19 Pros and Cons of Working Abroad

Working abroad is an adventure, with a unique set of positive and negative aspects.

If you are considering taking a job in another country, you should carefully consider the pros and cons.  

Pros of Working Abroad

There are many pros of working abroad.

These include: 

  1. Expand your mind
  2. Learning new life skills
  3.  Appreciating your country 
  4. Improve your resume
  5. Global marketplace experience
  6. Improve your financial security 
  7. Different perspectives on your business or industry
  8. Seeing the world 
  9. Networking opportunities
  10. Learning a new language

1. Expand your mind

One of the benefits of working abroad is expanding your mind.

You will be exposed to a completely different culture and potentially a new language as well. 

If you are curious about other cultures, there’s no better way to learn about them than to live it.

Working in a new country requires you to interact with your colleagues, which will help you understand their point of view. 

2. Learning New Life Skills

Working abroad requires you to learn some life skills that you may not have used before.

You’ll need a visa and transportation to the new country.

You should arrange accommodations before you set off for your new destination.

You will also need to learn about their currency, laws, and culture ahead of time.

 Once you learn these skills, you can use them throughout your life.

3. Appreciating Your Country 

You’ve heard absence makes the heart grow fonder.

There are many things about your country of origin that you never stop to appreciate.

Once you live in a different country, you’ll gain a new appreciation for your home. 

Perhaps you’ll move back in a few years and be glad that you gained this new perspective.

Maybe you’ll just be grateful that you had the opportunity to grow up in your home country.

  You’ll learn a lot about what you value about your home once you leave it. 

4. Improve Your Resume

Working abroad is a great way to improve your resume.

You’ll have unique experiences and knowledge that can easily set you apart from your competition when it’s time to find a new job or ask for a promotion. 

5. Global Marketplace Experience

Today, nearly every career is part of the global marketplace.

Your experience abroad can make you a great asset to a company.

You’ll have insights into a country that only comes from living there. 

6. Improve Your Financial Security 

If your current country’s economy is struggling, you may be able to find a more secure financial future abroad.

If your current currency is weak, inflation is high, or job prospects are limited, moving to a country with a strong economy can be a great solution. 

7. Different Perspectives on Your Business or Industry

One of the most important things you’ll gain by working abroad is learning different perspectives on your business or industry.

Each culture and country has a unique way of looking at things. 

You may learn how to streamline manufacturing if you move to Japan, for example. 

8. Seeing the World 

One of the reasons people choose to work abroad is because it allows them to see the world.

If you want to travel while making a living, working abroad allows you to do so.

You may even choose to work in one area for a while, and then move to another area.

9. Networking Opportunities

Working abroad also allows you to have new networking opportunities.

You’ll meet many people that you would never encounter outside the country. 

These relationships can help you in your career, regardless of whether you plan to stay or move back to your home country eventually.

You’ll make close connections with people in your new country, which can open doors no matter what country you are in. 

10. Learn a New Language 

You may also be able to learn a new language when working abroad.

Even if you already know the language, immersing yourself in it will allow you to become fluent in it.

This is difficult to do without using the language regularly. 

Cons of Working Abroad

Of course, working abroad has its fair share of cons as well. 

Cons of working abroad include:  

  1. Up-front cost
  2. Homesickness
  3. Physical difficulties or illness
  4. Disconnection from friends and family
  5. Never completely fitting in
  6. Difficulty moving up in your career (out of sight out of mind)
  7. Cultural differences and faux Paus
  8. Less job flexibility 
  9. Feeling transient

1. Up-front cost

Moving to another country can be expensive.

You’ll need to have money saved to make your dream a reality.

You’ll need funds for a visa, accommodations, and getting your stuff to your new location. 

There may be ongoing costs as well.

When you begin your new job, it could be a month or more before you get your first paycheck.

You’ll also need a little time to settle in before you start work.

You should be sure that you have enough money saved before you make your move. 

2. Homesickness

One of the downsides of working abroad is homesickness.

You are bound to feel a longing for home when you are so far away.

Of course, this can grow your appreciation for your home country, but it can be tough to deal with. 

Staying connected with friends and family at home with video chats or phone calls can help.

It’s also important to be sure that your life abroad is rich with friends and hobbies as well as a career. 

3. Physical Difficulties or Illness

When you move to a different country, the climate is likely going to be very different.

This can be a welcome change, but your body won’t be accustomed to the new climate. 

Some people find that their health improves in the new climate, but it’s also possible that your health will be negatively impacted.

You may develop allergies or have a hard time adapting to the new climate. 

4. Disconnection From Friends and Family

Even though you’ll do your best to stay in touch with friends and family that you’ve left behind, there will be some disconnection.

You may find yourself missing important events with loved ones, like weddings and births.

You may also lose family members while you are away.

This is one of the hardest things about working abroad.  

5. Never Completely Fitting In

You’ll never completely fit in when you are living abroad.

You’ll always be a foreigner. An outsider.

The people in your new home may be welcoming, but you’ll never truly be one of them. 

6. Difficulty Moving Up In Your Career 

Working abroad can be a great way to improve your work prospects, but it can also make it harder to get ahead.

If you plan to stay with the same company, you may find yourself being out of sight, out of mind.

You may be passed up for promotions because you don’t interact with the top people. 

7. Cultural Differences and Faux Paus

Cultural differences mean that you are bound to make some mistakes in your business relationships.

Ideally, you’ll learn fairly quickly how to navigate interactions with others, but you may still find an occasional culture gap. 

8. Less Job Flexibility 

Even if you move to a country with a strong job market, you may find yourself locked into your new job

. Your visa and employment may be linked. In this case, if you leave your job, you may be required to leave the country as well. 

Even if your visa isn’t tied to your career, finding a new employer as a foreigner can be challenging.

It’s possible to find a new job, but you’ll probably have a harder time than you would in your own country. 

 9. Feeling Transient

You may be planning on working abroad for a set amount of time.

In this case, feeling transient isn’t a big problem, because you know you won’t be there for the rest of your life. 

However, if you do plan to make a new permanent life in your new country, this can be tough.

Your employer and friends will likely assume that you will return home someday.

This may make it hard for you to get a promotion, or cause friends to keep some emotional distance.

You may also feel that you are never truly at home in your new country. 

19 Pros and Cons of Working for working abroad – Summary Table

Pros of Working AbroadCons of Working Abroad
Expand your mindUp-front cost
Learning new life skillsHomesickness
Appreciating your countryPhysical difficulties or illness
Improve your resumeDisconnection from friends and family
Global marketplace experienceNever completely fitting in
Improve your financial securityDifficulty moving up in your career (out of sight out of mind)
Different perspectives on your business or industryCultural differences and Faux paus
Seeing the worldLess job flexibility
Networking opportunitiesFeeling transient

Should You Work Abroad? 

There are many benefits to working abroad.

It can kick-start your career, and make you attractive in the global marketplace.  

However, it can also make it harder for you to get a promotion or change jobs in the future. 

Working abroad allows you to gain new life skills, and creates a strong sense of appreciation for your home country.

You may also find better economic opportunities abroad. 

However, you may experience homesickness, and never feel like you truly fit in when in your new country.

You may also struggle with business relationships due to cultural differences. 

The bottom line is, that you’ll need to decide if the pros outweigh the cons for you personally.

Generally, working abroad can be a great opportunity for many people.

If it appeals to you, go for it! 

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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