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The Expat’s Guide to Finding Happiness and Employment Across the Globe

August 5th, 2014 by Jason Hartman | Comments Off on The Expat’s Guide to Finding Happiness and Employment Across the Globe

If you’ve decided that the expatriate lifestyle is the one for you, you’re probably going to need to get a job. As if it weren’t already difficult to acquire employment, imagine the potential challenge of securing an income overseas. Sure, it presents a challenge–but an exciting and manageable one!

Some expatriates choose to become expatriates because they think that job opportunities outside of their home country will be better, while others follow a spouse or loved one abroad. No matter the reason, it is a lifestyle that many people find very rewarding.

To find a great job, you’ll simply need to do a little bit of work.

A growing trend

The number of expatriates continues to grow, as does the variety of individuals choosing this lifestyle. Almost twice as many 2009 graduates searched and secured employment overseas as compared to 2008. Expatriatism is becoming a skill.

Memorize the rules

You’ll want to begin your job search by looking at the working and living conditions in the country in which you’ll be seeking employment. Look at relevant tax laws both in your home country and the country where you’ll be living.

You’ll have to think about where you’re living, but how you’re getting there will matter too. If you’re there as a student, the rules will be different than if you’re there as a spouse, etc. For the 6.3 million Americans living (and working) in another country, these distinctions are very important.

Set goals

Before you set off to live and work abroad, think about why it is you are going there and what exactly you hope to accomplish. Having these things in mind will help you to search for housing and employment that is right for you.

You’ll feel more satisfied with your expatriate experience if you’re able to identify and accomplish goals. Goals may also help with the overall planning process.

Money matters

A relocation, especially abroad, can be tricky to manage. Banking and tax rules are different in every country, so moving will require a bit of research. Foreign banks often turn down American clients because of US reporting requirements, and it isn’t difficult to find yourself owing taxes in both the United States and your new country.

It’s important to learn the rules, and you may find it useful to consult an expert. Hiring someone to oversee your finances (at least for a little while) we likely be worth the money, should you choose to live abroad.

Think about a variety of options

You’ll probably feel a lot better if you can secure a job before you up and move to another country. Perhaps you’re able to supplement your income by renting out a property in the United States (don’t worry–you can hire a local property manager who will take care of the harder parts for you).

It’s important to remember to keep an open mind when you’re searching for work outside your home country. Even if you don’t have a history of experience teaching, teaching English can be a great opportunity for expatriates. Often, teaching jobs aren’t subject to the same regulations as other jobs (which may be required to first be offered to citizens). In many countries, there aren’t a lot of qualified speakers and writers of English language.

You might also consider the possibility of freelancing. You can write, design, etc. for people located across the world, which can be a great way to pay the bills and enjoy working from home in your new location.

And if long term employment seems difficult to come by, look at short term options. A number of people have found success when they lose their expectations and broaden their minds.

Once you’ve been offered a job, make sure that you know exactly what will be required of you. It can be easy for things to be miscommunicated abroad, and you don’t want to find yourself in a job that you’re unqualified for or don’t like or want.

A few resources

The internet is full of awesome resources to help expatriates or those thinking about it. On the United States State Department website, you can find a variety of information regarding employment and living situation in your new country. They’ve got a overseas employment guide that gives useful job search information. The site also provides a wealth of links designed to help expatriates out.

Another great place to look for resources is on the embassy site of the country you’re looking at. The sites will give useful information on visas for a variety of people. If a country has employment search programs or business resources, they’ll probably be listed here.

Finally, there are a ton of expatriate blogs that give firsthand experience. Many of them will also take requests for articles, which can be a huge help for you. Some have job post boards that will give you an idea about what’s available.

Here are a few other resources available:

Transitions Abroad

This site contains a ton of information on short and long term jobs overseas, but also gives information about international internships and even volunteer opportunities. You can read articles, look up jobs, and learn about what expat life is really like.

Easy Expat

Easy Expat is a site with international classified ads, forums and discussion boards, and job boards for expatriates. You can look for housing, get local advice, and meet other people from all over the world prior to your big move.

Go Abroad

The Go Abroad site is great because it contains a lot of information about teaching overseas. You can find out a lot about what it takes to become a teacher of English, sign up for Teaching English as a Foreign Language courses, and search for jobs. There are a lot of country-specific classifieds that are super helpful.

Because happiness matters

Expats are typically a happy bunch, but they’re happier in certain countries. France, Thailand, and Spain have the happiest expats, so it is unsurprising that they’re also the top places for retirement—you may want to begin your job search here!

So what makes people there so happy? Income, health care, ease of commute, and friendliness all seem to contribute. Good weather doesn’t hurt either.

The happiest people, no matter the country, are those who aren’t stressed about money.

(photo credit: Program on Forests via photopin cc)

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The Jetsetter Team


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