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Ten Challenges to expect when working Overseas

Working abroad is both a great opportunity and a major challenge – on a professional as well as on a personal level. Seeking an opportunity to establish a career abroad is fast becoming a trend for workers these days. In fact, it is also common for newly graduates to look for ways to get employed in a different country. Driven by a booming global economy, more than two-thirds of multinational corporations reported an increase in international assignments.

This article will help you realize the challenges to expect if you are planning to take a job overseas and some hints to overcome them.

1. Work permit/Visa

Depending on how much experience you have in the field you are entering, as well as to what extent the country you are going to work in is looking to attract foreign workers, getting a visa can be an issue. If you are moving with a large international firm then one of the huge benefits is that they are most likely to do all the work for you and it should be a seamless process where you are required to sign a few forms. However if you are moving abroad to work for a smaller local firm case will not be same.

2. Unfamiliar Culture

The most scary thing is simply that you’re moving into a culture you don’t know. Try to get as much information as you can about the culture in the country you want to work in. This will help you avoid being in very awkward situations with the locals. Understanding the workplace culture in a country is equally important, too, especially for foreign workers like you. Thus, you should spend some of your precious time learning about the local custom and how people do business in that country.

3. Language

One of the biggest issues is LANGUAGE, commonly faced by those working overseas. If you are not good enough in speaking or understanding the language in the country you are visiting, you will have a hard time even to find a hotel on your first day. Plus, you may be judged by your potential employer based on your ability to communicate well in their language. Again, this can be addressed by proper planning and getting some training if necessary. It’s hard to deny that the act of living in another country, in another language, fundamentally changes you.

4. Food

If you are not accustomed to trying various foods, this will be a big challenge for you. If you have any particular dietary needs, finding a particular item may be very tough. You may have to ship them from your country.

5. Relocation and Accommodation

If you plan to shift your spouse and family, relocation will be a bigger challenge. Adjusting to new environment for your family will not be easy. You will have to think for issues like schooling, healthcare, Mortgage, Cost of living etc.

6. Discrimination

Though, it is not of a bigger issue these days, as many organizations have multinational presences. Still many people are protective of their jobs, and HR professionals may not have enough influence to overcome protectionist feelings in their organizations. Foreigners are also vulnerable in the workplace; when budgets and positions are cut, the fact that you are a foreigner may informally factor into termination decisions.

7. Unfamiliar Business etiquettes

There are different etiquettes in different places; behavior is not the same in different countries. You have to develop a feeling for what’s respectful, for example, Avoid shaking hands if the other person doesn’t extend his hand for shaking. Dress code is similarly varied. Workers have been shaped by their own cultures, so they each have different expectations, goals, and ideas even about basic concepts. The best advice is to be very strict at first, dress very neutrally, until you understand your environment

8. Communication at work place

Obviously, differences in the workers’ language and culture can hamper effective communication. It is inevitable for workers who are not used to the language utilized in the workplace to have trouble expressing them and understanding what other workers are trying to communicate. There could be bigger problems if such employees are responsible for accommodating and addressing customer requests or inquiries.

9. Isolation

Away from friends and family could be very challenging at first. Initially you may not have a phone and internet, though once you get them you have to consider Time difference. It will not be always easy to be in regular contact with them. You will have to work on building new relationships.

10. Opportunities

Once you settle down and decide you like it here, make sure your employer has such requirements. If you are going abroad on a short term assignment, finding a new job in a foreign country could not be as easy. It is always beneficial to know in advance if there are multiple opportunities available incase needed. If you plan to relocate to your own country, your job references will be foreigners.

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