With the exception of maybe education, there is simply nothing in the entire life experience that can expand your mind, your quality of life, and your collective experience the way travel can. Meeting new people, seeing strange and unusual places, eating new food, learning new customs, and making new friends and contacts is the essence of what it means to be alive.
Solitary confinement is torture. Travel is the opposite of that. Traveling improves the person, and an improved person will see an improvement in their career.
Here is how and why even a short time working abroad will take your career to the next level.
When in Rome
One great thing about working abroad is learning from your mistakes. When working abroad, you will inevitably encounter customs, traditions, protocols, and etiquette you had no idea existed. You will inevitably embarrass yourself by getting it wrong, and then come out a better, more cultured person. As one international writer points out, international etiquette and business are hopelessly intertwined.
In the age of information and the Internet, the world is remarkably small, and your career could lead you to people from unfamiliar places more quickly and easily now than at any other time in history. Having world experience – and work experience out in the world – can make you a much more savvy professional in the modern era of total connectivity.
Learn from Students
There are several case studies of students who improved their career tracks by studying abroad, and the same lessons can apply to working abroad. Employers not only recognized them as motivated and ambitious, but sought the skills they learned in other countries. Travel not only inspired them, but gave them confidence that translated into career prospects.
By comparing the way two different cultures do business, it becomes decidedly easier to identify flaws – and fixes – in each. In a global economy, linguistic and cultural skills can improve any career.
Working abroad is an option, but not your only option. But you can also volunteer, au pair, teach English to support travel, or do any number of things that could directly improve your career. The choices are all but endless when it comes to broadening your horizons – and your career – with a stint overseas.
Make the Most of It
Moving to a different country is not something you want to take lightheartedly or stumble into unprepared. The U.S. Department of State has a comprehensive guide and list of links that will make your time abroad as productive and useful as possible. Consume this and as many other guides to working overseas as possible. By doing so, you’ll go in with reasonable expectations and an understanding of how things are likely to play out.
Beware – Eventually You’re Going to Have to Come Back
The problem with traveling is, eventually, you have to come home. Some people find that returning home to work after working abroad was a more difficult adjustment than getting used to a new country in the first place. The feeling of being bored, boxed in, or consumed with the idea that there was more to accomplish abroad can plague a repatriated worker.
Exposure to other cultures and ways of doing business can only help your career.
Getting out and seeing the world can improve the life of anyone who travels, from a backpacker in a hostel to a student on a scholarship. But for a working professional, the experience of working abroad can open up an infinite number of doors, expose you to new cultures, a new way of doing business with a new kind of money in a new kind of language.
When you return to embark on the next part of your career, you’ll be a better, smarter, more enlightened professional with a wealth of knowledge that can only come from first-hand work experience abroad.