The Benefits of Working Abroad

A new poll has found over three-quarters of women who work abroad believe that doing so has improved their career prospects.

According to a survey from Natwest International Personal Banking, 83 per cent of women who work abroad believe the experience will stand them in good stead for moving up the career ladder. Apparently, having spent time working overseas is generally considered to demonstrate a number of important skills to employers. Out of over 400 women interviewed by NatWest, over half (52 per cent) said that the experience of working overseas had exceeded their expectations.

“Moving abroad is the best thing I ever did,” said Eleanor Fullalove, editor of Total France. “I have worked in Nice and in Paris and the opportunities I’ve had to work abroad helped advance my career.”

“While I was at university, I spent eight months working for an English language newspaper in Nice. After graduating with a degree in English and French, I was employed as a sub-editor at a magazine publishing company in Bath. Unfortunately, I was made redundant 18 months later and found it difficult to get another job in publishing. At that point, I decided to go freelance.

“So I went back to the same newspaper in France that took me on as a student. Then I found myself in Paris on an assignment for a big American publishing house with a branch in the French capital – they wanted me to interview celebrities on the front row and at parties during Paris Fashion Week.

“I’m convinced it was my French that set me apart and of course, the experience already gained working in France. I might have always been surrounded by English speakers in the work place, but living with French people whilst in France really helped me gain fluency in French.”

Alison Meehan agrees. She runs Costa Women, a social network community for women living in Spain, and draws on her vast experience working globally to stay ahead of the competition.

“I have worked in Australia, Dubai, Thailand and Spain; all of which were for different reasons and all gave a different work experiences.”

She advises securing a job before you move to make the most of your time abroad.

“If it’s a posting for a job then that experience is very different to moving somewhere for a life choice. Traditionally, the woman would find it hard to get a role which fit their skill-sets once they have arrived with their husband who moved for work. In my early days in the Middle East, it wasn’t uncommon for the employer to ask for the husband’s approval for the wife to work!”

She points out that the experience of a new culture, language, customs and someone else’s view of the world are invaluable in the current competitive jobs market – and can also give them the confidence to start their own business.

“People find that their boundaries and minds are expanded and far more often would find ourselves in a situation where we have to live outside of our comfort zone. However, once out of the comfort zone, maybe the prospect of going it alone is now a viable option.”

“This provides a great challenge and good chance for them to do what they have always wanted to do and monetise a hobby, or skill-set that was put to work for an employer previously.”

Taken from The Telegraph: 31.07.11