Working internationally in UX Design is a dream for many professionals in the field, with some even considering a career goal to relocate to another country. Others aspire to work remotely with foreign clients.
It sounds amazing, right? However, it requires preparation and careful steps to help us achieve this goal.
In this article, we'll share some tips for those who want to work internationally in UX Design but don't know where to start. We'll guide you on the path, so join us and let's dive in!
Remove the "international" barrier
It's common to hear people expressing their desire to work internationally or expand globally.
The idea of working abroad is often seen as a life transformation, which may hold some truth, but it can also generate fear.
This fear stems from our own mindset. We tend to believe that living, working, and thriving outside our home country is overly complex, almost impossible, and only achievable by a select few.
However, this is far from the truth. Living abroad does require planning, and there can be bureaucratic hurdles and complicated processes at times. But this movement is not exclusive to a privileged few.
When we break free from these limiting beliefs, we realize that the world is vast enough for everyone, and we have the freedom to go wherever we desire, with proper planning and discipline.
Here is what Felipe says about this:
I've come to realize that this is a big mistake, not just for every latino I've met but for myself included. We may never have the chance to live on Mars, but there's only one planet Earth.
Overcome the fear of working abroad
The field of UX Design has experienced substantial growth, offering abundant opportunities to work in different countries.
If you have UX Design experience in your home country and are contemplating working abroad, consider the following benefits:
- Salary Conversion: Working in another country can lead to a higher salary when considering currency conversion. This can be a significant advantage depending on your country of origin.
- Company Maturity: Working in more mature companies abroad can provide valuable exposure and opportunities to enhance your skills and professional development.
- Networking: Working in a different country allows you to expand your professional network, connecting with industry experts and professionals from diverse backgrounds.
- Work Culture: Embracing a new work culture can broaden your perspective and introduce you to different approaches and methodologies in UX Design.
Rest assured that managers will recognize and compensate you based on your level of experience and professional maturity.
Maturity of the Companies
Another aspect worth considering is the maturity of companies. When exploring opportunities abroad, you may find organizations that offer a reduced workload, allowing for more rest and flexible project deliveries.
This can be particularly challenging to find in your home country (again, depending on where you're from), where companies may have a different work culture and stricter deadlines.
Working internationally in UX design may open possibilities for a healthier work-life balance and a more relaxed professional environment.
Networking is also important because when you work abroad, you can meet people from different cultures and make great connections that will help you in the future.
Felipe talks about the behavior of the companies:
"We understand the challenges we face in Brazil, for instance. I've worked in agencies where even a brief moment away from your desk would earn you disapproving looks. In contrast, I've heard stories from friends in Holland who would go for a walk in the afternoon while still managing to work calmly and efficiently. As long as their deadlines are met, they can manage their own time." – Felipe Melo.
Felipe says that the culture of companies outside Brazil is different, but that doesn't mean employees lose productivity or stop delivering their projects. According to him, these organizations know how to explore strategies that positively impact their employees' performance.
Set up a plan
When considering a move abroad, planning is crucial. Conduct thorough research, weighing the pros and cons. A comprehensive transition plan should include:
- Familiarizing yourself with the country;
- Updating your portfolio and resume;
- Achieving fluency in English;
- Acquiring basic knowledge of the local language;
- Securing the necessary visa.
Additionally, your plan should account for your financial needs, ensuring you have savings to sustain yourself in the new country.
It's important for the hiring company to clarify if they provide any financial support, considering your living arrangements, to prevent unexpected situations.
Remember that working internationally in UX Design differs from working in your home country.
Each country has its own work culture, and employees may have different customs that should be respected.
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Adapt/build your Portfolio
Organizing your portfolio for companies abroad is incredibly important. If you're unsure which specific country you're targeting just yet, here's a tip: stick to English!
Take the time to adjust your existing projects and present them in English. Your portfolio is like your trusty business card that introduces you to recruiters from all around the globe.
Guess what? Many successful students have used projects from the MID (Mastering Interface Design) program to create excellent portfolios.
Your first international job might not be exactly what you envisioned, but stay flexible and open-minded. Who knows? It could be the stepping stone to something even greater!
Here's a pro tip: Master the art of self-marketing by imagining yourself as an irresistible product that recruiters just can't resist. Share your unique story and create a sense of urgency in them to hire you.
Just remember, this is all part of a process. Keep it friendly, informative, and enjoy the journey to success!
Study about the country you want to go to
If you plan to work in UX design in a foreign country, it's important to familiarize yourself with the country and its culture before you go. People who have never left their home country may have a narrow view of life elsewhere.
Try reading articles and watching videos about the country to get a better idea.
If you do decide to move abroad, there are some basic things you should know about the country, such as:
- Quality of life
Though the points may seem simple in theory, they can prove challenging in practice as we encounter a different reality from what we're accustomed to.
So, what can you do? Study the country, understand its economy, and research the cost of living. Gathering comprehensive knowledge about your destination is vital. This doesn't imply a decision against migration but rather an opportunity to organize your finances and ideas based on the country's workings.
Understanding the economy will help you stay informed about current developments, such as taxes and our quality of life.
Ask yourself: Will the income I receive be sufficient to support myself or my family?
Remember, regardless of currency differences, you'll purchase goods and services using the local currency. Hence, it's important to familiarize yourself with the country where you'll be working in the future.
