Working abroad: pros and cons

As headhunters, we often find ourselves in a dual role—on one hand, assisting Italian candidates returning from abroad, and on the other, meeting Italians interested in opportunities in foreign countries, either for permanent relocation or for short-term experiences they can later leverage in Italy.

The General Picture

Broadly speaking, international experience can be an invaluable asset in cultivating a global perspective. While working in a global headquarters in Italy and liaising with multiple countries can be beneficial, multinationals here often prefer candidates with firsthand experience abroad.

If you’re not prepared or able to take this step, improving your language skills—especially in English—can serve as a good alternative to maintain international openness, as can traveling abroad during your free time or vacations.

Timing is Key

For those who wish to live in Italy but also gain valuable international experience, it’s worth considering spending time abroad during your studies or immediately afterwards. The further you progress in your career and personal life, the more challenging it will be to uproot yourself and explore new territories.

The Advantages

Let’s examine the benefits of a temporary stint abroad for those planning to continue their careers in Italy:

  • Language Mastery: Working abroad enables you to acquire fluency in a foreign language.
  • Cultural Flexibility: Immersing yourself in a different culture can increase your mental agility and emotional resilience.
  • Networking Skills: Building a new social network from scratch can improve your relational abilities and empathy.
  • Productivity and Drive: In deregulated job markets like the Anglo-Saxon, employees must be highly productive to excel, often resulting in greater proactivity and initiative.
  • Transferable Relationships: Relationships built abroad can be invaluable back in Italy.
  • Cutting-Edge Skills: Opportunities to familiarize yourself with advanced and innovative methodologies in your field often abound abroad and are highly sought after back home.
  • Financial Incentives: Due to either tax benefits or simply higher salaries, working abroad can be more financially rewarding, even after considering the cost of living.

The Drawbacks

Of course, there are challenges:

  • Emotional Distance: If you’re not used to being far from your family, you’ll have to learn to manage relationships from afar.
  • Increased Work Pressure: As a newcomer, you’ll need to prove yourself, often resulting in a higher work-life balance strain.
  • Cultural Adjustment: Adapting to new ways of thinking and living can be stressful.
  • Rebuilding Professional Network: Upon returning to Italy, you may have to start your professional network from scratch, making it crucial to make your mark in your industry.
  • Financial Adjustment: You may find the pay in Italy uncompetitive compared to what you got used to abroad.
  • Organizational Differences: If you’ve grown accustomed to a flat organizational structure, Italy’s traditionally hierarchical business culture could be jarring.

The Final Word

In conclusion, the biggest advantage of returning to Italy after an international experience is personal growth. With the resilience and problem-solving skills gained from your time abroad, coming back home will feel like a new beginning, full of fresh challenges and opportunities, all set against the backdrop of Italy’s world-renowned quality of life.

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