I Traveled Overseas and Love It!
When I travel, I always wonder what it’s like to live day-to-day at the places I visit. Some of the destinations are just so fascinating – and I don’t mean just the museums and tourist attractions. The people I meet, the street markets and the quaint, cozy, places that the locals like to visit are what make a trip the most memorable for me. Wandering “off the beaten path” and into the local haunts, however, can only show a glimpse into everyday life when there’s a time limit.
Thus, it was hardly a decision at all – more like fate, really – when I packed up and shipped off (all decided and worked out within 5 weeks’ time) to the United Kingdom to experience working abroad. I have been over here in the UK for nearly a year now as I write this. As much as I’ve had fun and lots of enjoyable experiences, I have also had many difficulties and hard times. I’d like to offer some pointers, from my experience, to anyone looking at working abroad.
- Go. For. It. If you want to travel lots, then working abroad is a good start. Why? You will already be based abroad, so every day is going to be different. Anywhere extra you get to go to on your time off is just a bonus.
- Don’t let anything hold you back. About six months before I left for the UK, I realized/self-diagnosed myself with PMDD. Every month was a constant battle where I would think I was destined to be alone, destined to be stuck at my minimum wage job and destined to never do anything that mattered to me. Many of these feelings would last well into my good time of the month, and I was thoroughly convinced I was stuck where I was. With the help of an amazing group of ladies, who helped me realize my PMDD did not have to be a limitation, I started to see a lot more hope in myself and what I could possibly do. Always remember that nothing has to hold you back if you can find the will to believe in yourself and reach for what you want.
- Always have hope. You will go through difficult times. For instance, my boss recently had a bad day and he took it out by yelling at me. When I defended myself, he diminished me to a “young lady.” The situation has been incredibly difficult for me, as I am overly sensitive. But, I am still hopeful. If things continue to be like this at the workplace, I do have the ability to look for another job. So always remember that if you are placed somewhere abroad through an agent, that placement doesn’t have to be your last stop.
- Don’t put up with crap. There is a time when constructive criticism is valuable or called for, but there is also a proper way for it to be relayed. If someone is treating you poorly, don’t accept it. Tell them it’s not appreciated, calmly but firmly, and don’t let it continue. It’s important to accept that some industries are going to be fast paced and stressful, but also equally important to realize when you are not being treated fairly. Long term abuse, whether it’s just a few small incidents every now and then, has devastating effects you don’t want to deal with while you’re away from everything that you are familiar with.
- Be accepting. There are going to be so many new things around you that your head may well be spinning for the first while. New vocabulary, new ways of thinking and a different pace to life in general. An interesting and encouraging thing I find over here in the UK is that it’s a very polite social scene: There are signs everywhere (at shopping centres, public places, etc.) that [verbal] abuse is not tolerated and will be punished severely.
- Enjoy your time off. Go places, meet people and explore everything.