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Working Abroad: How to Prepare

Working abroad can be your path to a wealth of new experiences, new friendships and international work experience. However, it is not entirely straightforward to move the tent poles up and head to another country to work – there are a number of practical issues you need to be in control of first.

Here we have put together a list of some of the important things you need to take into account and prepare before departure. With good preparation, you have already laid the foundation for a successful work adventure abroad, and your efforts are guaranteed to pay off in the end.

1. Examine the possibilities for visas and work permits

The rules for work permits, visas and work visas vary from country to country. If you are going to work in an EU country, you do not need work and residence permits, but you should always familiarize yourself thoroughly with the process in advance. The various application processes can take a long time, and it is a pity to have your stay abroad delayed due to paperwork that needs to be done.

2. Read about the country and its culture

You can ward off the biggest culture shocks by reading up a bit on the country you need to visit before you leave. You can do this in many ways – do research online and look up groups on eg Facebook for foreigners working in that country, read books or talk to others who know the country better than you. It may also be that you have the opportunity to visit the country or city on a vacation before making your final decision. That way, you may already notice if you can see yourself living and working at the destination for a longer period of time.

3. Get a handle on the important insurances

If you have to work in another EU country, an EEA country or Switzerland for up to a year, you can use your blue health insurance card to access medical care and treatment in a hospital. Outside the countries mentioned, the card cannot be used, and here you must investigate the possibilities for health insurance in advance. If you have already found an employer, you can ask him or her if health insurance is included in your employment. Health insurance abroad can be a bit complicated to manage, but it is nonetheless one of the most important items on the list.

4. Examine the cost of living in the city or country

In Denmark, the cost of living is relatively high, and therefore you will in many places experience that the prices are lower than you are used to. The same will also apply to the salary level – there may of course be exceptions if you are posted by a Danish company or work for a Danish employer abroad. As a rule, the salary and the cost of living will go hand in hand, but it is still worthwhile to familiarize yourself with the cost of living in advance – it can be a determining factor in where you choose to live, how many hours you have to work, etc.

5. Do you dream of a specific job abroad?

Maybe you dream of fulfilling a certain job function when you have to work abroad. Here it is important to start the job search early, so you have plenty of time to talk to different employers, go to job interviews and hopefully find the right job.

It may also be that the experience and the journey itself is the primary driving force – here you can consider looking for a job in, for example, a call center or a company that works with meeting booking. Here, no specific training is typically required, as new employees are trained on site and the environment is often social and international.

6. Talk to others who have worked abroad

If you still have some concerns or doubts, first-hand accounts from others can be very rewarding. If you have someone in your network who has experience of working abroad, you can ask about their experience and what challenges and successes they have had in connection with their stay abroad. The most optimal is of course to talk to someone who has visited the same destination that you would like to travel to – but even general considerations about living and working abroad can be of great value to you who are in the consideration phase.

If you do not know anyone with work experience from abroad, you can read reports from candidates who have found jobs through Job Squad here.

7. Find a place to stay before you travel

Perhaps it is easier said than done to find a place to stay in advance. And that is exactly why it is a really good idea to start with the housing search before you leave. It saves you unnecessary stress after arrival – and it’s also cheaper than having to stay in a hotel while looking for the perfect apartment. Start your housing search online on local housing portals and ask in your network. It may also be that your employer abroad has apartments available or knows some places you can apply.

Are you considering working abroad? Contact us at Job Squad – we match international graduates and jobs all over the world, and we are happy to help you with your practical questions.