It was great to chat to so many people at the Working Abroad Expos in Dublin, Cork and Belfast over the last couple of weeks. These events have been held regularly for several years now, and provide resources for those considering a move abroad to Australia, New Zealand or Canada.
People generally turn up to find out about visas and jobs, but we thought it would be worthwhile to set up a stand and let people know that there is money to be saved by thinking about their currency exchange as well. We used the simple example of a one year trip working overseas, and showed that the savings on typical transfers during that year could add up to €830 – enough for the flight home!
I would love to be able to say that the event was full of adventurous types excited about the possibilities of spending a year or two, perhaps longer, in a new culture and a new location. Those people were there, of course, but sadly there were also many who clearly felt that they had little other option than to emigrate, given the current economic situation at home.
I left Australia well over ten years ago now, and I was lucky enough to be in the ‘adventurous type’ category. At the time I never expected to be gone so long, maybe a year or two at the most, and now I’m not sure I’ll ever go back for good (sorry Mum). I think that most expats would agree with me that the experience gained by spending some time living abroad is overwhelmingly positive. You learn to see your home country and culture in a different light, as well as to enjoy both the similarities and the differences of your new location. Holidays are great, but you really need to live in a place to get to know it properly.
So, for those considering moving overseas, or those that have gone already, I can only feel excitement and perhaps even a little envy. No matter what the reason for leaving initially, I think the vast majority will one day look back on their experiences abroad in an extremely positive light.