Small Business Brief


From the Expat Experts: 8 Tips for Working Overseas

There are roughly more than 50 million expats in the world. That’s a record number of people working overseas. 

You may have a special assignment which has caused you to start working in a foreign country. Or, you may have found a job working in another country. 

Working overseas is not without challenges. From settling into your new environment to missing friends and family back home.

However, it’s important to learn from the lessons of expat experts. Here are the 8 tips for working overseas to prepare you for working internationally. Let’s go!

1. Learn the Language

If you’re working in another country which speaks a foreign language, you should learn the language.

Only 11 percent of ex-pats don’t bother to learn the local language at all. While their experience will be lesser as a result.

It’s not only about the cultural experience of learning another language. It’s also practical. 

You’ll get sick of ordering from the menu by pointing and being unable to ask for directions to where you want to go.

Not to mention trying to complete your tax returns in a foreign language. It’s definitely worthwhile to learn before you go abroad.

2. Ask Your Employer to Arrange Everything

You should always negotiate as part of your relocation to another country compensation and support for the move.

Your employer should help you to secure a visa, provide assistance with accommodation and cover the costs of shipping your possessions.

Moreover, you may even expect the employer to provide support for your partner to gain employment. Read this article to learn more about the expatriate program you should expect from your employer. 

3. Learn About Work Culture

Work culture can differ significantly across countries. You need to make sure you know what is expected of you in your new job.

For example, in South Korea, the average time working is over 2,113 hours per year. While in Germany, the average is 1,371 hours per year. For comparison, in the United States, the average is 1,779 hours per year. 

You also need to know; how long can lunch breaks be? How many vacation days are granted? It can be quite a shock to the system if you have to work significantly more hours than you’re used to. 

4. Finances Get Complicated

You need to be prepared for your finances to get complicated quite quickly.

If you’re moving abroad, you may find that you’re not eligible for a credit card in the new country. 

That’s why it’s recommended to apply for a credit card with an international company. Then, you can transfer your details to the new country rather than applying for a new credit card.

You’ll also need to open a bank account in your adopted country. You need to do your homework on how to set up an account. 

You may require a reference from your US bank before you’re permitted to open one abroad. There could be a lot of paperwork to get through as well. 

5. Apply for a Visa Early

Depending on your destination, the visa process can take up to a few months from the application to receiving the visa.

Immediately when you have accepted the job or overseas assignment, make arrangements to apply for the visa.

You definitely don’t want your opportunity abroad to fall through because you didn’t make the necessary preparations with your visa.

6. Family Matters 

Remember, it may not only be you moving to another country.

If you bring your family and/or partner with you, then you need to make sure they can settle into your new home as well. 

Research shows that the most common reason for overseas assignments failing is due to family reasons. Interestingly, expat couples do best when they move for the woman’s job. 

If you have children, you also need to research schools and colleges in the country. For example, what kind of educational system is available? 

7. Make Friends and Network

When you move to a new country, you probably don’t know anyone. This can quickly lead to loneliness. This can cause you to develop mental health problems, such as depression.

However, there’s one important way you can counter the onset of loneliness – make friends with expats and locals.

There are a bunch of different hobby groups, events, and locations whereby expats can meet each other. This is especially common in the big expat hubs, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and London. 

You can also meet locals through language tandem exchanges, talking to strangers or attending work socials. 

Moreover, if you already know people in the country, reach out to them. Chances are, they’re lonely too!

8. Don’t Overpack

Your employer may provide with compensation for the relocation of your possessions to your new home.

However, it’s wise not to overpack. You don’t have to take everything with you when you move to another country.

You can easily feel weighed down by too much stuff. It’s often quite easy to rent, borrow or buy furniture and other items when you arrive.

Then, if the overseas assignment or new job doesn’t work out, then it’s not stressful returning back home.

Tips on Working Overseas

Now you know how to prepare for your experience working overseas. It’s normal to be apprehensive about moving to another country. 

However, if you follow our expat expert tips, you can ensure you make the most of this once in a lifetime experience. 

You don’t need an overseas assignment or employment abroad to move to another country and make money. Check out our blog on jobs you can do anywhere