Working abroad is a great way to experience another country without spending all the money you’d churn out if you chose to simply travel. You’ll also get to experience a country and culture at a deeper level. While working abroad is incredibly fulfilling and feasible, it takes a lot of prep work and planning to make sure you’re complying with the laws and needs of both your home country and your new host country.
Taxes and your company
Make sure you’re working with a company that will help you navigate all the changes, such as tax laws, housing, obtaining a visa, getting shots and medicines, and whether or not you need to apply for residency. This is especially important if you’re working in a country where there’s a language barrier. If you are employed by an international company and are still a citizen of the United States, you may be paying taxes in both countries. It will be different depending on if you’re a US employee on assignment or if you’re an employee in your new country. Even if you’re only paying taxes in your new country, you are still required to file taxes with the US IRS to show that you’re paying those taxes. If you have your own business abroad, you’ll need to make sure you’re following all the rules and regulations. There are specific tax laws and compliances you’ll need to meet.
Your visa will also be a big deal. Depending on your specific visa, you may not be allowed to look for other work in your new country, or if you quit your job, you may have to return home immediately. Hopefully, your employer will help walk you through this somewhat complicated process. You’ll want to make sure you have solid insurance on you. You may want to buy travel insurance or make sure that you’ve got a US lawyer who can step in, should anything go seriously awry.
If you really don’t know where to begin, but you do know that you want to work abroad, start by looking at English teaching scheme, a working holiday (if you’re under 30), or au pair work. English teaching jobs can be on yearly contracts. Working holidays are usually taken up by students, backpackers, and people taking gap years. They are usually offered by English-speaking Commonwealth countries, give you a six-month work visa. Most of the jobs people get on holiday work visas are low-paying, but they can be enough to live and do some traveling on. If you work as an au pair, you’ll be a nanny for a family. It’s hard work: you’re full-time with the family, and you’ll need facility with the language. But it’s a great way to get immersed in culture, and you may even be able to go along with your host family on their travels!
You might be able to work remotely for a US company while living in another country. Certain countries will allow you to live within their borders without working within the country, so long as you can prove that you have enough money to live there. You’ll still be paying taxes within the US, which means you’ll actually be able to save for retirement more effectively. Again, though, different countries have different rules, and different visa lengths, so be sure to do your homework.