Attention gap year travelers, expats and weary career survivalists…
Ready to “ditch” your career?
But afraid your professional contacts might dry up?
Are you uncertain if your experiences abroad will translate into marketable assets for a CV when you return home?
What will you do you return from your gap year?
Undoubtedly, these questions are scary for the traveler returning from spending a year+ of their life abroad. Frankly, it’s freaking me out and I’ve not even left yet! This is your gap year abroad and you have to ask yourself:
Will I gain a year or lose it?
I’ve spoken to friends who have returned from expat life. Like a NASA astronaut re-entering the earth’s atmosphere, they had to deal with the gravity of transitioning back into their old lives. In doing so, they were almost always met with an awkward career drift, feelings of displacement and an unsettling frustration as to how they could reconnect with the working world and their professional lives.
Sometimes, it’s important to ask the “scary” questions in advance.
Why? Avoidance will only prolong pain and quite possibly increase its size. Why not buck up now, take a proactive stance to shaping your opportunities abroad and work to keep those career gears in flux so that you land on your feet when you come home.
10 ways to GAIN a year when you’re abroad:
1) Create a proactive plan: take steps to scout opportunities for career growth.
2) Seek out or create your own professional growth opportunities and projects… How can you work on your job portfolio or expand your skills?
3) Join a work abroad or volunteer program.
4) If you can’t gain work in your field; learn and gain experience for a secondary one.
5) Master fluency in a foreign language.
6) Assess your “career strengths/weakness” and look for experiences that help develop it.
7) Assess your resident country’s resources and where it offers learning and development.
8) Observe the business practices and trends of your resident country.
9) Ask for recommendation letters for your work and participation in projects.
10) Join special interest groups & expat networks. Seek out like-minded people & explore new interests and hobbies.
Next: A Gap Year: The 3 Steps to Moving your life abroad Part IV>>
A Gap Year: The Advantages of Taking One Part I
A Gap Year: Teaching English in Korea Part II
A Gap Year: 10 Ways to Gain a Year (vs. Lose One!) Part III