The challenges of working abroad

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In addition to the benefits people gain when they travel abroad, there is no doubt that there are also downsides. One of the major reasons people decide to say goodbye to friends and family and then decide to move to a new country where things are different to begin a new life is because of greener pastures. For many, there are opportunities abroad that they need to take advantage of to improve the quality of their lives. In Canada for instance, professionals in the STEM field are highly welcomed into the country as announced by the government. This is because of the shortage of skilled workers in that area. In the same vein, professionals in the STEM field from developing countries would up on the opportunity because there are so many things they stand to gain. 

In terms of job opportunities, they can find one there. Additionally, the minimum wage is also part of the highest in the world. Workers also have access to health insurance and the overall outlook of the country is generally peaceful. As a prospective immigrant seeking to explore greener pastures abroad, this article can help demystify some of the challenges you will face when you finally relocate and start working abroad. Before we explore the challenges, subscribe to our newsletter for more updates in the education space. 

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Read also: The Benefits Of Working In Canada

The Challenges of Working Abroad

Additionally, in 2021, the number of immigrants in the United States rose to over 1.5 million and about 13.6% of the people living in the US are foreign-born. This indicates the increasing number of immigrants. In 2017, 29 million immigrants were either working or looking to work in the United States. This further proves that getting a top in a foreign country is one of the top priorities for foreigners who relocate. While the working salary structure and the standard of living in a foreign country might be generally favorable, there are challenges foreigners face while working abroad. Below is a list of the likely challenges foreigners face while working abroad: 

1. Cultural Adjustment

Experiencing culture shock as a newbie in a foreign land is not something abstract. It is something that many people go through. It can be a whole lot trying to adjust to a new culture and environment whilst also trying not to forget your roots. If not properly handled, it can be mentally draining. This is one of the challenges of working abroad. Sometimes, immigrants will have to adapt to a new dressing style that may not be exactly comfy, a new work environment different from what they are used to, and a new culture. This is especially difficult especially if the immigrant’s culture is in direct contrast to the new country.

Additionally, for immigrants moving to a new country and seeking to study there, the language barrier might come into play, especially in the workplace. Someone whose primary language is not English or French will have to take language classes and engage in lots of practice to be fluent to properly communicate. While this is doable, the whole process might not be easy as the individual might experience inconveniences as a result of the communication gap at different points. 

The solution to overcoming culture shock

  • You should prepare yourself mentally before you relocate to a new country. This will help you to be open and to be flexible. It will be instrumental in your adjusting to a new country. 
  • Also, making friends and being part of a community or a support group abroad can go a long way in integrating you into the system. 
  • Furthermore, adopting language learning applications like Duolingo, watching movies, and taking language classes can facilitate your learning process. 

Read also: Tips For Living And Studying In A Foreign Country

2. Professional Challenges

Professional challenges are also one of the challenges of working abroad. Being that you’re used to the way things work in your country, adjusting to a new way of doing things can be quite difficult. You’ll realize that work ethics and business practices differ from time to time and adapting may not be exactly easy. For instance, punctuality may be emphasized in one country, while it is relaxed in another. Also, the idea of working remotely can be adopted in one country while another one insists on physical appearance. The communication style and system are also another important thing to consider. Trying to adapt to the workplace abroad can be quite difficult but it is not impossible if you apply the right tips. 

The solution to overcoming professional challenges

  • As a new worker abroad, research the work culture in the field you need to specialize in. This can also involve reaching out to people and asking them questions. This will help you take note of important things and help you adapt to the workplace
  • Additionally, be vigilant in the workplace. Pay attention to verbal and nonverbal means of communication. This will give you a cue on how to act and how not to act.
  • When it becomes necessary or if you are unsure of something, do not assume, ask questions. 
  • Respect the laid down norms and values and understand why things are done the way they are. 

3. Social Isolation

Furthermore, relocating to work abroad often means saying goodbye to friends and family. The social circle you’ve become used to now requires intentionality to thrive. You’ll also have to start from scratch trying to build another. This does not mean you’ll intentionally discard old friends because you’re moving to a new place, it means you’ll have to make room for new ones too. Time differences and schedule changes can affect the quality of the relationship you’ve had with friends before. Additionally, you now have to socialize again and make new friends which may not be exactly easy as you have to work a job to cater for yourself and your family. But this is often one of the challenges you’re bound to face while working abroad. 

