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Global Mobility - Moving Overseas for Work

Posted on 20/09/2017 by Fleur Daniell

With Global Mobility becoming increasingly accessible and popular for peoples’ career and personal development, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on how to make it a smooth and rewarding transition.  

I first moved overseas for work following university, and so far have worked in New York, London, Hong Kong and most recently, Singapore.  Moving oversees for work is very exciting and rewarding, but it can also be daunting and comes with its own unique set of challenges.  Here’s some of my advice drawn from experiences I’ve learnt along my journey - very much hope it makes a few of you take the leap of faith needed to make a move abroad yourselves! 

You’ve made the decision you want to move.  What now? 

Do your research

  • Write/brainstorm a realistic and honest pros and cons list – a ‘living’/working document - essentially a SWAT analysis 

  • Cover all angles researching your target country(s) especially the VISA system(s); what are their requirements?  Education levels?  Age requirements?  Tax implications for expats?  Connect with the Embassy in your home country – what’s their advice?  Take advice from your home-country’s Foreign Office   

  • It’s key to invest in a trip to one or two of the countries you’re looking at moving to and be proactive whilst you’re there – organise x2/x3 meetings with head-hunters and meet a couple of real estate agents so you gain a balanced view & feel.  Walk the city … this will give you an excellent feel and insight into how you ‘gel’ with the place – be objective but also listen to your gut

Practicalities

Outbound:

  • To make your move overseas more enjoyable you need to be highly organised – a great opportunity to spring clean your admin/life!!  Mortgage payments, on-shore/off-shore banking, tax, insurance policies, pension funds and contributions, education certificates, relocation agents, the list goes on …  consider how these factors might be impacted by you moving abroad for an extended period of time (if you plan for 2 years it’s more the likely to be 4!), so you’ll need to be sure you have everything in order prior to leaving

Inbound:  

  • Banking/Utilities: be prepared to start asking questions!  For example, how do I set-up a bank account?  What documentation/ID do I need?  You will need to be persistent but patient – the system may not be as efficient as you anticipate

  • Housing: depending on the country, you may need to move fast when finding a home, be decisive and, if necessary, haggle! 

  • Language: make an effort with the local language – this will take you a long way!  Befriend someone in the office who can help you - you’ll never regret making the effort

  • Culture: start with food – through food you’ll discover insights into history including festivals, religion and rituals - a fabulous way to bond!

  • Social Life/Networking: be prepared to meet lots of new people as you build yourself a new group of friends – make an effort, sometimes a big effort!  Check out expat support groups when you first arrive - if you’re sporty, pick a sport/club to get involved with – try a new one – it’s a great ‘in’ to a new crowd.  During this process be sure to remain patient, it can take time to forge meaningful relationships but when you find your group, they are often friends for life 

  • Staying in touch with your roots: Skype and FaceTime with family and friends have become game changers … utilise them!

What you will gain along the journey …

  • The APAC market especially is rapidly developing, however there are numerous markets/sectors which are considered to be circa x5-x10 years behind their EMEA and North American counterparts - this organically leads to greater possibilities for individuals to be given more challenging and responsible roles, which leads to accelerated growth and development 

  • Learning about/immersing yourself in a new culture, including it’s nuances and subtleties, is both invaluable and fascinating!  Not only does it broaden the mind, it forces us to think, act and appreciate/adopt alternative characteristics and behaviours

  • Opportunity to travel: “Travelling is one of the easiest ways to become aware of the magic that weaves all of creation together through serendipity and synchronicity with perfect timing.” Adam Siddiq

I hope you find this advice helpful - gaining overseas experience will benefit you both professionally and personally – in my experience it has led to increased growth, exposure, confidence and resilience  

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” Maya Angelou

If you would like to discuss anything mentioned here further please get in touch with me at fd@charlottefrank.com