Find out more about the Mastering Interface Design Program
Check the required visa
When planning to work abroad, it's crucial to consider the type of visa that suits your situation. A work visa is typically required if you intend to stay in a country for an extended period.
However, if you aim to work remotely and have the freedom to travel, it's important to explore which visa option would be more suitable for your needs.
Engaging in visa consulting can provide valuable guidance and increase the likelihood of obtaining the necessary visa for your intended work in the country. Although it may involve some costs, consulting services significantly reduce the chances of making errors throughout the process.
For those embracing the digital nomad lifestyle, it's essential to research the prerequisites for obtaining a visa that allows flexibility and mobility across different countries. Relying solely on a single country's visa can limit your options and opportunities.
It's important to note that not all companies may be open to the idea of remote work mobility. Each organization has its own policies in this regard.
If you're planning to venture to another continent with the intention of working from various locations, it's advisable to begin researching the specific visa requirements for such flexibility.
Felipe explains more about the visas:
There are countries in Europe and Asia that offer business visas. However, digital nomad visas are now available, and some are better than others. If you already know that you want to pursue this lifestyle, it's important to verify which visa is viable.
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International remote work
Working remotely allows individuals to work internationally while remaining in their home country. This setup is highly appealing to many people, and there are several reasons why individuals choose to stay in their country and work for foreign clients.
Some of these reasons include:
- Familiarity and comfort: Staying in one's home country provides a sense of familiarity and comfort. People may prefer to work from a place they know well, surrounded by their support system and familiar surroundings;
- Cost of living: In some cases, the cost of living in one's home country may be lower compared to the countries where the clients are based. This can result in financial advantages, allowing individuals to maintain a comfortable lifestyle while working with foreign clients;
- Less bureaucracy: Staying in your home country simplifies legal and administrative matters. Dealing with taxes, regulations, and other bureaucratic processes can be more straightforward when working within the familiar framework of your home country;
- Social life: your life will not change, so you won't have to stay away from your friends and the things you like to do.
Felipe talks about international remote work:
When working remotely, whether you intend to or not, you become a sort of entrepreneur and are responsible for your own career. You must leave your comfort zone and the traditional employment world. If you go down this path, you potentially have the opportunity to earn a good salary, but you must know how to save money and have some financial education. If someone wants to work internationally, I second that, as sometimes the salary can triple just by working for a company abroad.
Identify your needs
Before you decide to migrate, it is necessary to know your needs. Your values will define your path and whether that path will be good for you.
So if you dream of working abroad but can't stay away from your family for long, it is better to reconsider this decision.
Adapting to a new environment is a challenge that can only truly be understood once experienced firsthand. Often, the need for adaptability arises when we find ourselves in a different country and face the reality of the situation.
It's important to recognize that along the journey, you may encounter moments of doubt or realize the significance of staying close to your loved ones. However, the true extent of these factors can only be understood if you take the leap and make this choice a reality.
Choose what is best for you
Choose what makes the most sense for you and what fits your profile. We highly recommend remote work because you won't have to stay away from the people you love and will feel what it is like to work for a foreign company.
There are many ways to work internationally; you just need to choose the way that will best fit your profile.
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Bonus Tip: Get to know the local language
Working in the international market and considering a relocation to countries like the Netherlands, Italy, or Spain presents an exciting opportunity.
While strong English language skills are essential, knowing a little bit of the local language can make a significant difference in your overall experience.
When you have some knowledge of the local language, be it Dutch, Italian, or Spanish, it becomes much easier to adapt and integrate socially. Understanding the local language allows you to navigate everyday situations more confidently, such as ordering food, interacting with locals, or even dealing with administrative tasks.
Moreover, speaking the local language showcases your genuine interest and respect for the culture and people of your chosen destination. It opens doors to deeper connections, enables you to participate in local events and activities, and fosters a sense of belonging within the community.
While fluency might not be an immediate goal, learning a few key phrases and practicing basic conversations can go a long way. Online language courses, language exchange programs, and local language meetups can provide valuable resources and opportunities to improve your language skills.
So, as you embark on your career change and potential relocation, consider the benefits of not only mastering English but also acquainting yourself with the local language. It's a valuable asset that will contribute to your success, integration, and enjoyment of your new international adventure.
So start studying the language as soon as possible. Remember that the first step is communication.
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What difficulties will I face?
The initial hurdle often lies within our own minds. We may have the misconception that pursuing a career in UX Design in another country will be more difficult than staying where we are comfortable.
Worries about how others perceive us can weigh heavily on our thoughts. Language can be seen as a barrier. Especially if you're not a native English speaker.
But as Felipe rightly points out, our language skills are often better than we think; we tend to worry too much about accents.
It's important to ground ourselves in the reality of our current situation and remain calm. Overcoming these challenges takes time, and there is no magical solution.
Culturally, each country has its unique way of working and communicating. It's crucial to adapt and respect the work practices and customs of both the company and the people.
The greatest challenge is not giving up on your dreams: focus and stick to your plan. Keep learning and evolving every day. This will help build confidence for the future.
You have to respect yourself. If you are speaking a second language, it is already an achievement. Now on the cultural side, each country has different cultural aspects.
Ultimately, don't sell yourself short! Don't give up. We are right here for you.