April 28, 2011

The Pros and Cons to Working Overseas

From becoming an ESL teacher overseas to moving to a foreign branch of a company where you already work, there are tons of job options in other countries that you can consider if you want to start working abroad. This career path has both advantages and disadvantages, no matter which new country you’re considering calling home. Let’s take a look at a few of the pros and cons of working overseas so you can decide if this is a good option for you.

Pros of Working Abroad

  • Depending on your industry, there might be more options in foreign cities, meaning that you’re more likely to get hired.
  • If you move to a place where cost of living is extremely low, but continue to work for a U.S.-based office, you could put a lot of money in the bank.
  • Working abroad gives you the ability to see the world.
  • Many companies offer incentives to employees who are willing to move overseas, such as free housing or annual bonuses.
  • Moving overseas is the best way to learn a second language, and having this skill looks great on your resume when you’re job hunting in the future.
  • You might be able to find a location with awesome weather (depending on your preferences) – it’s like you’re always on vacation!
  • Working abroad makes it easier to become a citizen or otherwise legally stay in a country where you want to live.
  • Companies often offer management positions to employees who go overseas, while if you stay in the U.S., you might be third or fourth (or fifth or…) behind others who are qualified for the promotion as well.

Cons of Working Abroad

  • It’s expensive to move to another country if you take your belongings with you (or store them back home). Not every company offers to pay for relocation.
  • It can be a hassle to go through the paperwork of moving to another country legally.
  • If you’re moving to a new country, you might not know anyone or even know the native language. It can also be jarring to adjust to a new culture.
  • If you feel homesick, it’s harder to visit friends and family if you’re coming from another country. In many cases, you’ll also be on a different sleep schedule than your loved ones, making it difficult to stay in touch.
  • It will be harder for your family to adjust to new schools or find a new job.
  • Taxes are often higher in foreign countries – though you may still pay in the U.S. instead of in your country of residence, depending on how long you live there.
  • You could miss out on a promotion at your home office if you’re busy working overseas.
  • Living conditions aren’t great in every country – it depends on where you live.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider before you pack your bags for the ESL teaching job in Japan or contract position at your company’s Germany office. Talk it through with your spouse, parents, or friends before you rush into the decision to make sure this really is the best move for your career and your life.

Sign up for our newsletter!