Having spent time living and working in China I’d like to take a step back and reflect on how I benefited from my time living and working abroad:
1. Broaden your horizons and open your mind
There’s a whole world out there! By living and working abroad you can gain an understanding of how others live their lives. You’ll open your mind to other cultures and ways of working, and as a result you’ll see yourself becoming a more rounded individual able to communicate with many different people and part of our globalised society.
2. Tourism Vs. Immersion
There is only one way to truly gain an understanding of a country and its culture, and that’s to immerse yourself for a period of time, including going to work and taking part in the daily routine of life. At its best, tourism will give a snippet insight into the place you are visiting, at worst an overpriced version of the west abroad.
3. Develop yourself!
By living and working abroad you have to deal with new situations and constantly adapt. You’ll develop skills and new abilities, become a more patient and confident individual, and generally learn soooooo much!
It is an absolute joy to meet Opportunity China Alumnus who have come ‘out the other end’ of their teaching journey as more assertive, understanding, well rounded and generally impressive people as a result of their time working in China.
4. Career prospects
Living and working abroad not only develops your career and employability prospects due to enhanced skills and language capabilities, it opens up opportunities that others simply do not have access to. You will have a deep understanding of another country, and when we’re talking about China, that’s significant. Whatever industry, sector or type of role you aspire to, it has most likely already felt the impact of China’s rise in the global economy – and that’s only the beginning! Experience in China is helpful no matter what your future career goals are!
5. It’s fun!
Not only is it fun, it’s exhilarating! Taste the food, meet amazing people, explore the cities, the mountains, the rivers and gain the satisfaction of teaching, au pairing or lecturing…and perhaps even learn the language.
There’s nothing more enjoyable for me than meeting those within the OC community who keenly show me the local sights, dishes and customs they have embraced!
The real question is therefore…Why on earth have you not yet lived and worked abroad?!