It is no secret that the economy in the United States has been lagging quite a bit over the past few years. Job growth, though better than it was in much of 2008 and 2009, is still very anemic. Many people who had six-figure incomes before the latest recession are still struggling to get back on their feet. Those who struggled before the economic downturn are especially vulnerable. What can be done in such a sluggish economy to get ahead? While many people would not consider it an option, working abroad may be just what a person or family needs to get ahead.
The United States Department of State estimates that about 6.3 million American citizens are currently living and working in other countries around the world. The majority of these people live in developed regions like Canada and the Western European nations, but the number of Americans moving to Asia has increased greatly in recent years. And over 160 countries have Americans living among the locals.
Benefits of Working Abroad
One of the major benefits of living abroad is the international experience that expats can bring to an organization. Recent studies have shown that those with international experience are better at solving problems and thinking outside of the box. These attributes are highly sought in many corporate structures. Those who live abroad can also become better managers because of their expanded understanding of how the world works. Expats can cater to those who live in other countries and expand business opportunities within an organization. Promotions are more likely for those who have international experience and show an aptitude for creativity.
Another major benefit of living abroad is the cultural experience that it can provide for individuals or families. Rather than taking a weekend trip to the Fayette County Historical Society, an expat can take his or her children on an excursion to the Louvre. Children who live abroad are more likely to learn about their adopted culture and become useful for global companies in the future. The benefit of working abroad can cross generations in this way.
Learning a New Language
The world is getting smaller because of the internet and the ease of travel. Many organizations have a high demand for those who can do business in the language of the locals. Expats who decide to work abroad can learn a new language while on the ground. It is easier to learn languages when immersed into a new culture so expats have a leg up on the competition.
Negative Aspects of Working Abroad
The cultural experience mentioned above as a benefit may have a negative side in some instances. Rather than reviewing high culture, expats in some parts of the world may find themselves in some difficult or awkward circumstances. As the show Have Fork Will Travel has shown us, some parts of the world consider certain things a delicacy that Americans wouldn’t consider eating. When in Rome, it is sometimes necessary to do as the Romans do to avoid causing offense. But even some places in America eat things that other regions consider strange. Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern has eaten Beaver Chili in Maine, Goose intestines in New York, Lamb Brains in Michigan, Hog Souse (Hearts, ears, stomachs), in Tennessee, Liver Mush ( including pigs head) in North Carolina and road kill in West Virginia, so you don’t have to travel abroad to find strange food.
This is probably one of the more difficult parts of taking an assignment abroad. Expats may not see friends and family for months or even years at a time while working overseas. But on the flip side you will have the opportunity to make new friends and find some good fellow expatriates to socialize with that can make the stay in a foreign country more enjoyable. In addition, the work experience that such an assignment can provide can be priceless and there can definitely be worse jobs than learning about a foreign culture. And with the right attitude, the benefits it brings can definitely outweigh the negatives.
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This article was written on behalf of Worldwide Accom. Check out their website for what they have to offer for your travels such as apartments in berlin.
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