Moving will always be a romantic notion. The Instagram filter of rose tinted airplane wings peeking out of our in-flight window. While en-route to our next destination our possibilities are suspended thousands of miles in the air. However, be wary, because we’ll no longer be protected by limbo – the state of in between — upon arrival. Reality will materialize with every step we take outside of the airport.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Even before you accept that job offer abroad, book that flight or pack those bags, allow me to disillusion the dream to the state of realistic idealism. The Big Questions are inevitable, but asking them upfront will help every twenty-something year old embrace the opportunity cost of moving abroad while staying wide-eyed and inspired.
Don’t leave for the sake of leaving.
Even though it sounds sexy, don’t move unless it’s an industry you can be remotely interested in. Your job makes up a majority of your day. You don’t want to be miserable when you’re miles away from home, away from family and friends. Even if twenty-something-year olds don’t know what they want most of the time, the1/100000 part of us that does is what matters. Going abroad is always the best jumpstart to any twenty-something’s career so make sure the work will excite you.
Don’t be blinded by the numbers or exchange rate.
The worth of your salary is relative to the country’s standard of living and your personal lifestyle. Even though Singapore pays well compared to other Asian countries (especially for fresh grads), remember that your parents don’t pay for your rent. You don’t inherit a car. You literally earn your life abroad. Is it enough to pay for partying every weekend?
Knowing your worth.
What’s your worth as a professional? Filipino? Do you know your rights? It’s a scary world out there with various cultural norms. Don’t let people take advantage of you because of where you’re from. Remember that you’re no longer the majority. As a foreigner there are laws you have to respect and perceptions to be wary of but you can’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe is right and demand for the value you think you’re worth. Never sell yourself short. Draw the line even as early as a twenty-something-year-old.
Independence is a liberating feeling but it’s foolish to say that relationships don’t matter at the end of the day. Relationships are the constants in this generation of flux, especially when you move abroad. Family and friends keep you grounded. They will always feel like home — whether that’s back in Manila or your new residence. Don’t let new found freedom allow you to lose the relationships that matter most.
Did you move abroad? What went through your head before you left?