PGAs of Europe

Research and critically analyse your WHY – Working Abroad the Smart Way

Why do you want to work abroad? What do you want to achieve? What do you want to experience? Your reason WHY is far more important than the how.

Background check.

Do your homework when preparing to work abroad. Get a good understanding of the market that you are intending to enter. Research the internet, ask questions of people who have already made the move to find out what pitfalls are waiting for the unsuspecting and above all make sure that you, and those closest to you, know exactly what you hope to achieve by making the move. Get a feel for what that market really wants and then check that you are able to satisfy that demand.

Emerse yourself.

Visit the area to get a feel for the culture. Many people make the mistake of thinking that living in a new country is all great. Be assured that if you visit and stay in anything from a B&B to a five star hotel, it is nothing like living there. Of course it is great when your breakfast is served and you can go about your day like a tourist. No cooking or dishes to do, no beds to make, no forms to complete, (in another language) no tax, immigration or financial offices to visit and best of all a new exciting place to explore every day.

Avoid getting sucked into purely expat communities. Sure it is good to have people who have had a similar experience and have some inside knowledge of your newly adopted country. But guess what? Locals who were born and bred in the area know their way around even better. Enjoy the process of making friends with people who are not like you. After years of travel, I have friends of many nationalities and I have adopted some customs and traditions which are now my own.

A few words of the local language can really help. We all like to meet people who have made the effort to at least learn a few phrases in our native tongue. You don’t need to be grammatically correct in those first few months. Keep trying and you will be able to pick up enough of the language to make yourself understood.

Don’t compare.

Don’t compare or try to change people or processes. Comparing is just about the least productive thing that you can do with your time. The number of times I hear people say, “this is the way that we do it in…..”. Well guess what, if you notice that people here don’t do it the same as you did in your home county, there is probably a perfectly good reason. Find out, ask questions, seek answers as to how this method of doing things evolved. It will help you to understand the culture and to identify any part of the process that you might have an opportunity to tweak.

Make it your home.

Home is where your heart is. It is where the important things to you are. From the first day of arriving in a new country, try to make it your home. Create your own lifestyle, enjoy your new surroundings, make friends, follow a new football team, eat like the locals and emerge yourself in this new culture.

Whatever your baggage you will bring.

If you are not good at getting lessons in your home country, then there is no reason to think that you will all of a sudden become good at it in another. There are loads of things that we are not good at and so use the change of country as an opportunity to work on yourself to get good at the things you feel that you would like to improve.