The solution to overcoming social isolation

  • Don’t break the connection- while you try to find your feet and navigate your oath through a new country, don’t break the old connection you have built in your home country. It’s not going to be easy and will require intentionality but you need the emotional support to first settle in comfortably.
  • Engaging in activities and finding a new hobby can help socialize and find friends with like minds and goals. 
  • Taking a tour and exploring a new country when you have the time can also help you familiarize yourself with the terrain and meet new people. But don’t also forget to be law-abiding and security-conscious.

Read also: How To Finance Your Study Abroad Experience

Also, navigating the legal and administrative hurdles is another challenge of working abroad. In your home country, you’re familiar with the rules and the constitution. In a new country, you now have to start learning about the rules and the constitution. You’ll need to get the appropriate work permit or visa and ensure that you abide by the rules pending the time you’ll be able to apply for residency. Going through the paperwork experience can be tiring and once you have any legal issues, you stand the risk of being deported depending on the gravity of your crimes. Also, the process of applying for and getting a work visa is quite hectic and time-consuming. So, if you’re seeking to work abroad, you have to be ready and determined so that you can pursue your dreams to the end. 

  • You can employ the services of local organizations to walk you through the processes and the requirements so that you’re not ignorant because as they say ignorance is no defense in the court of law. 
  • Properly keep important documents safe and avoid having fake products. Also, carry your ID card all the time.
  • Additionally, in the case of any form of complaint, use official channels to avoid any form of trouble.
  • Also, use official channels to obtain necessary documents like permits, visas, or any other legal document. 

5. Healthcare and Well-being

Again, another challenge foreigners face while working abroad is the issue of healthcare and well-being. Relocation can take a toll on the overall health of a person. Additionally, some people might develop allergies or reactions to certain things before they finally get used to their new environment. It can also take a toll on the mental well-being of a worker.  You must pay attention to the healthcare facilities provided and if possible subscribe to the insurance cover so that it can take care of your health bills. 

  6. Family Considerations

If you’re relocating with the whole family, and planning to work abroad it may not be exactly easy trying to fit in. Perhaps if one spouse gets a job that allows the whole family to move, the second spouse will have to find a way to get another job in the new country which might not be exactly easy whilst also trying to fit in and adjust to a new environment and culture.  For the kids, schools will have to be changed and they’ll have to adapt to a new system of education which might take a toll on their academics. You must discuss these changes with your family while looking for ways to make the transition easy. 

Read also: How To Choose The Right Study Abroad Program

The solution to overcoming family considerations

  • Have a heart-to-heart discussion with your family and talk about the changes you’re all likely to face and the possible solutions.
  • It’s a period to not get angry with anyone, so you all will have to try as much as possible to be considerate.
  • Despite your schedule do not leave out family bonding time. 

7. Financial Challenges

It’s impossible to successfully move to a new environment and work there without considering finances. For someone who is relocating and desires to work abroad to lead a better life, finances cannot be taken out of the equation. It’s important you consider the cost of living in the country before you relocate and you study the currency exchange and financial planning. Also, examine ways you can increase your income and cut down on your expenditure. It certainly will not be easy considering taxes, cost of food, accommodation, and other factors. Many times, workers often have issues with the financial aspect because their expectations do not exactly match with their reality in the new country. 

The solution to overcoming financial challenges

  • Map out a realistic budget to help track your spending. 
  • Look for ways to cut down on your expenditures and increase your savings and investments.
  • You can consider finding a remote job or a freelance job to have an additional source of income if your current job allows it. 


Living and working abroad also comes with its challenges alongside its benefits. Generally, adapting to a new place wouldn’t be easy but being open-minded can make the transition less stressful. The rate at which you will adapt to your new environment is also dependent on the nature of your new country. However, make sure you properly research to familiarize yourself with the terrain before choosing to relocate.

Read also: 5 Challenges Of Studying In The USA

Start with us

Do you desire to start a career in STEM? The first thing is to pursue a degree in STEM. Wondering how to go about pursuing a postgraduate degree in STEM courses abroad? We can guide you through your journey and make your dreams come true. Contact us at EdXtra to access opportunities that will help you on your journey

Enrolling in the top universities in the world can increase your chances with employers. Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive to study abroad due to the current economic crisis. But this shouldn’t limit you as there are other options you can explore to enhance your career. 

MPower Finance and Prodigy Finance are some of the best student loan providers for international students. They also do not require any cosigner or collateral before application. At EdXtra Associates, we can help you with your loan application process. We also provide educational consultancy services for international students to help make your journey easier and faster. You can reach out to us, as we’d love to guide you through this journey.


  • Mercy Awofiranye is a creative writer with over five years of experience. Currently, she specializes in creating helpful content for students in the education space. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and learning new things.