Do you want to work abroad? That’s a question that’s gone through every Filipino’s mind at least once if we’re going be honest with ourselves. But more important than answering right away, we need to pause and think long and think hard about what it really means to work abroad.
In this post, we will share some important questions you need to consider first before you decide working abroad. It’s not a very difficult task to do, but you need to be honest with yourself – that’s the most important rule, and the only rule you need to follow when doing this task. So, if you’re ready to find out if becoming an OFW is the right path for you, continue reading the paragraphs below.
Disclaimer: The information published is based on the experience shared by the vlogger/YouTuber. The information provided may change without prior notice and may differ in actual scenarios. Let this article serve as a guide only.
Here is the video guide shared by a Filipina domestic helper in Singapore, Yaya Jhin on YouTube. If you find her tips helpful, you may check out her channel to catch more interesting content about her work and life as an OFW in Singapore.
15 Things to Consider Before Working Abroad
If you’re going to ask other OFWs what the most important trait to have when working abroad, you’ll hear several answers, most of which, are based on their personal experiences.
Some would say, you need to be brave (matibay ang loob), determined (buo ang loob), while others would say that patience and hard work (sipag at tiyaga) are the most important things to have to become a successful OFW.
There’s really no right or wrong answer to this question, and all the things mentioned are important to be successful in ANY kind of job or profession.
But to become an OFW, and to succeed in working abroad, you need to be prepared and willing to make sacrifices. That said, consider answering the following questions before you decide to work abroad:
1. Are you emotionally prepared?
If there’s one thing that every OFW experiences while living abroad, that’s homesickness. This is one of the many sacrifices you need to make when you start living on your own abroad. Although technology has made it easier for people to communicate these days, there’s just no substitute for the experience of being with your family and loved ones. Again, this is one of the sacrifices we need to consider before we decide to become a full-fledged OFW.
2. Is your family prepared with your decision?
Many people think that becoming an OFW is their own call to make. Wrong. No matter how ready you are to live independently, you can’t just disregard the people you will leave behind. This includes their thoughts and opinions about your decision for working abroad. Of course, this is not to say that they will decide for you, but you need to at least let them share their thoughts and feelings about your decision. This is the healthy way to go about such kinds of decisions in your life. Listen and weigh in the good and the bad so that you won’t regret later on in life.
3. Are you ready to face the stress of living alone and being rejected?
Being an OFW means enduring many things on your own. Not everything in life will go smoothly or as planned. And when you hit a wall such as being rejected or terminated, can you handle the stress and be able to get back up? These are important things you need to understand about yourself because your first (sometimes, only) support system will be your self. And that’s a hard fact of life OFWs should be able to accept.
4. Are you physically prepared?
You will be leaving your life in the Philippines to work abroad. That means you need to be able to live up to the role you will be having – whether it be as a domestic helper, a nurse, an engineer, a factory worker, or a school teacher. That said, you need to be physically fit. This is the very reason why all aspiring OFWs undergo a medical examination. By knowing their health status, they will know if they are suited for the kind of job they will have abroad among other things.
5. Are you financially prepared?
There will always be financial considerations for becoming an OFW. That’s just a fact of life we all need to accept and prepare for. And part of the preparation you need to have is to gather the necessary funds and resources to have your requirements and begin your application for work abroad.
6. Do you have all the requirements that you need?
Depending on the kind of work you will be applying for, you may need to prepare several documents. To be sure, look for job openings from licensed agencies or through the POEA online job board where you can request for a complete list of requirements you need to have for your job application abroad.
7. What’s your plan?
Even if you have all the resources and are fit for working abroad, without a plan, you will meet your OFW experience with little to no success. Consider the career track you wish to take. Do you plan to settle somewhere else or go back to the Philippines after a period of time? What are the other things you need to consider to achieve your goals? Further training or education? An investment or a retirement plan? The answer will be up to you, but you need to think about these things as early as possible so you won’t find yourself floating aimlessly as you live your life overseas.
