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Why you should work overseas at least once in your lifetime

04 Jul 01:00 by Mani Rakhra

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Living abroad as an expatriate might sound like a scary option to many, but to some, it is an exciting thought for many reasons. Living abroad has been challenging as it pushed me beyond my comfort zone both physically and mentally – but equally has been immensely rewarding!

 

A leap of faith

This is exactly how I felt in 2005, when I embarked upon my first assignment overseas to Beijing, China – in what started as a ‘dare’ to impress my friends.

Fortunately, my father has always worked in the airline industry, so we were fortunate enough to have travelled a lot – what could go wrong?

The reality hit me 6 hours into the flight from London, where I broke into a cold-sweat with fear about moving to a country very foreign to me – with no command of the language, very little knowledge of the country, no friends or family and couldn’t even use chopsticks! Ignorance is bliss!

 

Settling in

Thankfully my initial onboarding in Shanghai and Beijing quickly helped me settle and I very quickly mastered the art of using chopsticks!

The next 18 months were some of the best in my life and I was fortunate enough to have experienced so many different things and met so many new people – Banquet Dinner at the Great Hall of the People, Chinese Opera, Acrobatics, camping at the Great Wall, trips to the Summer Palace and even owned my first motorbike!

 

Joining Argyll Scott

I left Beijing in the summer of 2006 and returned to the UK and stepped into my first role in Recruitment – which came about through one of the contacts I met whilst in China.

A former mentor / manager of mine through my first recruitment role in London, led me out to Hong Kong in 2010 to join a boutique privately owned start-up firm aka Argyll Scott – and I once again jumped headfirst and took the leap of faith to jump on that plane!

This is where my journey and career catapulted from being a single contributor as part of a team to leading multiple teams in both Hong Kong and Singapore since 2017. 

Once again, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been part of the shaping and building of Argyll Scott, as well as being rewarded with self-development both personally and professionally.

 

Here are some of the take-aways and benefits I’ve experienced along the way…

 

Professional Development

I’ve truly been pushed out of my comfort zone on many occasions, having developed from a single contributor to a people manager; managed and grown one P&L to handling three; had a better understanding of the different cultures in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Singapore, just to list a few.

Improved communication skills

Living and working overseas has undoubtedly improved and developed my communications skills – again both at a personal and professional level.  My ability to engage with individuals at all levels and drive conversations in a more productive manner has developed considerably.

Cultural Insights

Once you understand the nuances behind a culture, you begin to understand its significance to the people who come from there. You may read or hear about another country but learning to interact successfully is key.

Entrepreneurialism

Moving abroad absolutely increased my self-determination and motivation.  As well as encouraging a need to take more initiative, independence, maturity and adaptability to my surroundings.

Connected

The world is increasingly interconnected, we see this daily through our 1st and 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn and ‘Mutual Friends’ on Facebook! Working abroad has given me the opportunity to build relationships with people on an international level which seem deeper rooted.

Travel Bug

A bonus of working abroad is that I’ve had the opportunity to travel further afield. For example, this year alone I’ve been to Thailand twice, Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and back to the UK twice – and we have 6 months to go!

Not to be under-estimated. As a result of living abroad, you will grow as a person. This is because the perspectives and values that you have inherited from your homeland will be upgraded for a more holistic perspective that encompasses different viewpoints.

I would love to have the opportunity to meet anyone personally who would be keen to hear my story and see how a career at Argyll Scott can support their own journey to an overseas land…get in touch!

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mani Rakhra
Director
Argyll Scott Singapore

With over 15 years' recruitment experience in London, Beijing, and Hong Kong, Mani is a Director at our Singapore office responsible for managing our commerce business across Singapore and Southeast Asia markets covering Human Resources, Accounting & Finance, and Sales & Marketing.

He relies on his strengths in relationship management to provide candidates and clients with professional insight into a space that can often at times be ambiguous.