The challenges of venturing abroad

The challenges of venturing abroad

Leaving the comfort zone is not easy, although it does give you a lifelong teaching.

* Written by Héctor Hernández

For me it is always fascinating to hear the negative suggestions and questions that one receives from acquaintances, colleagues, friends and relatives when you talk about your next professional adventure, one that will take you to another country towards a new and completely unknown culture: But, what if you go wrong? What if you do not? Will you come back if you do not do well? They have, and will always be, questions that I will get tired of hearing.

We Mexicans grow up in a family environment where everything is protected and driven through a schematic plan, where not having failures is also a synonymous of success. There are few, very few people who perceive the growth opportunities that reside in venturing into an unknown and distant environment, especially, in the personal and family level.

In every change in the life of a human being there is a resistance in the technical and social aspect.

The uncertainty of a new job, the new responsibilities that come with living in another country, so different from your own and the clash of a new culture are some of the technical parts of the change, these can be overcome with determination, dedication and perseverance. The verbal and non-verbal communication is also a challenge, but one that can be overcome by work ethics and continuous labor, this can also serve as a demonstration of adaptability and even humility. Having the courage to ask and apologizing in another language are qualities that will open many doors in the new market and to your horizons, showing resilience and maturity.

The social part is something that worries because you want to prove yourself and if you live up to the full expectations of this “international challenge”. In this aspect, you can also tend to feel the pressure of demonstrating your countries potential, and although it is difficult not to compare yourself with other international people, you have to always remind yourself that working in another country is always going to bring benefits. It challenges you to put in perspective and really identify the pros and cons of the labor culture, in my case, in Mexico.

It is important to know that fearing failure is part of the new adventure, but failure can also paralyze. If you let yourself get carried away by it, you immediately think of returning to your country with a sense of defeat, thinking of the justifications for yourself and others as to why you return. Never forget you are there for a reason, and that reason is what´s going to keep you there.

Navigating to a new adventure and environment forces you to think about your family: can they adapt? This factor is sometimes the heaviest, since it is the least capable one of controlling one. Thinking about whether your children will cope or if your partner will be comfortable takes a lot of preparation, but a clear dialogue prior, a pre-adventure communication to the trip abroad can ease things and help you balance emotions.

Venturing abroad can present great opportunities for your family, some that can last a life-time… There are no perfect rules or “proof-of-all” methodology, each family is a world and can react in different ways to the multiple stimuli that means going where you’ve never gone before.

It is no lie: our lifestyle changes 180 degrees in this situation, especially with the new schedule, new partners, new routes, new food, etc. But, regardless of what you are about to find in the new horizon, it is vital to know that there are only a hand-few who have these types of opportunities, and even fewer who have accomplished the mission remaining in union and love with one-self and those around, so think outside the box and seize the chance, be one of the few.

Tip: It is never good to try and assimilate a country and its culture in a short time, like everything, when it is spaced and continuous process, the resistance is less, the stimuli are assimilated and a better knowledge is processed, making a better experience. Accept that circumstances are different to where you are from, it keeps you safe and humble in a new environment that may not always be friendly.

Succeeding as a Mexican and in the foreign professional field with the love and company of my family has been the experiences I most treasure in my life.


About the Author:

Héctor Hernández
Senior executive and business consultant currently serving as National Director of retail sales for On The Rocks Premium Cocktails.
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