Most people are having difficulties building careers in their home countries, so they don’t even think about pursuing professional dreams abroad. However, the number of jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is growing rapidly worldwide, and you can give it a chance overseas as well.
STEM positions have been increasing faster than the average for all other occupations in the last decade. Even though this trend is not going to stop anytime soon, you should be careful while thinking about moving to another country. This decision demands a lot of planning and preparation, so I decided to show you main tips on how to build a successful STEM career abroad.
Why Chase a STEM Career Overseas?
There is a wide variety of reasons why you should try your professional luck in a foreign country. I will name but a few of these here:
- You need a change – You want to explore the world and see how it feels to live in a completely different environment. This is the main motive of adventurers who want to expand their life views.
- STEM jobs are paid well – Perhaps you are searching for financial stability in life and you are able to find it abroad. This is not surprising as STEM-related academic institutions generate top college majors by salary.
- Better career opportunities – Some regions and states have a more developed IT culture than others, and you can find the STEM job much easier than in your home country.
- You love the culture of another country – I know quite a few individuals who simply enjoy the culture and lifestyle of a foreign country more than their own. This is what keeps them going and makes them begin looking for a job overseas.
How to Prepare for a STEM Career Abroad
I already told you that building a good career in STEM outside of your native country is not easy, as it requires a lot of dedication and planning. In general, there are 6 basic steps that you should take while planning for this kind of career move. Let’s take a closer look.
- Start early
If you’ve been dreaming about going abroad for a long time, the best thing you can do is to start your preparations early. When I was in college, I spent two years studying in Germany because this is where I wanted to work afterward. You should do the same thing: visit the targeted country, get a scholarship for studying abroad, or volunteer in one of the local STEM companies.
Doing so, you will prepare for future challenges and meet the local culture. At the same time, it allows you to expand the network of professional contacts overseas. I also suggest you build a few social network profiles (LinkedIn is a must) to stay in touch with potential employers.
- Be realistic
Just because you are changing your everyday routine and environment, doesn’t mean that you’ll be constantly having the time of your life in some other country. On the contrary, you need to be realistic and expect the same sort of problems abroad.
For example, you’ll have to deal with a boring superior or annoying colleague. Additionally, no matter how great your knowledge about this country is, you are still going to face a number of cultural differences and language barriers. Trust me – there will be good days and bad days no matter where you work.
- Beginning is always difficult
People often say that well begun is half done. This maxim is so painfully true when it comes to moving abroad and building a STEM career in a foreign country. It’s a period of big mess and confusion until you finally settle down and start a normal life once again. In such circumstances, it is easy to neglect some simple issues like finance and accommodation.
Be aware that you’ll need a substantial amount of money to overcome the initial period successfully. There are always unexpected costs to deal with – you don’t like an apartment you rented and want to change it, or you have to buy winter clothes sooner than expected. Whatever the problem, you’ll need money to solve it, so make sure to bring enough.
The more you know, the more you are worth as a professional. STEM industries are evolving quickly, which is why you have to stay up to date with the latest developments and specializations. This is your chance to stand out from the crowd and earn an even better position soon after you start working in a foreign country.
Before accepting a job abroad, pay attention to important details. First of all, you would want to work for a renowned company with good reputation in STEM business. At the same, the position you choose should have a potential to give your career a new boost relatively soon.
Of course, salary is always important and you don’t want to accept a low-paid job under any circumstances. Living abroad is not the same as living in your home country, meaning that it usually costs much more than predicted. Fortunately, mathematicians and other STEM professionals can find a lot of profitable positions overseas, thus avoiding financial burdens.
- Work hard
No matter how hard you try, your colleagues probably won’t be looking at you as one of their own people, or at least not in the first few years. This is the case with almost all countries and cultures – it is just way too difficult to completely accept a foreigner.
This is even more troublesome if you are the rising star in your team, with big career expectations. That’s why you need to try harder and work twice as much as the domestic colleagues. This will be difficult, but it will also bring you many professional benefits in the long run, so don’t give up and do your best.
STEM jobs are having a great moment internationally, which is the fact that gives many professionals in this field the courage to try their professional luck abroad. Although it’s not a bad thing to do, you should take a lot of factors into consideration before actually moving overseas. In this article, I gave you 6 tips on how to successfully build a STEM career abroad. Don’t hesitate to use my suggestions and feel free to let me know in the comments if you have other inquiries about this topic.