Useful Guides

Simple guide to living and working abroad

Simple guide to living and working abroad

Most people who have spent any time living and working abroad have a wonderful, positive experience. It can be daunting being away from home and everything you know but travelling does broaden the mind and offers insight and experience you never get by staying put.

It does take courage to pack up and go somewhere new and unknown but careful planning ahead of time is the key to making your adventure overseas one you will never forget. Getting a job before you leave may not always be possible but if you can line something up from the UK, it will give you a little breathing room and peace of mind (income) while you get to know the place, culture and become familiar with things around you.

The truth is the more money you can save before you leave the better your time away will be in terms of your stress levels. However anyone who has travelled abroad for an extended period will tell you, being broke and desperate is all part of the experience and it is at these times you make the most friends. Budgeting your money, factoring what you can realistically earn whilst abroad, (be conservative as things don’t always go according to plan) and working out a daily stipend and sticking to it, i.e. How much you can spend each day, is the key to a successful trip.

Getting the balance right between working and checking out your country of choice can also be tricky. Do your research when it comes to the places and things you want to see and the costs of internal flights/travel. Some airline tickets come with 1 or 2 internal flights included and rail passes are cheaper than booking individual journeys.

The internet is wonderful resource to talk to other people who have already visited your destination of choice. Get recommendations of places you may be able to get a job or names/contact details of people able to help you if you get stuck or are desperate. You will be very grateful of having a plan B, in the event something should go wrong and if you are in a fix try not to call home asking for money unless absolutely necessary.

Things to consider when choosing your destination City and Country

  1. Knowing somebody in the city/country you want to relocate to is the best helping hand you can get as they already have the heads up on the way things get done, which can save so much time (and money) getting settled and finding a job. A family member is ideal as they will likely put you up for free, even if it is for a short time until you get established.
  2. Making the effort to build networks and friendships with people in other countries, (having a penpal) will pay off down the road when you need a place to stay overseas.
  3. Do you need a visa to enter the country of choice and are you allowed to work there. If you are a British citizen you can live and work freely in any EU (European Union) country including EEA countries, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland without a visa. You can find out more by about visa requirements by clicking here.
  4. Both the USA and Australia are popular destinations because there are no language barriers although both countries have strict conditions of entry. The US is the most difficult as visas can only be issued by employers, which means securing a job before you go as they don’t have a “working holiday” visa like Australia. Don’t believe you can get away with not following the rules as failure to comply could mean you are banned from ever returning even for a visit.
  5. Whilst it may be daunting to go somewhere you don’t speak the language, being thrown in the deep end is a sure fire way to learn. Living and working abroad is a great way to learn a language or become fluent in a language you already have the basics of from school, adding to your skills and making you much more interesting to prospective employers.
  6. Many organisations exist to help you through the process and some offer accommodation/travel costs in exchange for you volunteering. Platform2 funded by UK Aid and Bunac for self funded opportunities.
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