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Working abroad can help build desirable global career skills

If your friends and family describe you as curious or adventurous,expanding your emotional and physical boundaries by working abroadmight just be a step in the perfect direction.

If your friends and family describe you as curious or adventurous, expanding your emotional and physical boundaries by working abroad might just be a step in the perfect direction.

Over the past 30 years, international exchange program SWAP Working Holidays has connected adventurous youth with overseas opportunities.

“This is for people who are interested in the world and who are not satisfied to remain in Canada for the rest of their lives,” says David Smith, SWAP’s director.

Youth registered with SWAP get help with everything from visa paperwork to destination planning. Partner offices at overseas locations assist students when it comes to finding jobs, navigating accommodations and making friends.

Jean-Marc Hachey, the author of the bestselling book The BIG Guide to Living and Working Overseas, says working abroad can also help boost your resumé.

“The number of jobs requiring international experience has risen exponentially each year for the last 10 years,” he says. “Everyone needs global career skills. Eventually, almost every job will have an international component to it.”

On top of that, Hachey says another personal payoff from travelling abroad comes from experiencing a new environment.

“It’s addictive to meet people from other cultures and social groups,” says Hachey. “Your life will change forever with the insights you learn travelling and working abroad.”

Former animator Chris Hudson got the travel itch after falling in love with Japanese culture.

“I was feeling my life was a little stagnant. Like I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing,” says Hudson, reflecting on his career in Toronto.

After a three-week vacation in Japan, he decided to return to the country as an English teacher on a one-year work visa.

Hudson, who is now back home in Ontario, had such a great time that he plans on returning overseas at the end of the month. He also emphasizes that travellers must prepare themselves for possible setbacks.

“Right off the bat, one of the first things I realized when I arrived was that everything I set up didn’t quite turn out the way I expected,” he says.

But, with careful planning and a secure job offer, Hudson says working abroad can be a positive experience.

“I can definitely say Canada is a great place. But to be honest, I’m not as excited when I’m here,” he says. “(Abroad) you have a chance to fail. And that’s part of the excitement.”

 
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