How To Work And Travel

Written by on January 26, 2013 in Career - No comments | Print this page

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metro-cardTravel is a dream for many people. Travel holds the promise of seeing new places, meeting new people and learning things from other cultures that may hard to find at home.

For some people, it’s about the food, the night life, or the excitement. For others, it’s almost spiritual: a chance to reinvent, or even rediscover yourself.

Getting a Global Job

When most Americans are more likely confined to a once- or twice-a-year vacation, seldom longer than a week or two, increasingly we are hearing stories of people taking advantage of globalization to work from anywhere in the world.

It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it is a reality for many professionals. Working abroad involves hurdles like visas, travel expenses or facing a customized language test – so how do you get started?

It’s important to know your options. People who travel and work usually fall into one of three categories: freelancers, English teachers and corporate employees working overseas.

Research is Key

For freelancers and English teachers, the challenges are mostly personal, and there are financial costs to consider. English language teachers are hired all over the world, and many types of freelancers can work from a laptop at a cafe in any large city.

The infrastructure is not a problem, but you’ll be paying your own plane ticket, finding your own lodging, and to teach you may need a visa or work permit.

Essentially it comes down to striking out on your own, and the challenges involve coping with uncertainty and risk – two things best countered by planning. Research the countries you’re most interested in; know the cost of living and where the safest areas are, and plan accordingly.

Learn to Speak Native

Corporate employees looking to work overseas face a very different process. For most, lodging and air fare won’t be a concern – it will be provided by your employer; but these jobs are coveted, and increasingly employers are focusing on employees who know the local language.

Whereas freelance types and even English teachers can get by mostly on English, negotiating a contract or establishing a new distribution center will involve extended dealings – and often personal relationship building – with locals.

Many will speak English, but the value of a representative who can speak the native language is tremendous. It means better networking and, in many cases, a better chance of success.

Hence, companies want more than a passing familiarity with the language: they want you to be conversationally fluent, and in particular to be able to use industry slang and business terminology with ease. Thus, many include a customized language test as part of the interview process, to test your skills on very specific aspects of language.

The solution is, of course, to study and practice – but more than that, it means asking around through professional organizations and finding out what kinds of things you can expect to be tested on, so that you’re practicing the right stuff.

Thanks to digital technology and a global economy, working and traveling is more possible than ever. You just need to be prepared.

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This is a guest post.  Want to read more? Contact Brendan Kenny @ Beekayyyyyy.

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