10 things you must know about living and working abroad

According to data from United Nations, there are over 620,000 Ugandans living outside the country, employed in Africa, Asia, Europe, America and the Middle East.

Living and working in a foreign country is a beautiful and exciting experience. It really sounds dreamy and you might get lost in the dreams of expectations. I can’t lie that you won’t find difficulty adjusting to the food and the totally different culture. Personally, I threw up the first time I tried sushi in Japan; that is basically uncooked sea food, but I am in love with Chinese dumplings.

Now that you are a guest living in a foreign country, be respectful of other people’s culture and opinion on things. This is not what you want to hear but people are actually different and you may experience some kind of aloofness. Worry not, it will wear off.

The most important thing is being positive, because there are also numerous benefits in addition to higher wages and better living standards.

Starting a new life abroad will equip you with new life skills, improve your self-esteem, give you a new perspective on life, teach you a new language, expand your professional network and make you a better communicator.

Here are the most important things to note:

1. You must be legally accepted; this means you must have a work permit.

2. You must abide by the rules of the country because the laws on foreigners are often different.

3. You must possess some virtues like accountability, integrity; problem solving and you must be willing to work under pressure.

4. You must have goals and dreams; articulate your reasons for being in a foreign country and work towards achievement.

5. You must put your boss first, respect them and work to please them. Fake it if you have to.

6. You must take responsibility for your actions, be dependable, be a team player and remember no one knows you, you’re a foreigner.

6. Keep time, I emphasise this. Keep time, No excuses.

7. Prepare yourself mentally. Racism and many more annoyances will come along. Expect anything and prepare to deal with it positively.

8. Live, love and enjoy the little moments, you are in a free space where no one knows your background. So, be explorative, open minded and try new things.

9. Fill the gaps with activities that will add value unto you. Accept diversity and explore new culture.

10. Be an outgoing person, you need to be as social as possible.

While everybody is in need of money and a better paying job, many people believe that moving to a different country, especially Europe and America is hitting the jackpot. Remember if it is convenient, there is a cover. I believe that you work for what you get.

Don’t be too desperate to get into any office that promises to make your overseas dreams come true. Make sure you have done enough background research and you have a clear plan B. Finally, give this thought enough time, consult with family and friends and have the required paperwork. Not all that glitters is gold, away from home is a new exam you must pass.

By Neimar Babirye.

Ugandan working and living in Asia