Thinking about working abroad but not sure whether you’ll survive being even a month away from home? Oh, wait! Wouldn’t it be better if you can actually enjoy the experience too?
Well, it’s time to buckle up, because here are three simple tips and tricks that will help you get the best out of your work experience abroad!
First of all, you need to understand that working and living abroad is not the same as ‘holidaying’. Even though you had a culturally inspiring walk through La Rambla, Barcelona or the best shopping spree at the Kalverstraat, Amsterdam; working and living abroad is a whole other ball game.
Not only are you creating a comfortable life for yourself in a different culture. You’re expected to adjust to a completely new environment, while you also perform at your job. And yes, the first couple of weeks or months you’ll feel like a fish out of water. However, the overall experience completely depends on you.
Here’s what you need to do:
Become a local
When in a new environment, the first thing we tend to do is draw ourselves to things we’re familiar with. It’s a natural thing and therefore completely normal. However, in order to successfully live and work in a new environment, you are required to daily step outside of your comfort zone. Moving was step one, adjusting will be step two.
Be open to learning new things and make an effort to meet people outside of the workplace. Connect with the locals and fully immerse yourself in their culture. If you need to learn the language, make sure you do so. Basically, get the local customs down to a tee.
Don’t stop doing what you love to do
Whether you were part of a volleyball club, choir or community service group prior to your move, make sure that’s what you continue doing. One of the things that will keep you going while living and working abroad, is to not stop doing what you love to do. Also, besides that, it’s a great way to make new friends and connect with locals.
Know when to recharge yourself
Everyone who has stayed abroad for a long period of time has probably experienced this. When living and working abroad, it’s important to understand and know when you’re experiencing your ‘low’. Everyone’s ‘low’ (or feeling down moment) is different and hits at different times. Mostly this varies from being homesick to having work-life balance issues.
Using myself as an example… Every 3 – 4 months (at least), I had to visit my family and friends back home. That’s the time when I recharged myself and made sure I ate all my favourite Dutch dishes. Unfortunately, you can’t always avoid the ‘low’ moments, however, being able to identify what you should do when those moments hit will make the journey more pleasant.