The value of a UWA degree

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Many of us dream of moving overseas for work but hold back due to anxiety about the unknown or fear of failure. We reached out to grads who have made the big move for their insight and advice. One thing they all agree on is, whether on a short-term basis or for something more permanent, working abroad is a highly recommended, life-affirming experience.

Cherie Louise Moseley MSW '16Learn the basics of the local language

"I don’t know if anything can prepare you for a new country, but there are a few things I wish I had done before I landed in India! Most importantly, learn the basics of the local language. Something as simple as being able to read the labels on your food or ask for directions can really make you feel empowered and independent! The local community also genuinely appreciate any attempts to speak in their language, so it goes a long way in relationship building, Secondly, give yourself time and ease into life - don’t expect to jump on the local train at peak hour, eat street food and conduct a meeting in a new language all in one day. Expats spend years adjusting to a new culture, so be kind to yourself."

Cherie Moseley MSW '16
Project Specialist
Atma - An Accelerator for Education (Mumbai, India)

Vishmi de Silva BCom '05
Don’t fall into the trap of applying the same rules as you would in Australia

"Whilst moving overseas and becoming an expat seemed daunting at first, it was a great opportunity to rethink my career and options. Keep an open mind about everything and don’t fall into the trap of applying the same rules as you would in Australia, elsewhere!

"My experience with Asia is that there are heaps of expat forums on Facebook, especially for women. Take the opportunity to attend events and reach out to the local Austcham community to see what events you can go to – there is often a 'wine and cheese' night that is great for networking. When you meet new people remember to keep an open mind – the demographics of my friends are TOTALLY different to the ones I would have if I was still in Australia. They are often older and a lot more senior in their careers, which is also an added bonus from a business perspective."

Vishmi de Silva BCom '05
Operations & Business Development
Asia Market Entry (Singapore)

Ricky Mui BSc, LLB '97Network, network, network

"If you are looking to move overseas for work, there are certain key factors you need to take into consideration:

  • Research the market – Do your own due diligence. Speak to a recruiter to find out more about the local market, research specific industry news, look at relevant job boards ie jobsdb, efinancial, indeed.com, SCMP, etc. or if you are applying for specific positions search their company website and careers page.
  • Applying for jobs – Make sure you have a memorable cover letter highlighting what differentiates you from other applicants. It is important to have a solid educational background from a reputable university and to tailor your cv to match the job specification with examples of relevant work experience.
  • Network, network, network – Once you make the move, the best way to meet people is through networking events: Australian Chamber of Commerce, industry associations, industry events, sporting or social clubs etc. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!"

Ricky Mui BSc, LLB '97
Managing Director - Hong Kong
Robert Walters (Hong Kong)

Rachel Paterson BSc(Hons) '11
Try something old, something new

"When moving to a new country, I’ve found that the easiest way to make friends and get to know the area is to play a sport or join a local activity group. Trying something new can be fun, but if you’re missing home then you could also look for something more familiar; you’d be surprised how many countries have Australian Rules Football clubs, especially at Universities across the UK, Europe and North America. Search for clubs online, and look out for ads for other activities such as local walking or cycling groups. If indoor hobbies are more your thing, check if there’s a board game club or book club in your area. A lot of groups can be found online and may even be running online meet ups or activities. And if you can’t find the club you want to join, start your own! It can take a bit of time and persistence to get a group up and running but, once you've got some momentum, it's more than worth the initial effort."

Rachel Paterson BSc(Hons) '11
Scientist
Immunocore (Oxfordshire, United Kingdom)

Farrin Ripp DipA '11, LLB, BCom '11
Reach out to uni alums and other contacts living there

"Highly recommend moving overseas at least once in your life. The people you meet and the skills you develop through this experience are invaluable. Before you leave, or when you arrive in your new city, reach out to uni alums and other contacts living there. Everyone has been in a similar situation at some point and you’d be surprised how helpful they can be in setting you off on the right foot. Learn to embrace the ‘hustle’. Join social media and professional networks and start going to events. Again, the people you meet and talk to can help in a variety of ways from setting up job opportunities to simply navigating all the cool things to do in your new city! You don’t know what you don’t know, so ask questions, network and just get out there."

Farrin Ripp DipA '11, LLB, BCom '11
Consultant
Vira Consulting Group (New York, USA)

Damian Collins BPsych '97
See it as a journey

"See the decision to work abroad as a journey; one that will present exciting opportunities for learning and growth. Like any journey worth taking, also anticipate there will be the inevitable challenges and bumps along the road.

"During this journey it is completely normal to experience ups and downs and changes in how you view Australia and your new home, which can be confusing. Generally you will develop a more balanced and nuanced view the longer you’re away.

"Early on, especially if you’re enjoying yourself, you may even feel you need to articulate your preference for being away from Aus and overseas. You don’t! You can still think Aus is great (which it is) but make a choice to be away. Your definition of home and overseas may indeed change over time. Having been out of Australia for over 13 years, Singapore for now is home and Australia is ‘overseas’.

"Embarking on the journey with a curious and learning mind-set will increase the likelihood of making it one that you will enjoy. One that may well have a transformative impact on your career and life overall."

Damian Collins BPsych '97
Head - People & Organisation Development, APAC
Syngenta (Singapore)

Chloe Dempsey BA '14, LLB '18
Engage with the local culture

"Learning a language is more than a means of communication, it's an insight into the culture of a place. It also provides motivation to get to know locals, which is often the most rewarding part of living abroad. Engage with local culture and develop an interest in something specific. Being a fan of a local band, author, sport or specific food: this can help you appreciate and feel connected to your new home, as well as being a good conversation starter.

"On the flip side, take advantage of your unique offering as a young expat. Reach out to leaders in the field you’re interested in - academia, the private or public sector - most are more responsive to a cold call from a young person who is challenging themselves by living overseas and learning from experience."

Chloe Dempsey BA '14, LLB '18
Economics Postgraduate
Yenching Academy of Peking University (Beijing, China)