Being an “Expat” can be a daunting prospect. Moving to a foreign country … With a foreign culture … And a foreign language. The only thing that may be relatively familiar to you is the company that you are looking to work for. What if you don’t meet anyone you get along with? What if you don’t fit in with the culture? And what if you hate it and want to go home after a few months after telling everyone you’re leaving to pursue this big career opportunity?
These are all thoughts I’m sure you have all felt if you have either been an expat or have considered an opportunity abroad. I have personally been asked these questions by the Expats I am placing out in the UAE. But these questions can just be excuses we use to avoid taking a risk, and there are simple answers to all of them!
Moving to a foreign country … With a foreign culture … And a foreign language
Correct! This is exactly what you are going to encounter! But isn’t this an exciting part of pursuing a career abroad as an expat? If you are considering career options abroad that have been presented to you, I can guarantee you won’t be the only one! There will be some familiar people out there so don’t feel isolated! But at the same time the internet is your guide to the local culture. Read some articles, watch some vlogs, have a look at some expat websites and speak to people already out there. If you are speaking with a recruiter, ask them! Any decent recruiter offering you a role abroad will know the culture, the hot spots and have contacts already out there! But overall, just get yourself familiar with the culture so it doesn’t feel all that alien when you get there.
Is this the death of my social life? How will I meet people in this new foreign land?
Yes. Yes it is. Or at least it will be the death of the social life that you know now, but the birth of a brand new one with new people! Back to the UAE for another example, where I am actively placing candidates. I think it is safe to say that the UAE isn’t known for its drinking culture, or its party lifestyle. But with a bit of local knowledge on where to go, I can bet you that there are nights for all tastes! Something that has also very much surprised me!
How do I know the local living costs? Is this actual market rate for the region or are they playing on my lack of knowledge?
This can be hard to gauge before actually getting an offer. How can you dive into pursuing this opportunity if you don’t have the salary you will be offered? Surely you need this information to see how it compares to what your rent will be … what you will spend on food … will you be any better off? Again, this can be answered with research, there are plenty of average salary comparison websites to give you a ballpark of what you should be earning and if you are dealing with a recruiter then ask them! I don’t know if you are catching a trend here, but let’s take the UAE for an example (as I’m recruiting expats for this region I like to think I know my stuff). The salary for expats is completely tax free! But surely as it is a more expensive part of the world it cancels out the tax free benefits? No! The salary for skilled expats is a significant increase on the UK market and even though it is a more expensive part of the world, you will still be living a much more luxurious lifestyle with a bit more money to bank each month.
My point is, no matter where you are going and what you are doing, there will always be other people ‘in the same boat’. If you are considering an opportunity abroad or want to consider one, then just do your research! Don’t let small doubts that can easily be answered if you ask, stop you from pursuing what could be the opportunity of a lifetime. And if you are dealing with a recruiter who is placing you abroad, ask them!
If you haven’t guessed already, I am currently working with a Global Aerospace company based out in the UAE. They are a composite manufacturer and supply globally to Airbus and Boeing. They are recruiting across the board, from tooling engineers and manufacturing engineers through to supply chain managers, project managers, program managers and L&D managers! If you come from a composite aerospace background and want to discuss what it’s like to live abroad and work in a large company earning a tax free salary then don’t hesitate to give me a ring on +44 (0)1202 596 365 or enter your details below.