Flick through Instagram and Facebook and every other person will seem to be someone who has quit their jobs to travel.
But what if you didn’t have to quit working to travel, what if you spent some time working or volunteering abroad to help further your career?
When I signed up to teaching abroad, I wanted to use it as a means to further my career in an industry that was struggling. And I really wanted to learn Mandarin as a tool for helping me develop a niche as a reporter.
And so off to China I went, with about three words of Mandarin in my brain.
I’ll be the first to admit, i’m not the most confident person.
And when it came to university, the idea of getting up and speaking publicly filled me with dread, never mind networking. Oh networking how I genuinely hate you but also need you at the same time.
Putting myself in front of a classroom of Chinese students was a big deal. And I mean it a really big deal. But over time my confidence grew to the point where I was delivering lectures to university students about British culture and customs. I would never have been able to have done this before.
Plus moving across the world and meeting new people and making friends is always good at developing your confidence.
As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to learn Mandarin and use it to further my career. I spent a lot of my spare time studying and trying to learn terms that would be useful in the journalism field.
When I came back to the UK, my first job was for a global news site and what language was it conducted in? Mandarin! While my reading still wasn’t great, my knowledge of working Mandarin and also Chinese culture came in very handy.
I tried to use my spare time as much as possible writing and so managed to write several freelance articles for in-flight magazines and also a local magazine in Beijing.
It was good to help make my CV more diverse and stop people from thinking I was abroad on some kind of jolly.
The joy of working and living abroad is that no day is the same so while it’s good to work, it’s also important to make sure you visit your surroundings.
And travelling can give you a completely different outlook on life and can help you feel more independent. And in some ways it can help you develop your problem solving skills and dealing with certain uncomfortable situations.
I’m sure some of the experiences i’ve had, I wouldn’t have had if it wasn’t for living abroad. And it’s certainly helped my knowledge in the pub quiz.
Without sounding like a bit of a tool, there are definitely some advantages to working abroad.
From my time working at a Chinese radio station, I got to cover events such as state visits and tennis tournaments. And at one point I was presenting and editing an hour long international news programme. That definitely wouldn’t happen over here.
Sometimes being abroad gives you so many opportunities and you just have to take them.
For more info about sabbaticals and working abroad along with some interesting stats about breaks in the UK visit Netflights here. The team ran a survey and it’s surprising how many people do take breaks and how beneficial it is to their careers.
This was a sponsored post but all words and ideas are my own.