8. Have you sought the right agency to help you apply for work abroad?
Part of your preparation for work abroad is finding a reliable agency or company that will help you process your application for work abroad. Never take shortcuts or the easy (illegal) way to becoming an OFW as this will lead you to more disappointments and for some, even trouble. It’s better to trust and follow the (legal) process since your safety and welfare will be at stake.
9. Have you decided on the job you want to have abroad?
Being an OFW is not a job title. You still need to decide on what particular job you wish to have and where you want to do this kind of job. The good news, though, is that there are plenty of jobs for Filipinos abroad. You just have to pick the ones that match your skill sets and yes, your goals in life.
10. Are you mentally prepared?
We cannot stress enough the fact that working abroad will require not only physical, emotional, but also mental endurance. Stress at work will always be there but put this with other factors such as homesickness, fatigue, and (family) pressure, and some people experience a mental breakdown. Yes, some people indeed lose their minds when they work abroad and others, worse even, commit suicide. This is not to scare you, but to give you an idea of how important mental toughness is for OFWs. And if you have an OFW in the family, consider their sacrifices and efforts from working abroad. If you can help it, do not put more pressure on them as they already have a lot on their plate without you knowing it.
11. Have you researched the country you wish to work in?
This is one of the exciting things about being an OFW: experiencing life abroad. As part of your preparations, you need to research about the culture, environment, and the people you will encounter in the country you wish to work in. By doing this important step, you lessen the stress and pressure of adjusting to your new life once you actually live abroad. Also, by doing some research and learning new skills such as the language of the people you will get to work with, you can easily adapt to the changes you will experience once you start working abroad. And this will help you better take care of your mental health.
12. If you have a family, are you prepared to fight temptations when living alone?
Do give this question more thought because it’s not new to learn about OFW families ending up broken because the OFW parent made a wrong decision while working abroad at the expense of his/her own family. This is why goal-setting and values are extremely important for those who wish to work abroad. Money can change people and so do new experiences, remember that.
13. In case of emergency, do you know whom to contact or approach when living overseas?
Of course, you’re not supposed to know everything before you get to live abroad. The important thing here is that you know what to do when difficult situations happen, as they will happen. You should be able to protect yourself and to do this, you need to know the people or places you can turn to when things get rough. There’s the Philippine embassy and then the Filipino community as well as local organizations that offer various kinds of support. Just be sure to know where you can find them and how to find them. Use your resources. The internet and social media can help you a lot.
14. Are you ready to meet and work with other foreign nationals abroad?
You might think that you’re an easy person to get along with until you meet other nationalities as your colleagues or employer. Consider other factors such as culture, upbringing, as well as the language. By knowing more about these things, you can better deal with other nationalities once you start working abroad.
15. Are you ready and willing to do what it takes to achieve your goals for working abroad?
In the end, it all boils down to your goals in life. This is something that no one can decide for you. You decide how you want to live your life. Use your opportunity to work abroad to reach your goals not only for yourself but also for your family.
These are just some of the things to consider before you decide on working abroad. That said, becoming an OFW is not an easy decision to make. You really need to dig deep into your values and goals as a person and work hard to realize your goals one at a time. However, becoming an OFW is also one of the most fulfilling experiences anyone can have. Aside from getting to learn more about other people, other cultures, and their ways of life, you also get to learn more about yourself. So do give it a lot of thought. Although it’s not yet advisable to travel overseas during these times, you can prepare yourself and consider all the tips mentioned above to decide whether becoming an OFW is the right decision for you.
That’s it! As a final note, always consider the good things as well as the bad ones. By doing so, you get to weigh your options and ultimately, make better decisions that you won’t regret and be proud of. Also, it’s a good idea to reach out to other OFWs and learn from their experiences. This is how you best learn in life.
There’s no better way to get better than from learning from other people’s mistakes and experiences. Always be positive and take each opportunity with the right intentions and motivations, and you’ll be fine. You can do it! Just believe in yourself, have faith in God, and stick to your goals.
Have you thought about becoming an OFW when it’s safe to travel for work once again? What other realizations did you come across with as you thought about this path in your life? Are there any other things you wish to add to the list? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment in the section below!