Staying on Top of Health While Working Internationally
14 Jul 2021
According to statistics released by the United Nations, over 272 million people were living abroad in 2019. That accounts for nearly 3.5% of the world population, and numbers are constantly on the rise. At some point in your life, you too may become one of the many emigres working outside of your home country.
Whether your motivations are economic, political, or personal, living abroad can endow you with an international mindset as you build your career and experience what other parts of the world have to offer.
It’s easy to enjoy yourself while working internationally — after all, you’re constantly surrounded by new people, cultures, and languages. However, working abroad also comes with its own set of challenges, whether they’re social or health-related. Here, we explore how to keep your health in check while working and living internationally.
Navigating International Careers
It can be a bit tricky to find employment overseas depending on your visa status and language skills. You must first learn to embrace cultural differences both in and out of the workplace. International job hunts often take much longer than domestic searches, so don’t get discouraged! Once you have international work experience, you’ll have an edge in all your future job searches.
International Job Considerations
Before you commit to an international job offer, you want to be sure it’s the right decision for you and your career. You may want to ask yourself some of the following questions:
• What kind of vacation time is there?
• How often do I have to be in the office?
• Do I have the flexibility to travel or visit home?
• Is this position in alignment with my career goals?
• Do I foresee problems with visa sponsorship/work permits?
When some people decide to work abroad, they understand it may involve a disruption in their current career trajectory. Whether due to choice or circumstance, an international move may mean a career pivot. Many professional certifications don’t carry over to other countries, especially those that require specific licensing and training. If your language skills aren’t up to par in the local language, that represents an additional obstacle. That’s why it’s important to avoid a complete reset when changing careers and to use your transferable skills to your advantage.
Working as a Digital Nomad
If you don’t have the know-how or desire to work for a foreign employer, consider working as a digital nomad. Why should you consider a digital career move?
When you have a job that can be performed from anywhere, you don’t have to worry about being tied down to a single location. Freelance or remote work allows you to live where and how you please, as long as it’s within your financial means.
Plus, as remote opportunities increase and work-life balance come into focus, digital nomadism is steadily becoming a more accessible career path.
Common International Careers
Whether you plan to work as a digital nomad, continue your current profession, or launch yourself into an entirely new field of work, you can take inspiration from this list of common international careers for expats:
• Social media marketer
• Web developer
• Tour guide
• Hospitality worker (hotels, restaurants, activities, etc.)
• Freelance writer
• Tutor or education worker
• Sport instructor
• Au pair/nanny
• Virtual assistant
• Graphic designer
Maintaining Health & Wellness Priorities
Moving abroad can be an exciting, stressful, and time-consuming process. Don’t get so caught up in the process that you forget to tend to your physical and mental wellbeing. Whether you’re currently in the moving process or already settled into your new life overseas, it’s never a good idea to neglect your health and wellness.
Exploring Big Cities
When you’re in the city, it’s important to have an understanding of local hospitals and emergency facilities close to you. It’s also essential to know what kind of healthcare you have. Do you have emergency travel insurance? Perhaps you’re in the local healthcare system. Always ensure you have access to up-to-date, reliable healthcare in case you do need it.
Once you’re sure of that, you can go skydiving in Dubai or rock climbing in Germany without sweating over your healthcare coverage. Of course, if you are feeling ill, be responsible; use hand sanitizer and a mask if necessary. Staying healthy is just one of the many ways you can participate in ethical travel.
It’s equally important to maintain your health and wellness during outdoor adventures, especially while camping or participating in extreme outdoor sports. You can do so by properly nourishing and hydrating your body, first and foremost. Shield your skin from the sun by applying sunscreen, and don’t forget to pack a first aid kit to patch up any remote wilderness injuries! Once you’re fully prepared, you can reap the benefits outdoor time has to offer, from boosts in creative energy to enhanced mental health.
Prioritize Your Health While Working Abroad
When you’re under the weather, it’s impossible to enjoy all the new sights, sounds, and tastes the world has to offer. This can be especially frustrating when you’re in a foreign country and adventure is right outside your door. But when you prioritize your mental and physical health, you’re likely to get so much more out of the international job hunt and your subsequent relocation. Without health worries holding you back, you’re free to fully immerse yourself in international culture!