Things I learned Working Abroad

15 Things I learned Working Abroad

All said in the list are based on my experience and opinion. I started working abroad 3 years after I graduated. It has been a challenge to be out on my own yet it has taught me a lot of things about myself and how incredible things happen out of our comfort zone. We all have different perspective and this is mine according to how I see things and my beliefs.

1.  Career Opportunity
It has opened a window for me to harness my skills and earn a better salary. Ambition and Courage has push me to take the step out of the country. A challenging ordeal but its worth the fight. As long as you know what you want, you work hard for it then you will surely have it. 

2. Stronger Bond with Family
Leaving my country was tough. I love the food, the mountains and most especially the white sand beaches in my hometown. The hardest part was seeing my family bid goodbye to me in the airport. A heartbreaking sight that always leaves me painfully breathless. It was like one day I was just in my room safe and sound, then the next day I  woke up miles away from home and from my family: away from the nagging voice of my mum asking me to water the plants and from my two tower brothers whose always fighting over simple things. It actually doesn't sound that bad even better, at first, then eventually you will start to miss the noise. I started missing the simple gathering in the dining table or simply watching TV together, going for groceries, fights over the precious remote control and the endless argument where to have dinner. Small stuffs that crushed me , ate me up inside when I'm alone, sick or having a meal with another family. A sudden feeling of intense sadness, deep longing of being home with my family. These are the moments that binds and brings out the unconditional family love within us. 

I grew up a bit distant from my family but when I started working abroad that's when everything changed. My mum and I got to talk to each other everyday, even my brothers started to open up. We started to understand more about each other, it was like turning ice into water. A precious drinking water that has fueled me to work even more harder abroad. Missing my family reminds of a lyric sang by Passenger which goes like "Only hate the road when you're missing home." You'll only miss that person when they're out of reach, their main existence in your life emphasizes when summer turns to winter. I learned to cherish, respect and deeply love my family even more. 

3. Save Money
This is a case to case basis. In my experience I learned to manage my money after a series of misadventures and social mishaps. It taught me how to separate my funds accordingly to my needs and set aside a portion of it for my savings. There are many ways to budget: I tried the envelope or jar method where in you segregate bills for rent, toiletries or food allowance from your savings and even the online craze of automatic transfer every month to a savings account. I choose to be in control of my budget, I decided I want my own savings for all my travel needs and for an emergency fund . Once you truly, honestly decided to save it's going to be easy for you to fill in that bank account. It might start small but everyone needs to plant a seed before reaping the harvest. 

4. Opportunity to Travel 
This was my big break! I was able to travel to different countries where I've never thought I could have the chance to go to. Travel has brought new meaning to my life. One factor that made me want to work abroad aside from financial needs. I would have never make it to another country if I haven't work out of my country. I'm proud to say I've been to a few countries which always reminds me how fortunate I am.

5. Meet different kinds of People
I was taught to be patient and kind, these qualities were tested abroad as I deal with different people from all kinds of race. I realized we are all one and the same. Religion, Language, Culture and Tradition post a barrier within us but when you think about it we are all just humans running along the ball of life. Different color of threads yet we are all threads spinning in this so called life, each intertwines with each other. 

6. Experience New Cultures and Traditions
Attending a Malay and Indian wedding is one of the highlights of my cultural exposure. I love how we celebrate love, life and gratitude in a variety of way. It's amazing to be one of the guest of a heart warming celebration and seeing a tradition unlike what I'm used to. This kind of momentous events showed me the wonders of religion, rituals and undying beliefs.

7. Chance to own a Business
I earned more than the usual wage back home but considering the expenses of food and lodging abroad it still boils down on how good you are with your budget skills. I alloted a fund for my future investment. Thou there are days when I just want to book a ticket back home and be happy. Then I remember I wanted to have my own business. My family does not own any business at all, I have to start something on my own. This goal of mine kept me working for more years than I hoped for. It's not that easy knowing that you won't be able to handle it personally, this is one of the disadvantage of being abroad unless you have someone whom you can trust to handle the business. I'm starting one right now and let's just see how it goes. 

8. Help the Economy But..
The money that I sent back home raises the economy in some small percentage that I don't really know about, I will let the analyst worry about that. I learned that it doesn't mean you're helping the country the people in the immigration counter will help you out at the same time. Instead they make your life harder even more. 

I often hear how I should be Proud of being an Overseas Filipino Worker a.k.a OFW . Well I'm glad to help my country but why do immigration officers make life so complicated for us. You'll know what I mean if you've experience nightmares with an immigration officer in the Philippines. I don't why they are rude and unprofessional, were they trained to be that way or what? Despite providing all the original documents they will still question the papers integrity. Every time I hear stories about this kind of matter among my friends, my blood boils down thinking about my experiences. 

At the end of the day I realized the anger inside me wont do me any good. Instead of rewinding the whole incident in my mind again and again I try to brush it off, and just let karma or fate do its course of action. 

9. Pay it Forward
I've always thought I'll make it my own, convincing myself to be independent enough to walk alone and work it out. I was wrong. You will eventually need some people to help you out. It doesn't mean you're such a pity or a wimp kind of person but it is just how it suppose to be. There will be times that you need someone to catch your back, it could be in terms of companionship, money, a place to stay, a job referral or even a stranger providing simple instructions how to go to the train station. 

