Design Your Life
3 Foolproof Tips To Find Your Dream Job Abroad
By Sienna Brown
Imagine a life where you’re able to wake up in the morning and dive into work from a small cafe with seaside views. You take a long lunch break to catch up with friends before organizing details for your business trip in a different country next week. You live a balanced life, doing work you love and with time to spend on things that you’re passionate about.
This isn’t some pipe dream. This can be real life.
Like many others out there, I used to think that living abroad, working in a different country and traveling frequently was something specifically for the “elite,” you know, the people with yachts and trust funds. That used to be the narrative that I told myself until one day I realized that it just isn’t true. It’s quite possible to live that lifestyle and often for ⅓ of the cost of what you’re spending to live in a shared apartment in the heart of NYC.
For the past 4 years, I have been living and working in Spain. It hasn’t just opened up endless professional opportunities for me (TEDx talks, starting my own business, speaking at conferences… the list goes on) but it’s also allowed for me to create a sustainable, balanced lifestyle.
You see, over the years I’ve been able to inspire and empower others that they can create a life that they truly love, anywhere in the world. Over the years, there has been a lot more visibility in the black travel movement but now it’s our time to not just have short experiences abroad, but instead, make a living while living in the country of your choice.
This lifestyle isn’t just something reserved for 20-year-old IG influencers, but instead for anyone who has a desire to do so. Whether you’re interested more in moving to a different country and creating a stable life there or being able to be location independent (working from anywhere you want, whenever you want), it’s time to give you some tips to get you started on the journey.
Let’s get into it.
Figure Out What Works Best For You
One of the most common factors that holds people back from finding work abroad is that they aren’t aware of what options are actually available to them. Financial security is real and while there is no one-size-fits-all solution to working in a different country, knowing what you can do and how to jump into the market is the best way to set yourself up for success before you make the move.
It’s time to talk about some of the most popular ways to kick-start your life abroad, whether you’re looking to stay for a few months or for years.
When you have your own online business, your first thought would be to stay in the city where you’re currently living because that’s where your connections are. You probably have a #sleepcanwait #thehustleisreal attitude but it doesn’t need to be that way. Having an online business is actually one of the best ways to be able to move to a new country and settle down OR travel abroad more while working.
With new innovative trends in the market like co-living spaces and online professional communities, it makes it that much easier to continue growing and connecting with international networks.
Being location independent with an online business allows for you to decide whether you want to hop around from country to country on short-term tourist visas (normally 90 days) or if you want to settle down in a new country for longer. With legal opportunities like non-lucrative visas and entrepreneurial visas, there are endless ways to run and grow your business from around the world while also leading a balanced life while you’re there.
If you’re taking the entrepreneurial route, my suggestion would be to have your business idea in the works and a stable income (or savings) before moving abroad because it will make the transition much easier for you. If you want to start/grow your business once you’ve made the move, I’d recommend getting another job that provides stability and legal status in a country then grow your company on the side with your free time.
I’ll be frank in saying that teaching English abroad is one of the easiest jobs to secure and one of the jobs that have a high demand. There is a huge market for English teachers in an array of countries; Spain, Japan, UAE… the list goes on. Depending on what kind of lifestyle you want to have abroad, it will have an impact on what country you chose to teach in.
Many people don’t like the idea of moving abroad to teach English because they don’t like kids or have training in other professions but trust me when I say, just because you start off teaching, doesn’t mean that it will be the end of your story.
That’s what I did. I left my job in communications and marketing to move abroad and I started off as an English teacher, working 12 hours a week and used my spare time to grow Las Morenas de España, a brand that teaches POC how to move abroad and immerse themselves culturally and professionally. While I was doing that, I was offered a job to lead communications and marketing for one of the leading co-living spaces in Europe. You also have stories like Oneika Raymond, who started off teaching English in different countries while growing her travel blog lead to her becoming a host on the Travel Channel and well-known journalist. It’s possible if you put your mind to it.
For those of you who aren’t interested in entrepreneurship or teaching English, you can always work remotely for the company of your choosing. It’s becoming more and more common for companies to be open to (and advocates of) having their employees work remotely; ie. not in an office. While there are those who choose to take the opportunity to just work from local cafes, there are others who make the most of it by experiencing life on the road and becoming digital nomads.
With over 47,000 companies that have remote work opportunities (here’s 100 to start you off) the opportunities are endless and you can also convince your current boss to let you work remotely, sharing the benefits to why you can do so and the impact that it will have not just for your wellbeing but also your deliverables in the company.
Be Patient With The Process
Moving abroad for just any job isn’t the same as doing so for a job that brings you joy. One of the keys to securing that kind of work is being patient with the process and being a bit flexible with where you want to eventually be. Moving abroad and creating a meaningful like in a new country isn’t something that happens overnight.
While it’s much easier to get overwhelmed by the process and keep putting it off, when you take your time to figure out your why, what you want and how to get there, it’s almost always worth it.
Hurdles like the visa process or cultural differences in the job market (CV vs. resume anyone?) are always things that can be figured out with time and a bit of help. This is one of the reasons why we dedicate so many of our resources at Las Morenas de España to help people have a smoother transition.
It’s also vital to remember that the way that you get your foot in the door, isn’t always the end of your story. You might start off being an English teacher so that you have legal status but then use your time, energy and resources to eventually switch fields into what you really want to do.
Moving abroad rarely has to do with the work you want to be doing but instead, the lifestyle that you want to create. We don’t move abroad for work but instead because we want more opportunity and our job just happens to be what allows for us to do so. So, being patient with the journey is always worth it if you remember your why.
My last piece of advice to you when looking for work that you love abroad, is to fully immerse yourself both while you’re searching for employment and after you’ve secured it as well.
Why? Because connections and shared resources are everything.
We have access to millions of options on the internet and now, more than ever, there are so many resources and communities out there that offer knowledge and support as you’re getting ready to make the move.
Dive deep into the field that you want to enter in abroad and start reaching out to people who have already done it. Ask questions. Show your worth. Make yourself known and then people will start spreading the word.
In the same way that networking and making meaningful relationships is vital to professional growth in the U.S., it’s the same abroad but even more important because odds are, the market will be just a bit smaller so you can shine even brighter.
I was able to secure a job that not only gave me Spanish residency but also double the income I was making before all because I was immersed in the scene and the culture. I didn’t even apply for the position but they found me because word travels quickly and when you’re good at the work you do, people notice.
So, I urge you… do your work getting noticed not just in your current circles but in the foreign ones as well (both expat and local) in the country that you want to be moving to. It will pay off in the end, trust.
This is just the beginning of the conversation when it comes to finding work that you love abroad. Remember that your journey is your own and it’s possible to do it!
Sienna is constantly on a journey to inspire and be inspired while engaging in different methods of creation. She's the founder of Las Morenas de España, a groundbreaking website for women of color in Spain. She's also a photographer, writer and adventurer. Sienna is based in Spain, continuing to create a life she loves. Follow her adventures on twitter and instagram | @siempregirando