Working overseas is a fantastic way to broaden your horizons and give yourself a leg up on the career ladder, especially now that the economy is more globally focused than ever before. But, if you’ve been offered a position abroad, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels thinking everything will work out just fine – there are lots of things you need to prepare yourself for when you’re heading off to a completely new environment, and the sooner you do that preparation, the better.
To help you get started on the right track, here are some of the most common mistakes that people make when heading off to work overseas. Avoid them, and you will have a much easier time of it:
Not Doing Your Cultural Research
If you’re sitting thinking that you can pack up your stuff, jet off on a plane and pick up where you left off, then you need to think again. Everything from corporate etiquette to cultural norms could be vastly different in your new country, and if you don’t know what you’re up against, you could end up making faux pas after faux pas, and the last thing you want to do is upset your new employers or colleagues. So, please, do your research and do it as extensively as you can if you want to hit the ground running.
Not Ensuring You Can Afford It
While we’re on the subject of research, it’s worth pointing out that before you make the decision to move away for work, you need to ensure that you can actually afford to live overseas. You need to acquire solid details of your new salary, research rents, food, utilities and entertainment and then work out where you would be better off. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t go if you’re learning less abroad, it’s more about what you’re comfortable with and making sure that you will not struggle for money over there even if you have less than you would overseas.
Not Speaking with an Immigration Expert
Most of the time, when you’ve been offered a job overseas, your employer will help you take care of your immigration and visa requirements, but this isn’t always the case, and it is still worth talking to an experienced legal professional such as a Verhaeghe Law Office immigration lawyer, who can check that you’ve met all the requirements for your move. The last thing you want is to be detained in immigration or to move all of your stuff overseas only to find you can’t work due to an oversight.
Not Getting All of Your Paperwork Together
If you are heading overseas for work, you’re probably going to need a whole lot of documentation including not only your visas and immigration papers, but also work permits, birth certificates, driving licenses and passports. You need to gather all of these together and ensure that you take them with you, keeping them safe for the duration of your time overseas. Most of the time you won’t need it, but when you do, if you don’t have it, it could be a real problem.
Not Checking Out Apartments
I know that it can be difficult to check out apartments overseas in person, but if there is any way at all that you can fly out and actually look at the places in person, you should do that. Why? Because unfortunately, a lot of properties aren’t what they seem online and a lot of landlords are nowhere near as professional as they should be. If you can see places with your own eyes and speak to the landlords, you’re less likely to be stuck living in a place that you hate.
Believing the Stereotypes
Most countries have various stereotypes surrounding them, and although there is a grain of truth in many of them, others are complete rubbish, and there is almost always a gray area in between. That’s why it’s important that you never make assumptions about the place you’ll be working in. Doing this could lead to you acting like you know everything, upsetting your colleagues or closing your mind to new and interesting ways to do things.
Not Learning the Language
Depending on how much notice you have and how long you’re going to be there, you may not have the time to become fluent in your new country’s language, but you should at the very least try to learn the most common business and social phrases, so that you can communicate with your colleagues and make new friends. There are lots of free and affordable apps and software that can help you with this.
Not Getting to Know People
Although it might be difficult to get used to a new culture and communicate in the language of your host country, one of the worst things you can do is to cut yourself off from other people. If you do that, then work is likely to be a lonely, isolating place and your home life will be even more isolating, which will only contribute to making you miserable.
Not Filing Taxes
If you’re a U.S resident, then you will most likely have to file taxes in the U.S even when you aren’t working in the country. If you fail to do this, then you could find yourself in trouble with the IRS – something that nobody wants to happen to them – and you might even end up paying twice in some circumstances, although that is rare. So, make sure that you know what your tax obligations are as soon as possible and make a real effort to meet them on time every time.
Moving overseas for work might seem like a terrifying prospect, but there are many advantages to doing so, and if you have the opportunity, chances are you will regret not taking it up. As long as you avoid making these mistakes, go into it with your eyes open and give it a chance, it is sure to be an excellent experience.