Why not work abroad?

Just after you graduate is a great time to get a job in another country, says Milkround's Abbie Baisden

Don't get me wrong, I really love my job, but one thing I regret is never taking the time to work abroad. Having gone straight from school to college, college to university, then headfirst into the world of work, I never took the opportunity to challenge myself in a different environment and culture that I hadn't grown up in.

Making excuses

Now, working in the multicultural hub that is London, I'm always surrounded by either those talking about their time working in Canada/Australia/Germany/Thailand/Japan (and that's just in the Milkround office) or those who are currently over here as expats, taking in all that the Big Smoke has to offer.

Upon reflection, all of my reasoning that seemed to make perfect sense at the time now seems irrelevant and a bit pathetic: I wasn't given the option as part of my course; I couldn't financially support myself; I didn't want to go alone; I wanted to get a head start on my peers, thinking that employers would be more impressed by a 21-year-old graduate with consistent work experience than one that had been away for a bit.

Looking at it from my comfortable position as a permanent employee, I can see that all my justifications can be easily dismissed: an overseas work placement wasn't offered to me at uni but I could've found my own way to go; there are definitely some nights out I could have skipped and some Saturdays I could have worked to raise the money; I moved to university alone and survived (thrived, even); and I'm now all too aware that employers are very impressed if you can go out of your comfort zone and create a life for yourself in another country, however long you're away for.

Go for it

In honesty, I was just a bit scared - there was so much to consider before going, on top of the usual graduate tensions, so I took the "easy" option (using the term loosely) of finding a graduate job on my home turf. So I urge you, students and graduates, if you have any inkling that you might want to live and work abroad for a bit, you probably should do so now, before you get too settled and can think of even worse excuses not to go.

You should, of course, take into deep consideration all of the concerns I had and any of your own, as well as the many other things that you need to research before you go (visas, work permits and licences, cost of living, locations, availability of work in selected country...see how scary it is!) and then you should just think: "In five years, am I going to regret not biting the bullet and going for it?" The answer is probably yes, guys, just warning you. Almost definitely yes.

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