Monday, March 30, 2009

Looking Abroad For Work

From quarter life crises to general malaise, the current doom and gloom economy makes for a depressing job search.

While many students are looking in numerous cities for leads, few students are looking abroad for jobs.

My older brother, Roheet, was facing similar prospects after he graduated and decided to look for a job in the Middle East.

He is now an Urban Finance and Local Economic Development Expert in Syria, for Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit, a development branch of the German Government.

In his words he:

Works to increase the economic utilization of the private sector in regards to restoration efforts in Old Damascus.

With a decrease in available jobs, and an increase in competition, it is especially important for graduating students to consider working abroad.

There are benefits to working abroad: Not every country has economic problems to the extent that the US does, working in a different country is exciting, in many cases you don’t have to pay US taxes, and you often get to travel to neighboring countries. For example, in addition to traveling throughout Syria, my brother has traveled extensively in Kurdistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates.

My brother was able to get his job by networking while studying Arabic in Syria. In many countries you get a job solely by meeting the right people, so it pays to have connections. If you are studying in a particular country, you can job hunt while you’re there. Some people also take the more risky approach and simply move to another country and hoped to find a job.

In the mean time there are a few things you can do to jump-start your global career:
* Talk to a counselor at the career center
* Check for non-profit jobs throughout the world
* Apply for positions at US embassies
* Check foreign government websites for career help
* Talk to Professors with foreign connections
* Work on your foreign language skills

Would you consider working abroad? Have you worked abroad already? Do you have any tips for people looking for work abroad? Discuss in the comment section!

Update- There seems to be some confusion over the question of whether you pay taxes or not. If you work for an American based company, and paid in US dollars, you have to pay US taxes. If you're working for a non-US based company and paid in either local currency or another currency you don't have to. Tax laws get tricky if you're an diplomat/government employee or if you're not paid in a typical manner (ex: you get paid less but have your living expenses covered as part of the job). It's always best to check with either a tax specialist or HR professional before deciding not to pay taxes.


Sean said...

I never thought to look abroad for work after I graduate...if I could find a good job in England, I would do it.

Anonymous said...

While I never thought to look abroad,I don't think it's worth leaving everything America offers, there is more than just money to consider

Neha said...

Sean: Why just England? Is it because of the english factor? Would you consider working in other English-speaking countries (ex: Australia)?

Neha said...

Anonymous: Is there something in particular that outweighs working abroad? What if you weren't getting job offers in America?

Sean said...

Neha: I love British things. The Spice Girls, Harry Potter, Prince Harry.

Anonymous said...

Yes, freedom. Obviously steps need to be taken if there are zero job offers, but the American way of life is more important. I mean where am i going to be able to watch American football if I move abroad?

Neha said...

Anonymous: Plenty of other countries have freedom . Also, with inventions like satellite tv and the internet, you can keep watching American football in many countries. By the way, what exactly did you mean by the "American way of life"?

Anonymous said...

well the is 'freedom' and then there is American freedom, I prefer the latter. True, satellites have made it possible, but that doesn't beat going to a game. I don't think there is anyone that wouldn't agree that there is a distinct American way of life. However, what that means is adapted by each American. It's apple pie, fireworks on the fourth of July, working your way up from nothing, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." It's not definable by one person, but by the American people.

IRS nerd said...

American citizens have to pay taxes no matter what country they are living in.

Patriotic said...

IRS Nerd : exactly, so why leave ?

Neha said...

IRS Nerd/Patriotic: It depends on how you're getting paid and for whom you're working for. There are loopholes for most laws.

Anonymous said...

wow, that guy roheet's job sounds like total bullshit.

A Cynical Traveller said...

As having lived abroad since I was born, it is really no big issue to stay abroad. In fact sometimes, I think my life is better off having lived outside of the United States, mainly because there is the greater sense of freedom-the ability to travel 1 hour by air and be in another country. Add to that, I have all of the creature comforts of being in the US, and they even cost less than if I went through a US retailer.

My parents have both worked abroad for many years and they absolutely love it, even if they have to pay US taxes (which are less than EU payroll taxes). I know that when I graduate, I'm going to continue to live and work abroad, not because I have to, but because I want to. And, companies tend to compensate better if you are willing to locate.

But, to dispell some of the myths...if you are paid in US dollars and the company is based out of the US, then you must pay US taxes, but if the company is non-US and pays you in South African Rand, then you are subject to the taxation laws of the country that the company is based in. Also, I enjoy participating in activities are are uniquely tied to the country that I am in, so that I do not become an ignorant person, as certain segments of the population are.

Granted that for most times, I need to take a 14 hour flight to get home, but I have learned to adapt and most of the time, I can get a lot of work done and catch up on some sleep.

Neha said...

Anonymous: my brother actually has a pretty bad ass job. He bridges the gap between the government and business in a historic section of Damascus, revitalizing one of the oldest cities in the world. What do you do in your job?

Neha said...

A Cynical Traveller: it seems like you have a lot of interesting experiences. Do you want to guest blog for about your time abroad?