BY ANNE QUINTOS
Working abroad takes more preparations than just booking your flight, signing a work contract, and packing your bags.
We've heard of stories about overseas Filipinos returning home empty-handed. Some were too homesick. Others went bankrupt and wallowed in debt. Because leaving the country to try their luck abroad is a dream for many Filipinos, some instantly jump the boat (or a plane for that matter) blindly hoping for everything to go well. Not as planned, but just as how they dreamt it to be.
And dreams are good. Until reality kicks in, such as feeling homesick or being discriminated against. That's when overseas Filipinos struggle and lose grip of the dream. Sometimes even finding themselves in their worst nightmare.
Don't let this happen to you. With careful planning, you'll be able to assess if overseas life is the right door for you.
#1 Identify your strengths and weaknesses.Even if adaptability and resiliency are deeply rooted in our system as Filipinos, living alone in a new environment and adjusting to a different culture from yours may push you to your limits.
It's important to take a deep look within you to understand how you cope and deal with difficult changes. Use past situations in your life as your benchmark for assessing if living overseas is something you can handle. Ask yourself: Do you easily give up when faced with a difficult decision? Are you tolerant of opposing opinions? How do you deal with stress?
You also need to take the following into consideration:
- Your personality type. Are you too family-oriented to live alone? How long does it take you to get along with new friends and co-workers?
- Your physical conditions. Do you have preexisting health problems that may interfere with your work? Are you physically fit to live abroad?
- Your current financial status. Do you have enough money set aside for your first few months of adjustment for you and your family?
#2 Make your goals crystal clear.We may think that there's only one reason why Filipinos are leaving the country: to earn more for building their families' future. While this sound like a reasonable objective for overseas Filipinos, in reality, earning money and building a future are two separate goals. Oftentimes, the first goal gets more focus than the latter.
Many overseas Filipinos think that because they're earning and sending money back home, they are automatically building the future of their kids. Years later, they'll learn and regret that they have given too much money and too less of themselves.
Examine and break down your goals even before you decide to leave your family. Write them down and never forget it. Sure, these goals aren't cast in stone but it's always good to know them by heart so that you won't get lost in the process.
And remember, you shouldn't keep your money goals to yourself. Make sure that your family knows exactly how you plan things to happen (e.g. communication, budgeting, retirement, etc). Goals are easier to accomplish when family members are hand in hand.