Moving abroad can be eye-opening, invaluable, and challenging. Transitioning into life in a different country is not without its obstacles. Assimilation may be a slow process, depending on the languages spoken and various cultural differences between your old and new home. Faced with such adversity, creating a sense of normalcy and routine will be paramount to your mental and physical wellbeing. And while transitioning into a career in your new home should be an important part of this routine, so should physical fitness.
In preparation for a move abroad, fitness is often interpreted as secondary to, for instance, finding appropriate housing, or searching for job prospects. But developing a formal plan for regular exercise is crucial if you wish to maintain your health. There are countless benefits to putting fitness first beyond maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and many professional opportunities for expats that involve physically challenging activity, or that focus on exercise and wellness.
If you are considering or planning a move overseas, and enjoy an active lifestyle, consider the following career paths to help you maintain your lifestyle and your global career:
Become an Adventure Guide.
Countless companies offer guided hikes, tours, and trips to adventure destinations all over the world. Trip leaders do not have a traditional schedule, but enjoy more flexibility than full-time desk jobs. You will likely also be able to work in your native language: the group who books the trip, rather than the country in which the trip is led, will determine which language is spoken. Job requirements could include a CPR and First Aid certification, experience leading trips, and experience with one or several particular destinations. Individuals who already possess the skills necessary to lead specialized trips such as horseback riding, kayaking, through-hiking, and rock-climbing are more likely to be considered.
Consider Outdoor Recreation.
People all over the world enjoy partaking in recreational activities outside. No matter whether you are moving to a tropical or arctic climate, the chances are high that there is a local outdoor recreation center or area of some kind. Although perhaps not as specialized as in the previous example, a language barrier will not necessarily prohibit hiring – at the entry level, outdoor recreation requires primarily hauling, setup and breakdown of equipment and gear. It is a physically demanding job that generally only requires strength. Just as in the previous example, professional specialization in activities such as skiing, archery, sailing, and ropes courses will only increase your chance of being hired.
Work on a Short-Term Contract.
This option may not be viable for those who plan to stay in one country for an extended period of time, but for those hoping to move abroad without a permanent job, it is ideal. Camps, language schools, au pair services, and seasonal resorts, bars, and restaurants all offer fixed-term contracts that generally come with short-term work visas. Because these jobs are rarely permanent, they do not necessarily require specialized skills, allowing for a broader range of applicants. Particularly for international students, recent graduates, and young professionals who don’t yet have families of their own, these positions are an excellent way to move to a new country, make connections with other young global professionals, and work an active and demanding job.
Follow Your Artistic Passion.
If you have a creative inclination and a passion for the performing arts, you may want to consider performing opportunities abroad. These opportunities may not necessarily be full-time or paid, but they do offer a wide range of other benefits, least of which is the general promise of physical work. If your circumstances allow you to seek out internships or gig work, connecting with the local performing arts community in your new home will undoubtedly prove fruitful. There are various sites dedicated to posting performing opportunities all over the world. A quick search on Facebook, Instagram, or Google using search terms like, for example, “dance company + munich” will also provide links and contact information for local companies, programs, and organizations in your new country of residence. For aspiring artists, seeking out any possible performing opportunity can both provide a creative outlet, and help build a network, which can potentially lead to a more consistent work opportunity.
Go Green, Professionally.
The best bet for finding a physically active line of work may also just happen to be the world’s fastest growing job sector: green jobs. These jobs generally require specialized certifications, training, or education, but they are well worth the additional professional development due to their job security and commensurate pay. The green job sector is exploding all over world in sub-sectors such as wind energy, wave energy, green building, and biofuels. Another benefit of these jobs is that they contribute back to the local infrastructure, helping to make a positive impact on your new community.
Create Your Own Career.
Depending on the country, you may be able to start a small business focused on physical fitness and wellness, or work as a freelancer. Small business owners often seek out local contractors to perform jobs such as dance teaching, personal training, sports coaching, and even bicycle deliveries. You could also find work in the cultural sector leading local walking or biking tours in your native language, for example.
Develop a short list of job requirements prior to exploring the career possibilities listed above, and attempt to answer several key questions, such as:
- Do you need to make a certain amount of money to maintain your budget?
- Do you have a flexible schedule?
- Is it a priority for your work to provide you with certain built-in incentives, such as childcare and retirement packages?
In exploring your employment options abroad, it is paramount to obtain answers to these and other important questions prior to committing to a contract or accepting a job offer. Jobs that seem like a dream come true may prove not to be financially viable, or may not allow for the kind of flexibility you may need, depending on your individual situation.
If you prefer challenging physical work, there are many different avenues to explore when it comes to moving abroad. Whether or not you eventually find work that is physically challenging and keeps you active on the job, you should seek out avenues for physical exercise in your new home. Physical fitness is an excellent way to maintain quality of life, particularly during professional transition periods.
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