Working abroad sounds like the best thing ever to some of us. Spending weekends traveling around Europe, with a new and exciting city just a short train ride away. Or for some of us who dream of working in a tropical location, spending our free-time surfing and soaking up the sun sounds like a pretty sweet deal. The chance to work abroad seems like it’s too good to pass up.
And it might be. Working abroad has all sorts of benefits and enticements. It not only gives us the opportunity to explore and go on andventures, it helps us grow as people. Living in a country with a different culture and potentially a different language forces you to think on your feet. As a magazine that calls itself “Honestly” we feel like it’s our job to make sure you know a few things about working abroad before you jump in.
Living abroad isn’t a secret way to avoid paying taxes. The U.S. expects you to convert your foreign earnings into USD and file taxes with the IRS. On top of that, you are also obligated to meet your tax obligation in the country you’re living in. But don’t throw away your dreams just yet! According to Joshua Ashman and Ephraim Moss (founders of Expat Tax Professionals),
“In order to prevent the double taxation of income earned by U.S. citizens living abroad, the U.S. tax code contains provisions that can reduce or eliminate an expat’s obligation to pay U.S. taxes.”
It’s important to note that you still need to file an income tax return (sorry we couldn’t get you out of that one).
It’s not as easy as it looks.
Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, you’re bound to see all sorts of adventures that your friends having. Maybe you have a friend or two who are living overseas in a storybook location like Italy, or maybe they found a job near a beach and tropical rain forest. I’m sure you’ve seen their pictures, and I know you’ve probably lusted after them with googly eyes. That’s probably what you were doing right before you found this article.
You’re dealing with a different culture, with different customs, and different expectations for how to work and live.
But listen, I promise it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Somehow social media only shows the bright side of things. Heck, even mini crisis come across as funny when it’s in a post (and you’re not the one living it). The thing is, living abroad isn’t always easy. You’re dealing with a different culture, with different customs, and different expectations for how to work and live. Sure, it could be a grand adventure, just make sure you do a reality check before you leave.
Be Realistic About Your Cost of Living
Working abroad is so much more than the job. I mean, you have to actually build a life there too. Before you leave the U.S., be sure that you know how much food and housing will cost, and don’t forget to figure out how you’re going to get to and from your job. Many countries have reliable public transportation that allow you to avoid getting a car or you might live close enough that you can walk. If you do buy a car while you’re there, make sure you factor in the cost of gas, which can be much more than in the U.S.
Still want to work abroad?
We hope we haven’t scared you off. The opportunity to work abroad can be life changing, but that doesn’t mean it stops being life. Just because you move overseas doesn’t mean that you’re suddenly immune to sickness, unfortunate events, and shifty people. So be prepared, and then get ready for an adventure!