Millennials have had a rough go of it in recent years. Unemployment rates are lower than the historic highs that many of them saw right out of college, during the Great Recession, but many fear that this is an artificial sense of growth bolstered by low wages and high costs of living. One option that’s especially enticing for young people who haven’t yet set down roots in their home country is to move and work abroad, preferably in a country that better suits their tastes and financial realities.
Why Work Abroad?
For many, the idea of working abroad might seem like a total mystery. Why should I work abroad? If things are bad in my home country, then they’re probably not going to be better anywhere else.
This sort of thinking is mistaken, though, and a sign of someone who hasn’t traveled abroad as often as they should. There are lots of benefits to living and working in another country, especially if you currently live and work in the United States. One that most people will recognize is the issue of health insurance, coverage, and costs. Healthcare in the United States has been a major issue in the 2016 election and of elections in years past. Opponents of the status quo have wasted no time in comparing our healthcare system to that of countries like Sweden, France, and other countries with great health options.
There’s more than just healthcare at stake. Since millennials tend to be more liberal than older generations, many of them feel disenfranchised by the failure of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries and the relative power of the GOP, America’s conservative party. However, many millennials may be surprised to learn that issues staunchly defended by conservatives in the United States (issues like the role of government in enforcing moral decision-making and the role of religion in government), don’t even cross the minds of conservatives in European countries. Many millennials may be surprised to learn that French Republicans, for example, are more concerned with economic freedom and illegal immigration than they are with Bibles in schools.
Finally, there are also differences in cost of living to consider. Be sure not to confuse “cost of living” with “quality of living,” though. You’ll find that there are many countries with much cheaper costs than your hometown that nonetheless provide a comfortable and pleasant life. In many cases, a cheaper cost of living is more or less offset by lower wages, with some exceptions. In order to get the most out of a cheaper area, it can be beneficial to have some stream of revenue from outside of the country. Investing is one popular option, but I would suggest renting out your property in your hometown. For example, I could rent out my not-so-great home in Idaho for about $1,200, and that would enable me to get a very nice apartment in Riga, Latvia with cash to spare. Mind you, I’d still have to pay a property tax back in the United States, but I think it’s worth it to basically fund my living situation with assets that I already own.
Options for Working Abroad
Hopefully I’ve convinced you that you should look into living and working outside of your home country. If you’re interested, there are plenty of options for you to consider.
Many college graduates choose to teach English abroad. Doing so allows them to experience a diverse culture, gain valuable work experience, and leave a lasting mark on their country of choice. Teaching jobs typically pay a livable wage with a little leftover to help teachers pay off student debt that they may have accrued in their home country. Perhaps the best perk, though, is the hours. English teachers are often given very open schedules, teaching only a few days a week and giving them time to explore their new country and do a little private tutoring on the side. It should be noted, however, that teaching English isn’t going to sustain a person forever. People who want to do this should look into developing their careers, either by seeking private English teaching jobs or setting themselves up to help recruit and place new English teachers.
Outside of teaching, many first-world countries are always looking for skilled laborers. It’s not uncommon for families from Asia and Europe to send their children to North American schools, which are often more prestigious than schools in their home countries. Thus, native-born students have a natural advantage on the international job market, especially with in-demand millennial professions like accounting, programming, and engineering.
Finally, one option that many would-be expatriates don’t think of is nursing. Not only are nurse practitioners in high demand in many countries, but working in countries that need the help badly can be an exceptional choice for nurses looking to really make a difference.