How to prepare for living abroad?

Subject: Living abroad

Adapting to work in a foreign environment is a skill in itself A person who works for a time in Spain, Romania and Sweden, for example, has learnt to adapt to different cultural patterns and knows how to work best and to cooperate with people there. These are very valuable skills.
Someone working in a Latin country such as Italy, for example, would get used to managing flexibility, so when someone says '5 minutes’, they know that this may not be the same as 5 minutes would be to a German.


Working abroad, even if only briefly, can be useful later on, even in a different sector. It shows adaptability. Many employers want to check a candidate's previous international experience.


Be prepared for the culture shock, as it will happen. Many people set off seeing everything through rose-tinted spectacles, but this wears off It is important to prepare yourself to minimise the neg­ative impacts.

There have been cases where people have moved to another country in Europe in search of work but without the language or other skills required and have ended up homeless and without the means to return home. Elsewhere, migrants have stayed in a country after losing their job due to the economic crisis, because they didn't want to return home and admit that things hadn't worked out. EURES Advisers can provide useful tips to avoid this situation.

'I attended a job fair in Basel and met a EURES Adviser from Luxembourg. He gave me practical and useful advice, including information on the labour market, living and working conditions in the country, and how to apply for jobs - as well as the steps to be taken before moving abroad.'

Jobseeker from Switzerland, living and working in Luxembourg


You can experience 're-entry culture shock' when you return home after working abroad. You might have got used to living in a city with certain standards and you may not find the same quality of life when you return home. Your perception of what good standards are has changed.

People also sometimes imagine that they will find the same place they left when they go home, and could be let down. Their city, job, family and network will have changed after 3 years. Things might be better - but they could also be more difficult. At the end of the day, you are unlikely to find things the same as before you left.

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