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If you’re in your early or mid-twenties like I am, let’s be real – chances are you’re not working in your dream job. If you’re lucky you have a job, which is great, but you might be getting tired of waking up every morning to go do something you don’t particularly enjoy. Some days, maybe you even think of just leaving.
Why not just do it?
Just up and moving to another country to work for a year or two is actually not that crazy of an idea. And it’s also not as expensive or scary as you think. People will say that you’ll fall behind in your career, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth in my opinion. There are so many personal and career benefits to taking some time away to work abroad – here are the ones I’ve experienced during my time living and working in Santiago, Chile.
1. You get to travel.
But even if you’re not a travel junkie like me, living abroad gives you a unique opportunity to travel around wherever you decide to live. If you want to live in Santiago, like me, then suddenly all of South America is your oyster, and traveling around becomes much easier and cheaper (still not that cheap, though). You also will feel less guilty traveling around, because it’s not like you’re just messing around on your parents’ dime – you’re earning your travel.
2. You really get to know another place.
When you travel as a tourist, you get to know places, sure. You see the historical sites, visit museums, and try out restaurants that the Lonely Planet recommends, all of which is awesome. But living somewhere, you really learn how the pace of life actually is. You learn what the popular snacks are, where the cute hidden cafes are, how to use the busses, where to go for the best and cheapest drinks. By the time you go home to your country, you’ll realize that you have a second home wherever you worked abroad, as well.
3. You learn a new language.
Assuming you decide to move somewhere where a language other than English is spoken (hint: most of the world), you’ll learn at least some of the local language even without making a huge effort. And if you decide to take classes, then you’ll get even better with the daily practice. There will be hard days, and frustrations, and embarrassment, but in the end it’s always worth it to learn a new language. It will open up a whole new world of potential friendships for you, and besides, it’s good for the ol’ resume.
4. You get work experience.
Who hasn’t been driven to a rage by job ads that say things like, “Entry level: 3 years of work experience required.” I mean, seriously, that kind of thing makes my blood boil. The good news is that jobs like teaching English abroad, working as an au pair, and, heck, even waiting tables, don’t tend to have such strict experience requirements. I arrived in Chile last June, and 5 days later I was already working as an English teacher. If you’re thinking of doing something short-term, Workaway is the perfect place to start looking.
5. You make new friends.
Living and working abroad, you’ll be meeting new people every day. You’ll end up making friends with people you never dreamed you would meet, locals in your new home, fellow expats, people who share your interests and people who don’t. You’ll get a whole different perspective on the world when you talk to your new friends, and that is invaluable.
6. It’s good for your resume.
Working abroad, contrary to what many people might say, actually can really give your resume a boost for when you return home and start another job search. You’ll be able to say you have experience adapting to new situations and working with people from different cultural backgrounds. You’ll also be able to add proficiency in a second language to your skillset, which is really valuable.
7. You won’t live forever.
Go do the things you’ve dreamed about, now.