Why the Charity Sector is Ideal for International Workers
Living and working in a new country comes with its own set of challenges – there’s no denying it can be a daunting experience. Perhaps you feel anxious about a language barrier and need to brush up on your language skills. Or maybe you’re unsure of fitting into a different office culture.
Whatever the reasons for moving abroad, whether you’re craving something new or making the move for better prospects, the transition doesn’t have to be that tough. Choosing to start your new working life in an international environment can help with the change.
Here are five reasons why the charity sector is the ideal environment for international workers.
1. It’s most likely to be international
First world countries are home to a diversity of international charities that work to look after people, animals and issues in vulnerable areas all over the world. In other words, bilingual employees are always in high demand.
Many of these charities will have an international workforce, either sitting in the head office or working on the ground. As an international candidate, you’re bringing language skills, empathy and cultural awareness that your native counterpart may not have. You can communicate with the people you’re helping in their own language, allowing you to connect with them on a more personal level. That builds an invaluable level of trust, which is important when you’re working with vulnerable people.
Find a charity that looks after issues close to your heart; something that you’d like to help champion. And it could even be something that links you to your home country.
2. It’s easier to fit into the work culture
When the majority of workers in the office are not from the same country, it means there isn’t as much a set precedent when it comes to working culture. It’s a mixture of experiences, upbringing and traditions. As an international worker, you might find this easier to settle into.
It could be small things, like office chit-chat, taking lunches together or gathering around the coffee machine for a morning espresso and chat. It also means you might find friends in your new city that can become your family. Whether from the same country where you can celebrate country-specific holidays together, or people from other countries who understand the challenges of moving aboard.
Ultimately, working in a charity means you’re surrounding yourself with people who have the same passions and interests as you. So the little cultural differences are less of an issue because you’re brought together to help further the same cause.
3. You’ll meet a wide range of people
There is no doubt that charities attract an interesting crowd. Smart, passionate and perhaps with an interesting story to tell. Whether they’re like you and decided to start out in an international role, or they experienced something to lead them into the non-profit sector, it’s a guarantee you will be exposed to a range of people.
International workers, influential fundraisers and volunteers who have done amazing work are just to name a few of the types of people you’ll be able to meet, shadow and learn from.
4. You’ll gain valuable work experience
If charity isn’t quite your ideal career, rest assured that you will gain a huge amount of experience to help you move on to your preferred industry. Maybe a social enterprise or community interest company is more geared towards your interests? Or maybe you’d rather be working directly with the political powers that influence change.
Charities can be difficult to navigate, with corruption, terrorism and political instability all real challenges. The UK government, for instance, has guidelines in place to help charities assess the risks it might face and guidance of what to do.
However, working in a charity you will quickly realise that no amount of guidelines can prepare you for the reality. It’s here where you will have a real opportunity to learn. See in action how to manage a crisis, assess real risks and be proactive to do what’s in the best interest for the charity. This kind of experience will be invaluable for your future career.
5. It’s a great opportunity to improve your skills
Large charities allow employees to follow clear progression tracks, much in the same way you would in the for-profit sector. These companies have the resources to train their staff, and with bigger organisations come more opportunities to grow and progress in your role.
Smaller charities, on the other hand, have limited resources and potentially slimmer teams. This means you might have to make yourself useful and help out where and when required in other areas. Here is where you’ll really gain a variety of skills, learning on the job. Though it may be more responsibility, it means you’ll develop a wider breadth of skills that can benefit your career down the line.
Move on up
Don’t think that starting your career or work experience abroad in the charity sector isn’t a huge milestone. Charities recruit smart and motivated people. You might love that you’re making a real difference every day that you’re at work and want to make a career for yourself in the charity world. And if not, then the wide variety of skills and experience you’ll learn will put you in a good position moving forward.
This post was brought to you by Kaplan International English, offering English languages courses in 38 destinations around the world.