While living abroad gives you the opportunity to explore new surroundings and interact with other cultures, working in a different country provides you with a unique set of skills and tangible employment benefits that are increasingly sought after by employers around the world.
A recent study by the British Council found that international work experience plays a key role in enhancing innovation and productivity in the workplace, at the same time it helps to build skills which benefit individuals, business and society.
As an expatriate worker, you are likely to have dealt with challenges that have put you out of your comfort zone. You may have found it difficult, or you may still find yourself struggling to fit in – these are all parts of the experience of working overseas. But rest assured the experience can be at the end extremely rewarding, both personally and professionally.
Take a look at the top benefits of international work experience that can have a positive, lasting impact on your career.
TOP CAREER BENEFITS OF INTERNATIONAL WORK EXPERIENCE
Flexibility and adaptability
Working in a foreign country gives you the chance to adapt to new and unfamiliar situations. This is a significant factor to grow your confidence and strengthen your ability to adjust to diverse situations.
Languages and communication skills
Not everyone working abroad manages to master a foreign language – But learning a new language is proof of your eagerness to take on new challenges and it builds up your communication skills. The British Council research found that 7 out of 10 individuals with international experience describe themselves as confident communicators who are able to work well with people from other cultures.
From figuring out how to navigate through a foreign city, to immersing yourself in a different culture – the challenges that settling abroad entails force you to use strong analytical and critical thinking skills, which helps to develop your ability to solve problems and innovate.
Work experience abroad can open your mind; help you to gain a better understanding of global markets and give you a taste of how organisations operate internationally. The business world is becoming more international than ever, and there is an increasing demand for workers that have experience with international markets and business cultures.
By interacting and working with people from other countries, you increase your cultural awareness, tolerance and cultural sensitivity.
The research by the British Council found that most employees who worked overseas believe their experience abroad enabled them to develop as a person. As you push your boundaries to adapt to a foreign working environment, you will experience growth in your confidence and gain a greater drive to take on new challenges.
This article was featured in our Cigna Global magazine, Your Health Matters - Spring Edition 2017.