Moving abroad to not only live but to work can be one of the most challenging things you can do. As this is my second time moving to a new country, I thought I would give some advice to those in a similar situation.
What to expect when you work in a different country
Working is not the same as studying abroad, the nine-to-five life can be more rewarding even if it means less sleep. When you work in a different country they will have different ways of doing things, from writing emails to morning greetings. I would make sure to research the cultural differences where you are going as first impressions can go a long way.
Also, lunch times and break times will be different, the food and even the way you eat it will be different. Try to embrace the culture—but maybe don’t try to eat something as wild as chilis on the first day!
This brings me onto the language, even if you are not fluent in your host countries language I believe it doesn’t matter. You can still gain a lot and learn a lot (while also learning a few phrases) but don’t expect anyone else to. Make sure you research how to travel to and from your place of work and learn a few phrases or alternative routes of travel in case of delays as nothing or very little will be written in English!
Finding expat friends in the same situation is another interesting part of working abroad, join a local class or an online group to find people, I found this was the best way to not only make friends but also more LinkedIn connections.
What to bring in your suitcase
• Extra adapters! I found it very difficult to find adapters while already being in my host country, so make sure you bring some extra plugs.
• A good camera, whilst your away you will see and experience things no one else will. Take as many pictures as possible, you will treasure these when you leave.
• The really important stuff: Medicine, documents and other toiletries you might not be able to purchase.
How to prepare mentally and calm the nerves
Take a deep breath and be calm, I know it can absolutely terrifying to be by yourself in a completely new place. But it will make you a stronger more independent person. I know it sounds silly but I used to practice in the mirror meeting people and smiling. I used to be incredibly shy and not very subtle but I learned to combat this slowly over time. There were times when I didn’t know where I was or how to communicate and to be honest I did panic, I did stress but, I found that taking a minute (or few) to compose yourself and think clearly really helped me in new situations.
How to stop being homesick
Get busy! Usually I try not to bring extra stuff with me from home so I can fill up my suitcase on the way back but a photo or two of your friends, family and pets can be calming and nice to have amongst your things. I found the best way to combat being homesick was to make myself as busy as possible, see every tourist hotspot, go to every museum, go to nearby cities, make as much out of your trip as possible, before you know it you won’t want to leave.
1. Always try to be prepared
2. Buy a map online before you go
3. Research all the different ways of travel
4. Bring clothing for all types of weather
5. Remember all your documents and medicine
6. Smile! Be excited! It’s going to be awesome!