular groups that share a common language / culture interest as you to start building your fluency and expanding your knowledge from a cultural perspective.

If you decide to go to college, there will be time in the first 2 years, that you can explore areas of study to determine what career path you may want to pursue. If you decide on an international program, such as International Finance or International Business for example, many of these programs incorporate a semester abroad related to your language specialty. This can help lay the foundation for a future job with a global company to provide you the opportunity to work abroad. If college is not your chose path, other career options exist, such as flight attendant, study abroad program coordinator, foreign service, and military, just to name a few.

Any language you chose to explore will be a great starting point to future international travel. Good luck on your international path.
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Leticia’s Answer

Hi Ashley.

When I was a teenager, I really wanted a career that would allow me to travel, learn languages and experience other cultures too. I am originally from Brazil and my native language is Portuguese. Knowing I wanted an international career, I started studying English as a second language as a teenager. I then decided to go to law school and work with international clients. I eventually decided to go to graduate school in the United States, which helped me advance my international career. I eventually moved to the United States and now work in public policy/government relations for a technology company, which gives me a lot of opportunities to do international work.

I also know a few people that found jobs teaching English abroad, and spent some time in Asia or Latin America, and they learned the language from the countries where they were working in, as well as a lot about the culture of those countries. These jobs were not permanent for them, but a stepping stone to other jobs. Today, these people work in different areas including business consulting, finance, and communications.

In terms of long-term path, there are a lot careers you can explore that would allow you to travel and get in touch with other cultures and languages, depending on your interests. Some of these careers include roles in the pubic sector (diplomacy, for example), as well as industries such as journalism, travel, healthcare, science and technology careers, and among others.

My suggestion would be for you to think about what are areas/fields that you enjoy and then reach out to some professionals in those fields and ask for their advice on how to bring an international component to that particular career. If you are still in high school, maybe your school has a career fair or other event that would allow you to connect with those professionals. If you are comfortable using professional resources such as LinkedIn, you can search for individuals working in the fields you are interested in, and look at their profiles to see if they have had international experience. This may give you some ideas of career paths you may want to explore.

I would also recommend that you think about a region of the world or country you would like to work with. And based on that, start learning a second language if you are not already doing it. For example, if you would like to work with Latin America, you may want to learn Spanish or Portuguese. If you want to spend time working in Japan, learning Japanese will be helpful.

Sorry for the long answer. But I hope this was helpful.

Good luck!
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Ashley,

When you talk about working in another country, I think that the first thing to consider is who you work for. I have worked in other countries, but always for an American company. So that means that I am following the rules of my company. I visited other businesses, called vendors in the work that I have worked for. So I am often a visitor in their location. I am bound by the specific country's rules about people working in their country. This is due in part to Coemployment laws in the US as well as rules in a specific country. When I worked in the Philippines, I had to get some government intervention in order to stay greater than 21 days. So you need to plan for actions you need to take if you live in another country for a long time.

If you want to be hired in another country, your challenge will be learning the rules of that country. There is often a work visa required. Some countries limit the jobs that can be taken by someone coming from another country.

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Nathalie’s Answer

Hi there - I have worked in two countries with full town jobs that anchored me to those countries - and I know people who are touring the world on their boat, working remotely. Both are possible. If the discovery is what you are after, there are jobs you can do remotely: journalist, designer, programmers etc provided you have good Internet access. You will most likely work as a freelancer if you want to have time to explore the country as well. My cousin who is a French chef worked his way around Australia and New Zealand for two years, working for different restaurants.

If you want to stay in one place for a while, it is enriching to work in a different country. Language matters less if you work for a global company as often English will be the official language of the company so they can operate across borders. What I have found most rewarding is to learn to work with people who have a different way of thinking, or doing things. It makes it easier for you to work with anyone else afterwards (and working with people is the hardest and most interesting part of any job!)
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Tara’s Answer

Hi Ashley, what a great objective to have! The good news is that the possibilities to work and travel are endless :) Some of the best work and life experiences I’ve gathered were through travel, working and living abroad, meeting new people, and discovering new cultures. I remember not knowing what I wanted to do either fresh out of high school, but having grown up between several different countries I knew that I wanted to have the freedom to move where and when I wanted to. I studied international law, in France and Ireland, then moved to Vietnam for an internship, before returning to Europe for work. I’ve since worked in France, Germany, Ireland, and feel lucky that in my current role with the tech company I work for, I have location flexibility.

A good first experience abroad, if your college offers this opportunity, would be to go abroad for a semester or two. This will ease you into adapting to a new environment and be a good way to get a first look at the fun and challenges of living/studying in another country.

Career wise, most sectors have the possibility to make travel and work abroad part of your career. A few examples of careers that include travel:
- a medical doctor with Doctors Without Borders,
- a lawyer with an international law firm or the International Committee of the Red Cross
- A diplomat with your country’s department of foreign affairs
- A software engineer with a global company
- An account executive covering different international markets
- Working in humanitarian aid, environmental protection, development aid, in field offices worldwide
- A journalist, international correspondent
- A writer for a travel company
- The hospitality/tourism industry as a whole
- A digital nomad/freelancer: working online from wherever, in diverse fields
The above are just a few examples that came to mind, the possibilities are truly endless!
To get some inspiration, I’d advise you to do a quick search on Linkedin, you can select the country of your choosing, and/or “remote” and see what types of opportunities are out there for the taking. One piece of advice to take into account: it’s easier to work in countries requiring a VISA if you have a work contract as an employee for a company. It’s not as easy if you are a freelancer, or entrepreneur.

I hope this helps!