Life as an OFW is hard. There’s no sugarcoating the tedious migration process, the long hours spent working, the endless adjustment to a foreign land and its people, and the anxiety over whether your monthly remittances are enough for your loved ones back home.
So, consider yourself lucky if you are able to provide well enough for yourself and for your family without having to be away for a very long time.
That being said, should you get the opportunity to work abroad yet have no real (i.e., financial) reasons for doing so, I wouldn’t recommend turning it down either. Taking on work overseas out of necessity is one thing. It’s quite another to embrace such as the next adventure you ought not miss. Here’s why:
1. It builds character.
Working abroad is very different from traveling as a tourist. As the latter, you can go sight-seeing during the daytime and go partying at night. Should you get sick of one place, you can move on to the next one. When you live and work like a local, you’ll be facing challenges on a daily basis – from setting up a bank account to finding an affordable place to stay, and having to face all of these things on your own will develop your resilience like nothing else.
You may arrive as an agreeable and eager-to-please youngster, but before long, you’ll learn things like how to ask for a pay raise without stuttering and how to politely yet firmly say no. Being on your own for a while without your usual posse of friends and family will also teach you to have more faith in your life decisions.
2. A stint abroad is always good for your CV.
Having lived abroad can give you a tough edge in a competitive job market, even and perhaps especially in the remote work industry.
It takes a lot of courage, gumption, and resourcefulness to start from scratch so far from home, and many employers value those traits. Furthermore, working abroad gives you a more global understanding of your industry, and that’s something that will always set you apart from a local pool of applicants.
3. Working abroad allows you the freedom to try a new career path.
On the other hand, working in a different country can also be beneficial for you even if you haven’t decided on what you would like to do for the rest of your life.
A fresh start means exactly that, and if you happen to choose to avail of such in New Zealand, you’ll be delighted to find that over there, most employers prefer to hire people with a can-do attitude over a decorated CV. Thus, you may inadvertently stumble upon a heretofore-undiscovered calling as a barista or something like that.
4. You’ll learn how to be an actual adult.
When you’re starting out in a first-world country and earning minimum wage, you grow up pretty fast.
In situations like these, you won’t be able to afford the sort of YOLO lifestyle that entails going out for dinner every night or spending your weekends sleeping in. Instead, you’ll quickly learn how to do your own cleaning, cooking, and laundry, plus you’ll have to deal with the “b” word (read: budget) often, so you’ll need to figure out how to manage your pennies. It sounds difficult and potentially terrifying to be without a safety net, but this truly is the best way for anyone to cultivate the ability to be on their own.
5. The experience is bound to give you adaptability and confidence.
If you constantly doubt your own abilities, working abroad will give you the opportunity to put your insecurities to bed.
For one, you won’t have time to dwell on your self-doubts. Life abroad often tends to proceed at a very fast pace, so you’ll be compelled to adapt in order to survive. Once you get the hang of things, though, you’ll find that you had it in you all along to be more resourceful and adaptable. Once you manage that, a renewed sense of self-confidence is pretty much a given at this point.
6. Living in another country for a while gives you a fresh perspective.
They say that a life without traveling is like reading the same page of one book over and over again. Needless to say, doing that robs you of a better understanding of the bigger picture.
Far too many people spend their lives amongst the same people, the same culture, and the same old places. Some do so by choice, and thus tend to have narrow-minded and ignorant views of those who are different from them.
Thus, doing the opposite of that, which is voluntarily setting foot outside your comfort zone to discover new things, will help you gain broader, more wholesome, and more charitable views of the world, and that can only serve to make you a better person.
As a final note, when you do come back, be sure to use all that you’ve learned to help out your countrymen. Explore as much of the world as you want, and revel in all the things it has to teach you, but do remember to come back and give back to the land that you’ll always call home no matter where you end up.