In this video, we look at the personal decision to go abroad. First, let's define an expatriate or expat. An expatriate is a person residing in a country other than their native country. Expats can be professionals, workers, artists, students, seekers, retirees, or anyone else living abroad for an extended period. An expat could be sent by an employer such as a company, or a university, or a government agency, by an NGO, or by some other organization, or an expat could be an individual that chooses to go abroad independently to find work abroad. Tourists generally are not considered expats since they are in a foreign country only for a short period of time and are not employed in the country. Immigrants generally are not considered expats since they intend to stay in the country permanently. In this video, we'll be focusing on the decision for a person who is considering going abroad to work or study, or as an expatriate. We'll discuss the objectives and goals for becoming an expat. Considerations for the expat including personal issues, professional and work issues, plus family, financial, health, legal, and country considerations. Finally, we'll discuss how to put it all together to make the decision to become an expatriate. First, to consider our answers to the question, what are your personal objectives and goals for going abroad? Answers could be professional growth, getting better at your job or career, advancement at work, perhaps required for promotion, expand your horizons in some general sense, adventure to see the world and satisfy wanderlust, social good by engaging in charity or perhaps mission work, learn new skills that will expand personal and professional opportunities, education that provides a foundation for future career and livelihood, or perhaps your serendipity where you set out on a new adventure with the expectation that good things will happen yet unknown. I think it's important to articulate why you want to go abroad or what you hope to gain from that experience. Next, honestly answer, are you suited for going abroad and will you like it? The chart to the right shows a study that investigated attributes for successful business expatriates. Note that at the top of the list are personal attributes such as flexibility and curiosity. While technical and administrative capabilities trail behind. This results supports extensive anecdotal evidence that it is a mistake to choose expat candidates solely on their technical or management skills. Personal skills dominate success. Personal attributes for successful expats are, flexibility and a willingness to try new ways of doing things, an open mind with a desire to understand new environments and an interest in seeing the world through a different lens, curiosity about learning a new culture environment and on the job, cultural sensitivity with an ability to understand a foreign culture and to live work and integrate into it, and being adventuresome with a desire for exciting and new experiences at work and in life. While these are desirable characteristics, ask yourself honestly, if they describe you. If they don't you probably will not be happy as an expatriate. Next, ask what is the impact of going abroad on your professional life and work? Possible answers might be, your employer has requested that you consider an international assignment, your career demands that you work internationally such as an international sales or foreign service, an international posting as a prerequisite for more promotion in your global company, maybe a personal desire to grow professionally in international business. But perhaps you think a foreign assignment will help you in developing job-relevant skills and experiences, establish a global professional network, learn new technologies, or learn new business practices and processes. Ideally, a foreign assignment will enhance your professional and career prospects. Critically important in the expat decision are family considerations. What will be the impact of life abroad on your spouse, children, relatives, and friends? Will your spouse or significant other be happy, will your spouse need to find a job? Will your children be happy, are adequate schools available, are they willing to leave their friends? Do you need to care for aging parents or relatives? Will your friends come to visit, do you want them to come to visit? Can you easily visit home for vacations, family events, or emergencies? Long experience has shown that family unhappiness abroad is one of the leading causes of expat failure. Make sure your extended family are on board with the decision to go abroad. Financial considerations are, of course, important for your decision. Ask what will be the financial impact if I go abroad? If you're employed, will your employer provide an expat package with moving allowances, education allowance for the kids, and coverage for other extra expenses incurred during your foreign assignment. What will be your income on a foreign job? If you're looking for a job once abroad, how to pay expenses until that job is found. How will foreign expenses differ from expenses at home, and what other hidden expenses should you worry about? Here's a living abroad budget list to provide some idea of additional expenses that an expat assignment might incur beyond what you'd expect at home. This is shown in red. Budget items include base salary income, housing expenses, food, energy, and transportation expenses, local cost-of-living adjustments depending on your location, education for children, perhaps in an international school for expat kids, relocation expenses to and from your destination, home-country visit expenses so that you can keep in touch with your family, friends and work colleagues, foreign country health insurance if you're not covered by employers, or your employer's policy, evacuation insurance for medical emergencies or other unforeseen events, contingency and emergency funds for unexpected expenses, home-country taxes if your home country taxes for an income, and foreign country taxes at your destination. As you see, there are many expat expense items that would not appear on your home country budget. Another important question is, do you or your family have health issues? Are you all healthy? If not, is treatment available for chronic conditions? How will you pay for health care? Will your employer provide health insurance or will you need to buy expat health insurance? You certainly cannot assume that your destination country will provide treatment and cover unexpected health expenses. When traveling and working abroad, a necessary question is what legal issues that are important to understand when you're abroad? Typical required documents for expert work are entry visas, residency permits, and work visas and it's important to know visa durations and your ability to come and go from your host country. You'll need to know the tax, banking, and financial laws of your destination country and depending on your circumstances, family and partner laws will be important, including laws regarding civil marriage, cohabitation without marriage, and same-sex marriages. Also, if you're divorced or have adopted children, child custody documents may be required. National labor laws vary widely by country, so you'll want to be informed about those. Finally, alcohol and drug laws differ very much from country to country with wide variations in what is legal, what is illegal, and what are penalties for violations. Finally, and perhaps the most important question, especially for your family, is the country under consideration a comfortable choice? Relevant expat country evaluation factors could be language or languages, the dominant religion and its influence on daily life, the culture, history, climate, and schools in the country, national politics, the rule of law and the state of a country's economy, safety and other risk factors by living in the country and the need for work visa if you're employed in the country. Tools to help you evaluating the suitability of a country include Hofstede's cultural dimensions, the CAGE country distance analysis, and government country reports. These three are described in detail in other videos. Finally, online expat surveys and testimonials can provide invaluable insights on expert life in a country. Once you've gathered all this information, now to use it to decide whether to go abroad and where to go abroad. First discuss and debate options with involved stakeholders such as spouse, family and friends, plus work colleagues and superiors. Other good sources of information are returning expats, foreign expats in your country, foreign residents near you and foreign consulates or embassies in your city or region. To make the decision, you will want to include opinions of your family, opinions of trusted friends and colleagues, consider long-term implications, develop pro-con lists. Take your time with a deadline and follow your intuition, trust your instincts. Perhaps one way to aid your decision-making is to ask, which will cause me the greatest long-term regret, going or staying? Summarizing, the first step to going abroad is deciding whether to go abroad and where to go abroad. First, carefully articulate your objectives and goals for going abroad. Considerations for your decision should include personal, professional, and work, family, financial, health, legal and country considerations. Finally, put it all together to arrive at the decision. Bon voyage. In the next video, we assume that you have decided to go abroad and have chosen a destination. The topic of that next video is preparing to go. We'll see you there.