Whether you’re looking to travel after graduation, or eager to find a blank slate for a fresh start; you’ve decided to go abroad. In any case, there are many reasons and opportunities to make the most of your experience abroad. You can travel, volunteer, teach, or work abroad. No matter which path you decide to take, you will gain valuable insight into a new and exciting country.
Let’s say you can’t commit to a whole year teaching but you want more time than a week of vacationing or volunteering. Consider two options for a moment; you can either carry your life on your back or settle down and find work abroad.
Many people decide to travel as backpackers for an extended period of time, whether on their own or with a small group of friends. These back-packing experiences provide valuable insight to various local cultures and customs of many different regions and cities: everything from the local people to the cuisine, the landscape, and the diverse geography. Typically this type of excursion is an action packed list of things to do compressed into a small amount of time. With that in mind, backpackers are constantly on-the-go, seeking the next opportunity that comes along their path.
Picture your life backpacking: one week you might be hiking through a luscious mountainous region and the next you’ll be posted up on a white sand beach with a Chang in your hand. What could be more ideal?
Well, let’s consider the flip side of that exhilarating excursion – the cons, per se. While you may gain some unique street smarts navigating a foreign country, you won’t be getting an in-depth understanding of each culture if you’re constantly looking ahead for the next best thing to come along. Not to mention, there’s no time to relax when there’s so much to see and too much to do.
Taking in the view of our new home in Hua Hin.
Sound exhausting and stressful? Well, I have a solution for you. Ditch the backpack (along with the sore feet) and choose to fully immerse yourself in a local culture through working and living abroad. There are various attractions and benefits to working abroad compared to the constant hustle of backpacker travel. You’ll have the opportunity to get to know your surroundings while also appreciating each moment, embracing every aspect of this new, diverse environment.
Amazing to be part of a company that is dedicated to giving back to their community with time spent at the Pala'U orphanage.
First of all, you’ll gain hands on work experience in an international Thai office, pretty cool right? Those who work abroad gain value through capturing an in-depth understanding of how a business within another culture operates. Participating in daily operations allow for a better interpretation of the company in general and why they promote specific values relating to Thai culture.
Not only will you gain insight to a multi-cultural/international work environment but any challenges abroad will allow for more individual growth and prepare you for future struggles back home. Through working with other cultures you will learn how to navigate through daily issues that aren’t typically addressed within a monocultural environment.
Some of the XploreAsia team saying a farewell to one of our interns!
These miniscule interactions lead to a better understanding of how others operate while also promoting a new way of thinking. As you build these international relationships, your diverse group of colleagues will soon become a substantial global network of friends.
Enjoying a lesson on meditation from a local monk.
Interacting with the same people on a daily basis can also change your perception of someone from a different cultural background as you begin to understand why they do the things they do and reasoning put behind the unique customs of Thai people. It truly is an enriching experience to befriend a local and gain their personal insight on life in Thailand. Plus collaborating with locals within the office enables the perfect opportunity to enhance your Thai language skills. Everyday brings a new chance to learn something about the Thai culture and about yourself.
So if you’re thinking you’ll be stuck in one city without experiencing any of Thailand’s rich offerings by taking an internship over backpacking, you are mistaken. On one hand, much of the valuable offerings occur within daily office interactions. But what about the travel opportunities? As an intern, I find it much easier to travel somewhat sporadically because it helps to save up money before these trips while also allowing for some down time during the week without the stress that comes with constantly changing scenery. It is also reassuring to have a home base to return to after a hectic weekend reliving planes, trains, and automobiles. Travelling is still very much attainable as an intern so don’t be discouraged if that is a main concern when considering a work abroad opportunity.
Viewpoint over Khao Kalok Beach in Pranburi
While there is much to learn about culture by backpacking through a new country, personally I have found that working within an international office I have gained an extensive, unparalleled skill set with communicating across various cultures that would not be attainable through just traveling.
With that said, consider these five reasons why you should leave the backpack at home and work abroad instead:
- Work within an integrated office environment and learn how to interact professionally with Thai people while also improving your own Thai language skills.
- Gain full immersion into local culture including all of the food, friends, and welcoming family atmosphere you could ever dream of.
- Assume automatic lower stress about what will happen next and gain more appreciation for what is happening now.
- Build both a personal and professional global network of friends and colleagues.
- Have the opportunity to travel on weekend excursions while still having a secure home base to return to afterwards.
Now that you’ve weighed the pro’s and con’s, why not start your journey now and apply to one of our unique internship programs!
Written by: Marti Lippert