Starting A New Job Abroad – 5 Things To Keep In Mind

What can you do to make things easier for yourself, when starting a new job and building a new life abroad?
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When you move to a new place, there is so much to think about, to prepare for, to sort out, that you can easily find yourself going through a never-ending to-do list. It can get overwhelming, and it can seem after a while, that so many new challenges have been added to the initial ones, that keeping track of everything is just impossible. What you can do to make things easier for yourself, is make a mental (maybe even strenghtened by a real one) note on what you should always have in mind when starting a new job and building a new life abroad.

Look at our five tips on what you should never lose sight of in the midst of all the novelties, so you can stay grounded no matter what the new life brings you.

1 – Be Humble

Staying humble is an attitude that will get you far no matter what your life choices and surroundings are. Even if you live in your home country your entire life, humbleness is the best way to go, but if you have to find your ways in a different culture, it is certainly the only way to go. Be aware that no matter how much time you spent and will spend learning about your new culture, there is no end to the process. Never assume that you are fully prepared and cannot be taken by surprise! Always keep in mind that there is a lot you don’t know.

2 – Stay Curious

Staying humble is best when you stay curious at the same time! This way you remain open-minded and accepting of whatever the new culture will present you with. Staying curious also means that you won’t just navigate on autpilot, but rather look for opportunities to learn and grow, while being aware that your norm is not the norm. Besides making the transition easier for you, curiosity towards the other culture is something that will be of great help in socializing as well.

People generally love it when someone wants to know more about them. Locals generally find it appealing when someone from a different country is open and curious towards their culture. Just pay attention, even if you just go on holiday somewhere, locals will be over the moon if you start speaking their language. So if you plan on moving and starting a new job abroad, let your colleagues and partners see that you care about their culture!

3 – Know Your Limits

Another really important factor in staying grounded in new and unfamiliar surroundings is to know yourself. And more precisely know what is still yes, and what is a major no from your side. Don’t try to force yourself into doing things that you know are not for you. There is a line between stepping out of your comfort zone and acting inauthentically. The “fake it till you make it” attitude has its limitations, and it can be truly damaging. Stay true to yourself, and listen to your gut feeling. If it says you shouldn’t do something, then don’t do it. It’s important that you know at all times that not everyone has to like you. At the end of the day, as long as you stay honest with the people around you and also true to yourself, everything should be fine.

4 – Make Sure You Work Towards The Same Goal

When you start at a new job abroad, no matter where, it is always crucial to have the same goals and priorities as your colleagues and partners. This doesn’t mean only the exact to-do list each of you has at the job, but the more personal priorities as well. Like for example are you surrounded by people who feel stronger about the task itself or the people involved in it? Are you driven by the same motivations? When working abroad, these things become important and visible, because they are all strongly influenced by culture. You may have not noticed them back home, when all of you shared the same cultural background, and were raised with the ame values in mind. But when starting a new job abroad, it’s important that you understand these differences, and address them accordingly! Making sure that at the end of the day you all work to achieve the same result is key. And if you find that there are different motivations at work, it’s up to you to find common ground, and keep a healthy work environment.

5 – Give Yourself Time

This is only last on our list, but not at all least! Be patient with yourself, and refrain from constantly asking yourself: “are we there yet?”. Dealing with having left your home behind, and with all the novelties that come your way always requires time. Don’t compare yourself to others, and don’t have impossibly high expectations of yourself. Feeling a bit off, even lost sometimes, is perfectly normal when you decide to start a new job, a new life abroad. Accepting that you need time and that you have your own pace will really help you in not becoming frustrated and bitter. Instead of judging or labeling your rhythm try to rather just observe it and go with it as it is. There’s no need to hurry yourself. After all, you took the big leap already by moving, now it’s time to somewhat calm down and settle.

Eszter Szűcs-Imre 

Key Takeaways

  • Be aware that no matter how much time you spent learning about your new culture, there is no end to the process.
  • Staying curious means that you look for opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Locals generally find it appealing when someone from a different country is open and curious towards their culture. 
  • There is a line between stepping out of your comfort zone and acting inauthentically. The „fake it till you make it” attitude has its limitations.
  • When you start at a new job, it is always crucial to have the same goals and priorities as your colleagues and partners.
  • Be patient with yourself, and refrain from constantly asking yourself: „are we there yet?”.
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