What’s it really like in your dream job abroad?
Many of us have goals of taking our rich career experience, moving to a different country and pursuing a dream job. If you’ve got the ambition and the funds to make it happen, sometimes the only thing holding you back can be uncertainty – what will it really be like once you make it?
We’ve explored the reality of a few of the most popular dream jobs overseas. Take a look at what we’ve found to help you decide whether now’s the right time to make the move.
Running your own business
Lots of people love the idea of running their own business, and many of us are already doing it. In 2014, Companies House registered just over half a million new businesses in the UK – a significant increase from the previous year.
Entrepreneurial skills are generally highly valued elsewhere in the world, too. Certain countries – like the US – also have concentrated areas where ‘start up culture’ will help your own business thrive. Importantly, however, there can be lots of challenges for UK citizens setting up businesses abroad due to migration and economic issues.
In Australia and the US, tight visa restrictions mean there are lots of bureaucratic hoops to jump through. You’ll need to prove your business idea will significantly contribute to the local economy, potentially by creating jobs, and some visa applications will also need a fully fleshed-out business plan.
Starting a business in Europe is a lot simpler. As an EU citizen, you’re entitled to set up as a company or sole trader in any EU country, and every member country is encouraged to make it quick and cheap to do so. Be aware, though, that some administrations can take up to 10 days and cost nearly 400 euros.
Before you set up any business, consider what the area you’re interested in really needs. If you’ve visited and fallen in love with the place, take the time to ask locals what they’d like to see there. Like any business venture, it’s important to do your research before jumping into something which requires a lot of passion and hard work.
Moving to a foreign country to pursue an artistic career is very appealing; five out of 10 of the UK public’s dream jobs (researched by Microsoft) are all in the creative industries, including writer and photographer.
Having a creative career abroad probably means being self-employed, so it’s important to check on the visa and tax requirements of the country you’re interested in first. Often, you’ll need to prove you have enough savings to support yourself if you can’t find work.
However, creativity is borderless. There are plenty of places in which artistic communities and businesses thrive; some well-known hubs for creativity include Melbourne, Berlin, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Williamsburg and Portland. Research local and national arts and business grants for the area you’d like to live to understand whether funding might be available for your individual career, or organisations you’re keen to work for.
Check on the availability of good internet and communication channels in your dream destination, too. It’s important as a creative practitioner to be able to stay in touch with clients and market your work effectively. Countries like Australia and New Zealand, and some parts of the rural US, still struggle with effective broadband, which makes self-promotion a lot harder.
Active and outdoor careers
A strong pull for people leaving the UK is the hope of better weather and a healthier lifestyle in their destination country. Some territories, especially coastal Australia, have built successful, thriving economies on active pursuits including diving, swimming, surfing and yoga. Other areas are desperate for people who are interested in outdoor careers, as their younger, native generations now decide to make a break for urban zones and city-centric jobs.
Active, outdoor careers anywhere in the world require you to have at least some experience in what you’ll be ‘selling’ – and it’s likely you’ll need to have formal qualifications too. This is especially true for any role where you could place yourself or others in danger, such as scuba diving. Litigious cultures like the US will also be quick to pounce on anyone without the right qualifications and insurance.
Luckily, you can often train in your chosen field while abroad and then continue to work there. One benefit of this is that you’re guaranteed your qualification will be held in high esteem in that particular territory. If you’d prefer to train in the UK, choose an internationally-recognised institution and try to gain professional experience abroad.
If you’re thinking of migrating for the weather, don’t be fooled by your experience of a short holiday. Contrary to general opinion, specific areas in countries like Australia and New Zealand have climates much like our own, while the territories in the US and Canada can suffer from colder winters (and uncomfortably hotter summers) than in the UK.
Moving overseas for your ideal job doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. Take the time to work out exactly what you’re looking for in your new career and enjoy discovering the options before making a final decision.
This article is brought to you by HiFX.