If you are starting a new job away from home, it can be very daunting. New people, culture, currency, working abroad can be a bit overwhelming. Here are our top tops if you are taking that leap to working in a new country.
1. Sign up to Foreign Office Travel Advice alerts
It is important to remain aware of how safe your destination country is. The Foreign Office Twitter feed @FCOtravel provides regular updates for British nationals travelling and living abroad, and will give you real-time notifications of situations occurring around the globe. Sign up to the Foreign Office alert emails via the FCO website for updates on security issues and travel advice. The website also has more information about tax, benefits and government services abroad.
2. Invest in a good guidebook.
The ‘Rough Guides’ and ‘Lonely Planet Guides’ are ideal, not only for highlighting where to go and where not to go, but they usually have really good maps to help you familiarise yourself with the area. They will also direct you to your nearest local amenities and where to find the transport links and timetables.
3. Medical insurance.
Read up on your medical insurance, are you sufficiently covered by an existing policy/healthcare arrangement? It could be expensive if you need medical attention and you haven’t got the right cover in place.
4. Find out what expat community already exists.
Sign up to some expat twitter feeds for your destination country. Find out their local hangouts, expats have already experienced their first arrival and will be able to offer you some good local support and knowledge. Not only will this give you some insider tips, you might also make some new friends.
5. Know the basic laws & culture.
Do your research to learn the simple do’s and don’ts. It is easy to cause offence by not understanding cultural differences of a country. For example in China it is polite to leave a little food on your plate, in Saudi Arabia you should never eat with your left hand as it is considered unclean, and in Argentina, it is considered rude/ improper to eat on public transport!
6. Learn some basic language.
If they speak another language, try and learn some of the key basic words which will help you get by. Often, just by making the effort people will try and help you. Words and phrases such as ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’ and ‘No thanks’, will be useful.
What is the local currency,? What is the conversion rate to your domestic currency? This will help you assess value of items locally. Write a note of the conversions for the key denominations such as £1, £5, £15 and £25 and keep it in your wallet. You’ll soon start to remember it.
8. Repatriation Plan
Finally, make sure you have an emergency plan in place in case you need to return home immediately. Ensure you have enough money for travel, the telephone numbers to hand to book your flight and you know where to find all your travel documents.
Hopefully these tips will be a good starting point when stepping out your career away from home.