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How to become an expat with little work experience and a small budget

  • Moving abroad
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The dream of leaving our country behind in search of exciting adventures abroad can seem unachievable, especially among the younger crowds who are finding themselves with a newly acquired degree, little to no work experience, and a limited budget. Expat.com is here to tell you that it is still possible to move to another country no matter what your circumstances are.

Move to a country with a low cost of living

country with low cost of living
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The most important thing when moving abroad on a budget is to keep an open mind about where you want to live. If you’re flexible about your options, you can easily look for countries that have a low cost of living, which will allow you to experience the place fully and not have to worry so much about the exorbitant prices of groceries, activities, rent, entertainment, and transport. Some of the most common places for low costs of living and a good quality of life for expats are Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Costa Rica, and Chile, among many others.

Work in exchange for a place to stay

farming
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Many among us enjoy the idea of volunteering abroad, with the common misconception that volunteering is affordable. While it is a noble and selfless way to spend your time, it can be quite costly as most often that not you will be expected to pay for your own accommodation, food, health insurance, flights, and everything in between. However, there are organisations like WWOOF all over the world that offer housing, food, and even allow you to develop skills in sustainable living, in exchange for work on organic farms.

Couchsurf or stay with friends

Couchsurfing
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Having to pay rent is one of the major reasons why it sometimes seems like moving abroad is an unattainable goal. Indeed, if you’re not interested in WWOOF or other similar organisations, then a big part of your savings will inevitably have to go towards finding a place to stay while you find a job or figure out your next move. This is where couchsurfing comes in — you can stay with a local, make some friends, learn about the country and the culture, and save a bit on rent. If you have a friend already living in your destination of choice, reach out and ask if they can accommodate you. You can always contribute in ways other than paying rent, such as cooking, cleaning, etc.  

Look for part-time gigs

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While you’re waiting for your big break or planning out your next steps, be open to working part-time. It’s ideal, of course, to direct your part-time gigs towards where you want your career to be, for instance, if you are interested in photography, you could start off with an internship or part-time job as photographer’s assistant. However, life does not always offer us the exact opportunities we want, and it’s important to be open to random part-time gigs which will keep you afloat temporarily. Moreover, if you’re young and just starting out in your career, it might not necessarily heavily impact your resume or CV. Who knows, you might even discover a new passion along the way.

Engage with locals and other expats

meet locals
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Networking and making friends with locals is important if you want to make it in your new country. However, if at the beginning you’re feeling a bit shy or even apprehensive, seek out other expats who can tell you about their experiences, and maybe even connect you with others. It’s understandable that expats tend to stick together in new countries and mostly engage with each other, as this brings comfort, a sense of belonging, and lots of useful advice. Once you’re settled, however, make sure to get out of your comfort zone, meet the local people, and grow your network and consequently your opportunities.
 

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