PART ONE: Living Overseas
This is a great question, but the answer really depends on your personal profile. Are you able to be adventurous and a little bit flexible? Do you have a good sense of humor and know how to cheer yourself up when things are tough?
ANSWER: The way you target your international job search will be determined by your education and areas of expertise. You're correct to assume that finding meaningful international work is not as simple as sending your CV around the globe. You’ll need to prove to international employers that you can function in an international environment, one that may be very different from your home. If you have no previous international experience, I would recommend taking a sabbatical for four or more months.
There are always risks associated with being abroad. In my personal opinion, the rewards are generally much greater. When I meet college students, I can quickly tell that some of them are not risk tolerant and they should therefore travel or study only in more Westernized nations, in order to ease in to the process of cultural adaptation. For other students, I know at first glance that they could thrive no matter whether they were in Kenya, India or Hong Kong.
There are many characteristics that define a successful international employee, but there is one main trait that stands out as being essential: adaptability.
Ask yourself: “Do I enjoy change?” Your answer to this question will give you an idea of whether you are cut out for work and life abroad.
The value of your relocation package is heavily tied to your industry, with NGOs and small firms providing less compensation than multinationals, national governments and international organizations. The best advice I can give you is to speak to others who are currently working in your field in your host country (ideally those working with your prospective employer). Ask your employer for references from their employees posted abroad. Research the norms in your industry by contacting your trade association. Speak to other expats and research relocation services.