Working Abroad

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In my previous blog I wrote about my hobby of traveling with a focus on studying abroad. Since then I have taken my hobby to the next level: working abroad. This past summer I worked at a game company called Netease Games in Guangzhou, China. Hopefully by the end of this blog, I can provide some useful pointers for those interested in taking their international travels to the next level.

Best Time to Go

I believe there is no better time to travel than during college. I am always trying to find a place where I belong in this world. Studying abroad and Co-ops (paid internships) provide great opportunities for me to make this search. They also help me go places beyond my comfort zone. An advantage to working abroad for Co-op is that my time is limited to a short 10 weeks. This allows for me to learn about the place I am working at without having a long commitment to the company (in case I don’t like it). Working abroad can also offer assistance with relocation, housing, and food.  Instead of paying for a vacation or study abroad, I can make a profit by traveling the world! Awesome!

A New Culture 

There is a catch with this travel deal. Obviously you will be in a place where the culture and possibly the language are completely different. Unlike studying abroad, people are expecting you to be an adult and not a student. The work schedule offers a lot of free time for exploration. Having this free time is great but it comes with a high level of responsibility. If you don’t challenge yourself to leave your comfort zone, you won’t. Exploration is not part of the trip but part of your new life (ex: finding places you like to eat). Overall working abroad helped me to gain more confidence in what I want out of my life as well as where I want to go.  

Working Puzzles

Most popular game companies in America develop 1-2 games at a time. However, Netease works at a rate that is close to 100 games at a time (if not more). There are specialized teams that handle one aspect of many different projects. It was very exciting to have been a part of so many projects at once. At the same time, I had to learn many standards the company used when approaching an issue. The biggest puzzle I dealt with was finding a way to communicate with my team. I must confess… at my best, I am at a 3-year-old level of Chinese literacy. You probably wouldn’t want to communicate with a 3-year-old when making professional decisions. To solve my communication problem, I learned new ways to complete my tasks and make reports. By using pictures and symbols, I could effectively convey my points to people regardless of the language being spoken. Sometimes there are multiple ways to solve a puzzle. Working abroad is one way to open up your mind to these different solutions.

Summary

There are going to be quite a few challenges if you choose to work abroad. That’s great! Take on this experience early and acquire knowledge that you can use for a lifetime!