Moving abroad for a new job can be a big step, especially if you’ve never done it before. The opportunity might be fantastic yet you may find yourself apprehensive about the upheaval and stress that comes with leaving your current life and starting up somewhere new.
Here at Techloop, we specialise in finding IT professionals great new positions, and often a move abroad can be part of the package. Here are some of the things we encourage you to consider before taking the plunge in a foreign land.
What to think about when relocating
Your personal situation
The most obvious and most important consideration, your personal situation will heavily influence your decision on whether it is worthwhile to move abroad for a job. The likelihood is that if you are young and single, you will find it easier to leave your current life and move somewhere completely different, whereas older people, perhaps with a family will have to weigh up the pros and cons more carefully as their decision impacts more than just themselves.
That said, everyone is different and even young and unattached people may feel a move abroad is too daunting or likely to make them unhappy, and similarly older people with families may view the chance to move abroad together as an exciting opportunity. So you really have to do what’s best for you.
The cost of living
This is an important thing to remember. Whilst the job might sound great, make sure you have done your homework in terms of salary and the cost of living. Your salary on the face of it may seem good, but if rent is much higher than in your home country then you might end up feeling worse off. A good rule of thumb is to work out what percentage of your monthly income you currently spend on rent/mortgage and bills and compare it to your future life.
Also bear in mind the implications of currency exchange rates. Whilst your salary might afford you a comfortable life in your new country of residence, you may find yourself much poorer when you go on holiday or return home. Any money you save in your new country might also not hold as much value when you return home.
Conversely, if you’re moving to a richer country with a stronger currency, you’ll have to make sure you’ve got plenty of savings as you always end up having to fork out a lot when you first move somewhere (flat deposits, travelcard, furniture etc).
Moving to a new city or country can be a pretty lonely experience when you first arrive, especially if you don’t speak the language. It’s always advisable to have at least one contact already established in the city before you move.
Obviously this is easier for some than for others, but it is usually possible to find someone, be it a friend of a friend, a colleague at work or someone else. If you’re struggling, there are many ways you can meet people before you move and after you’ve moved.
Couchsurfing is one a great way for travellers to meet, and why not host someone in your hometown from the place you’re moving to? That way they’ll be grateful to you for letting them stay and more likely to help you when you move to their city. Events such as language exchanges (being a native English speaker can make you very popular), sports clubs and other collective, social activities can be great ways to meet new people.
New language, new culture
Similar to the previous point, when taking a job abroad it is essential to reflect on the linguistic and cultural differences which will await you. Although you might not need to learn the local language for your job, not learning it could seriously hurt your attempts to integrate and get on with your colleagues.
In some countries, especially if you mix uniquely in expat circles, speaking English alone will be enough. However to really immerse yourself in the local culture and avoid any potential misunderstandings, we strongly advise getting to grips with the language. Plus, a language class is a great way to meet people in a similar situation to you.
What if it doesn’t work out?
Lastly, a very important thing to think through before accepting any job in another country is your backup plan. If for whatever reason things don’t work out the way you hoped, do you have a strategy for remaining financially and emotionally sound?
One thing is to check the local job market in advance, to see if there are lots of good opportunities you could apply for if your current position doesn’t work out. Secondly, and this relates back to the cost of living point, how long could you last without a job if you needed to look for something else? Does the country have a generous social security allowance, or will it be up to you to save for a rainy day? Do you have anyone you could help you out if you fall on tough times and how easy would it be for you to go home if you need to? All these things are important considerations and key to making your new start a success.
A great opportunity
All things considered, moving abroad for work can be a truly life changing decision and one that you may regard as one of the best you ever made. The chance to experience another culture, meet people you’d have never otherwise met can make it extremely worthwhile. We would simply advise taking our tips on board to help ensure everything goes smoothly.
Are you a developer? Sign up with Techloop to receive job offers anonymously.