November 9, 2023, by Leah Sharpe
Considering moving abroad after graduation: here’s what to consider
By Grace Smyth, languages graduate
Choosing to move abroad can be both scary and exciting! Whether you’re going on a year abroad, thinking of an internship abroad or applying for overseas graduate jobs, there are a lot of things to consider.
Depending on the country you move to, there are many different visa requirements. For example, if you have an EU passport you are entitled to work in an EU country, but with a UK passport you would need a visa to work in the EU. Make sure to check online for visa requirements in the country you are thinking of working in! For international students applying for jobs in the UK, have a chat with our visa and immigration support team for advice. The legal stuff can be daunting but don’t be put off by it, everyone is in the same boat, and in my experience, embassy websites can be super helpful to find out what you need to do.
Even if the cost of living abroad is less than the UK, you should check whether you can afford to live on your salary. It may sound pretty obvious, but it is an essential part of considering whether to accept a job offer. In addition, ensure that you know your housing options before accepting the job, sometimes your employers can help you find accommodation. Before I accepted my job offer in Sri Lanka, I asked them what support I would receive in order to find accommodation and I discovered that my employer provides three months of free accommodation to ensure that when I arrive I can focus on settling in rather than trying to find somewhere to live. The reassurance of knowing you will have a roof over your head when you arrive reduces stress dramatically when moving abroad. You may also need to consider whether the country you are looking at speaks a different language. If so, try to learn as much as you can before you go as it’s very important to remember that you can’t expect everyone to speak English.
Have you been to the country before? Are you aware of cultural differences? Living on the beach may sound dreamy but think about the practicality of the area, like transportation and opportunities to meet people.
It is crucial that you are aware of the laws in your chosen country. For example, LGBTQIA+ laws may differ from the UK, so checking whether you will feel safe and respected is vital. The country may have different opinions on social issues, politics or even just ways of living that you may not be used to, so be sure to research different aspects of daily life in your chosen country before moving. I haven’t been to Sri Lanka before so I have spent time researching local customs and culture to ensure I am respecting the culture I am going to be living in.
Family and Friends
Choosing to work abroad is an adventure but one thing to consider is the separation from your family and friends. You should be aware that your family may not be able to afford to visit you and feeling homesick is a guarantee. The NOOC Intercultural Awareness was super helpful to me during my year abroad in explaining what to expect with homesickness and how eventually we all go through the process of cultural adaptation. However, homesickness isn’t necessarily always a reason to choose not to stay at home, it just helps you make sure you have things in place to make you feel more settled, whether that is knowing when you are next coming home or simply having scheduled weekly phone calls with your loved ones. I am leaving in a few weeks for Sri Lanka and I know that I am next coming home in four months for Christmas so knowing when I am seeing my family again is helping to ensure I focus on the excitement rather than what I am going to be missing out on.
It is undeniable that accepting a job abroad comes with some challenges, but the benefits are never-ending. Living in another country is a completely different experience than going on holiday and provides so many opportunities for personal and professional development. I learnt so much about myself both personally and professionally during my year abroad and I can’t wait to continue that now that I have graduated!
There are a range of resources on our website to help with the transition abroad and of course. The Careers and Employability Service is here for you even after graduation so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or just for some advice.
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