There’s absolutely nothing new about the dream of finding work overseas and experiencing life in another country. No matter how old you are, people in your generation fantasized about it. It’s very likely that your parents and grandparents did as well. Whether the draw is climate, culture, or something else, this is a concept that has universal appeal.
For the most part, this idea remains a dream that rarely becomes a reality. At least until now. While not everyone makes it happen, it appears as if many millennials are finding ways to uproot themselves and find work abroad in other countries. How are they doing that?
They Don’t See Living or Working Abroad as a Reward to be Earned
Oftentimes, when boomers and Gen-Xers speak of moving and working abroad, it’s clear they have created constraints for doing so. Perhaps they want to wait until they’ve saved a specific amount of money, or they want to rise into management before attempting to make a move. Others may only be willing to move if they can afford a home in their new location. It’s almost as if they feel that they must earn some status before they have the “right” to follow their dreams.
On the other hand, millennials often feel less inclined to follow any sort of predetermined roadmap. They’re more likely to pursue what they want on their own timeline. As a result, if working overseas is the goal, a millennial is more likely to pursue that goal sooner than later.
For Many Members of Gen-Y, Work is Means to an End
There are certainly many Millennials who passionately pursue careers. However, for a large portion of this generation, work is simply a way to earn a paycheck that allows them to pursue whatever makes them happy. A millennial’s identity and self-worth are less likely to be tied into what they do or how much they earn.
In terms of looking for work overseas, this means that millennials are more likely to be able to cast a wider net when they job search. They’ll be less hesitant to work outside of their area of expertise, for example, or to take jobs in the service industry. Others may be willing to work multiple part-time jobs, such as working a translation job during the day and tutoring at night. Details such as job title and position are likely to be less important than whether or not the job will allow them to achieve the objective of moving to another country.
Millennials are More Prepared for a Freelance Economy
In addition to being more flexible in the work that they are willing to take, many members of Gen-Y are better prepared to work within a freelance economy. Not only does this open up more opportunities for them, it can also be ideal for working in foreign countries. Because so many freelance gigs are location-independent, they provide opportunities to live and work in places even if there aren’t jobs available locally. Millennials understand the future of work lies in freelancing, and they are prepared for it.
Many millennials are dedicating time and effort to developing multiple skill sets. For example, a millennial may develop web design skills to pick up some side work, use foreign language skills to become valuable to companies looking for freelance translators, while also learning how to get a job as a translator. They use gig-based job boards and are familiar with the best freelance websites for translators, web designers, writers, and others.
This may look like the average work day for a millennial working abroad:
- Begin the day working as a translator from home.
- Switch gears to blogging to earn money from affiliate marketing.
- Pick up part-time shift at touristy restaurant.
- Earn money beta testing websites in the evening.
This is a generation that understands that their future earnings potential and marketability will not be due to the fact that they remain loyal to an employer or work 40 hours per week doing the same thing.
Millennials Often Lack Family and Other Obligations
Because millennials are delaying getting married and having children, finding work in other countries is much less complicated. They simply don’t have to deal with the complex logistics of relocating spouses or children, finding acceptable schooling options, or waiting for their spouse to find work as well.
This also leaves their housing options much more flexible. Millennials who don’t have families can stay in hostels, use couchsurfing options, or take the option of living in very small accommodations. For example, someone with a family may not be able to live out of a camper trailer, but a single person likely could.
They Prioritize Experiences
As a generation, millennials value experience over money or material goods. This means they aren’t as likely to be encumbered by homes, mortgages, or loads of “things” that can make moving complicated. Likewise, when they do move, they are more likely to prioritize the experiences they will have over material things.
For many, this is a motivating factor to go beyond speaking about making the move overseas and actually doing it. The idea of experiencing something new and exciting like moving abroad and living in another culture appeals to the adventurous nature of millennials. As such, they are more likely to actively pursue that.
It is a combination of factors that make finding work abroad and moving to other countries easier for millennials. They’re more willing to think outside the box when it comes to looking for work. They’ve developed diverse skill sets, and they understand how to navigate an economy that favors the digital nomad. In addition to this, making moves is much simpler for many for millennials due to their lifestyle choices and priorities.
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Margaret Reid is a freelance writer who is seeking to discover new ways for personal and professional growth. Currently, she’s working in the company The Word Point, trying to improve herself in the blogging career. Margaret is an experienced and self-driven specialist who cannot imagine her life without writing.