I'm just lucky enough to meet these kind of people who generously took care of me without any hidden cost. As a gratitude you pay it forward to someone you knew whose going through the same situation you did last time. It is how we keep the cycle of kindness on and on, passing to different people and eventually they'll do the same deed to others. 

10. Gift of Friendship
A friend is like a sister destiny has forgotten to give you. I heard about this saying long time ago when I've meet two of my closest friends of all time. I terribly miss them, facebook is not enough for me, never will be, maybe that explains why I'm not such a big fan of it. 

Friendship abroad is different. It's way more understanding due to the fact that you share the same kind pain of being alone, away from home, being discriminated and the amount of effort you put into work. You will create a bond with other nationals which is kind of interesting because you have different perspective and beliefs which brings out a unique blend on your friendship. 

11. Leap of Faith
My faith was tested. There will be days when being lonely isn't working anymore. Even going out with friends or making yourself busy with work won't even help at all. You will need to find a spiritual guidance for your journey abroad. I needed it more than anything. I truly believe there is a higher being out there watching over us. It was said that you must Knock then the door shall be opened. I learned to seek guidance, I may not be that religious but I know I'm guided, and even now I have to admit I'm still learning the art of following that path. 

12. Crab Mentality
People will pull you down. These kind of earthlings will be around your workplace and there's nothing you can do about it. You will just have to deal with it or go home packing. Sometimes by ignoring things you will learn the art of which ideas and events you want to be affected with, in this way you won't be suck up in other peoples happiness of ruining someones day. I try my best to re-channel that bad vibrations when I'm off work through positive thinking or by listening to a motivational music, eating chocolates, reading a good book, watch a comedy movie and praying while reciting a good mantra. 

If you allow people to get into your head, you will be miserable. Never allow someone's bad idea about you drag you down. Keep your head high, ignore what they say and smile. A smile can do good for your face and it will keep that particular person confused. 

13. Do sports or get a hobby
This is a must! It doesn't have to be a sport if you're not into it, it could be a certain hobby or something you've always want to do. I've focus my time on running, doing yoga and painting, I'm even trying to play a ukelele now. It got me thinking one day I'm already away from home, always busy with work and what about my life? I needed something to improve myself at the same time have fun with it. That's how I got myself to travel more, run every week, join a marathon, practice yoga, get into arts again which I've always wanted to do and play a musical instrument. I learned to invest with my myself. 

14. Find yourself
Eventually people will try to find oneself in terms of knowing who we are and what we want in life. I did my soul searching in my travels: while I'm exploring the beaches of Thailand, temple runs in Cambodia, sunsets in Myanmar, Island hopping in Indonesia, Snow time in Korea, tea time in Taiwan, climbing mountains in Malaysia, fireworks in Hong Kong, even the train rides in Sri Lanka  and of course with my endless adventures in Philippines. We all have our ways and I realized this is mine, my way of getting to know who I am and what I am. 

15. Self-Growth
I often hear from people that you need to work abroad to achieve big dreams. Not necessarily true, it always depends on what you want, your priorities and objectives in life. Some people were blessed to get what they want by staying in their own country but for me I wasn't meant to stay at all. I wanted different things in life, my measurement of success is entirely opposite from the norms. 

I decided to leave with an aching heart for my family yet my thirst for adventure was beyond measure. Sometimes you just have to get out from your comfort zone to grow as an individual. I learned to love my own company may it be physically, emotionally and spiritually. It was so damn hard but that taught me to be brave, to persevere and to have faith. You will find yourself learning new things about yourself, how you adapt to your environment, flexibility towards different people and most importantly to stand on your own two feet. Working abroad has allowed me to maturely grow as an individual and a person that I'm proud off. 

Have fun and be safe ^__^

Itinerary Reminders:

1. Flight Details
Make sure to write down your booking reference number, be at the airport two hours before your flight and allocate time for your travel to the airport.

2. Accommodation Details
Write down your hotel/motel/resort/bnb booking number. Contact your place to inform them around when you'll be arriving — it really does help.  Also, ask if your accommodation has any discounted activities.  You'd be surprised!

3a. Transportation
List possible times your bus/train/boat arrives and leaves so you don't miss an activity.  Always give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes in case you get lost, get stuck in traffic, or are looking for parking.  Better early than late.  Of utmost importance: check for the last trip and fares!  So you still have time and money to get back.

3b. Car Rentals
Take note of your pick-up address and time allotted.  Our last car rental told us to bring the car back by a certain time with a certain amount of gas.  Allot money for fuel and parking.

4. Budgeting
Set aside a minimum and maximum spending amount for: meals, transportation, entrance fees, activities, souvenirs and emergencies.  3 meals a day + snacks adds up quickly, so keep track!  As well as tips for restaurants and activities.

5. Activities
Call to confirm your booking(s) a day or so beforehand.  Set alarms and/or calendar reminders for things you plan to do (i.e- bungee-jumping, river-rafting, or even city / food tours).

Do you want more adventure?
An adventure is more exciting if you have someone special with and here's Why you should travel with your partner before saying I do 

Where am I going next?
My next adventure is to Los Angeles, California and I have here a survival guide on how to go around the city.

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