So, you have got the chance to live and work in a foreign country. You are excited and perhaps a little apprehensive and it is perfectly understandable. What are some of the challenges of living and working in a foreign country? Below are some areas to consider before you go.
Housing. Many Australians are used to high quality houses of a certain size, with certain appliances. Finding a good place to stay is often one of the first challenges to overcome. It is all well and good staying in a guesthouse for a short period of time, but for a longer or more permanent stay, your self-contained housing is a must. Finding property in the right area and getting used to the local quirks are some of the challenges that must be overcome. There are plenty of nightmare stories and many fantastic stories, and taking time and getting plenty of advice before heading off, make things easier.
Rules. One of the challenges that many Australians and other people have to overcome when relocating overseas, is that of paperwork and regulations. Some countries have transparent and straightforward process and others do not. Getting ID cards, opening bank accounts and even registering for tax, are often hurdles that must be crossed.
Weather. Don’t expect the weather to be the same as you left behind in Australia. If you are heading to a country, and have only seen holiday snaps or scenic pictures, be prepared to not get that weather all the time. For Australians who are used to warmer climates, adjusting to Europe, especially Northern Europe can be a challenge. But this is all part of the adventure, isn't it?
Social. Socialising and getting to meet people is somewhere high on the list of challenges facing Australians who are heading overseas to start a new life or spend a considerable length of time away from home. Of course meeting local ex-pats is helpful but meeting locals is where the challenge lies. Knowing the places where the locals hang out and how to fit in is something that is not easy.
Family. The biggest challenge for most is missing family and friends back home. It is to be expected, and at first it can be difficult. As time passes by, it becomes easier as new friends are made and life settles down to a new normal.
These 5 things are all usual considerations for relocation, but there is a way to overcome them all with added ease. To address all of the above, apart from the weather of course, the easiest way to settle in and get things sorted is to be able to speak the local language. Having a grasp of the language really does make a difference. Finding a place to stay would be easier as you can ask the locals for their opinions, make enquiries and understand the process much more easily. The same would be true for all the rules and regulations. Socialising becomes a breeze and once you have friends you will find yourself comfortably relocated and ready for your new adventure.
So what’s the magic formula to making sure you ace your interview and conveying that you are, in fact, the best person for the job? While there is no one clear answer, we’re betting you that learning a second language will get you there faster. Let’s take a look back at those three important traits that we discussed earlier and how being bilingual (or multilingual!) can help with each and every one of them. Here’s how:
1. The ability to work collaboratively on a team — Learning a new language will increase your level of empathy with others. You’ll learn important differences between various communication and learning styles—the key to working effectively with others or managing any team.
2. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively — Of course, communication is key when learning a new language. You’ll learn important differences between languages and cultural nuances that may only exist in another language but not English. Being bilingual will teach you how to think more creatively about multiple ways to get your main idea across to different audiences.
3. The ability to obtain, process, information and to create ideas — Learning a second language will actually enhance information processing in the brain. We’re serious. Studies show that brains in bilingual individuals have more grey matter than those in monolingual individuals. Grey matter is a major part of your Central Nervous System, which plays a key role in information processing. Additionally, we live in an increasingly globalised age, with an influx of language and cultures infiltrating all major cities. “Knowing multiple languages is important in the professional world for the purpose of international business, cultural understanding, and building good will with a diversity of partners and customers.”
Fluency in more languages, now more than ever, is considered extremely important by many employers. CNN Money has deemed fluency in a foreign language “the hottest job skill” 3. Also, according to them, 25,000 jobs are expected to open up for interpreters and translators between 2010 and 2020.
Getting fluent in another language of course, in addition to helping fast-track your career, fluency in another language comes with some pretty obvious perks. Just picture yourself working remotely, while sunbathing on the Costa del Sol in Spain, or ordering off the menu in Italian and your accent being on point.
And, you know, adding it to your resume and impressing your future employers at an interview doesn’t hurt either. Knowing more than one language will increase the likelihood of getting hired by sharpening the skills that all employers look for, while also opening up many professional opportunities, whether they’re in the states or abroad.
1. “The 10 Skills Employers Most Want In 2015 Graduates.” Forbes.
2. “41 of Google’s Toughest Interview Questions.” Inc.
3. “The Hottest Job Skill Is…” CNN Money.
These blogs are about learning a foreign language and utilising that skill to forward your professional path.