One of the ways that has allowed me to live abroad for 4 years is working in hospitality.
It’s not always easy to find work when you aren’t a native speaker, especially if you can’t speak the language when you first arrive. Hospitality is one industry that allows foreigners a chance to work and learn the language on the job.
Today I want to take the time to talk about the advantages or working in the hospitality industry, and how you can find a job while living abroad.
Advantages of The Hospitality Industry
1. Learn the language
The number one advantage of working in the hospitality industry is learning the language. In my personal opinion, there is no better way to immerse yourself in the culture than talking with the locals in their native language.
You will have to learn how to count in order to handle money as well as become familiar with the local currency. If you know the basic grammatical structures already, you will find that your level will rise very quickly because you’re using everyday vocabulary when talking with the customers and your colleagues.
I found that my level of french improved dramatically as soon as I started working, compared to just sitting in a classroom and learning about things that you wouldn’t normally use in everyday life.
2. Meet the locals
One of the best ways to learn about the country is to talk to the locals. They not only have great recommendations about things to do around the city but also know all the hidden gems that you wouldn’t normally discover as a tourist without any local knowledge.
One of the best beaches I have ever been to was recommended to me by one of the customers while working in Nice, France. It was only located 2km further than the main tourist beach that was full of thousands of people every day during summer, and there was only a handful of locals, on what felt like a private beach.
While working at a cafe, bar or restaurant you will constantly be having conversations with locals who can give you great recommendations of things to do.
3. Make friends
It is difficult at times to make friends with locals when you are living abroad. If you are spending your time at the language school with other foreigners, the tendency is to spend your time hanging out with them.
This is a massive temptation that must be avoided.
It is super easy to fall into the trap of talking English with everyone because you’re comfortable doing it.
Working in the hospitality industry will naturally allow you to make friends with your colleagues and the regular customers that come in. It gives you a great opportunity to go out with these people and see how they like to celebrate and have fun in their country.
4. Meet other travellers
I know that I have been stressing the point about how great it is meeting locals and spending your time with them.
However, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love meeting other travellers and spending time with them. They can be lots of fun and give you some great recommendations on things to do and see in certain countries and cities that you may have been thinking of going to.
Furthermore, you’re able to learn about where they’re from and their culture, which might give you some ideas about where you would like to travel to next. They might even be able to host you for a while when you go and visit their country!
The hospitality industry gives you the chance to meet travellers very easily and is a great way to make friends from all over the world.
5. Earn Money
Many people think they need to save thousands of dollars in order to be able to afford to live abroad.
This isn’t the case at all, especially if you are working.
It’s true that working in hospitality normally doesn’t pay you a lot of money, and in most cases, you will get paid minimum wage, however, with minimum wage, you will be able to afford to rent an apartment and live comfortably enough to survive and save some money for travelling.
While living in France, I was only working part time because I was studying, earning minimum wage, and I was still able to support myself and save enough money to take short trips to Europe every couple of months.
How to Find A Job
1. Get some experience before you go away
The reason it took me a little while to find work when I first moved to France was because I had never had a job before, let alone any experience in the hospitality industry. However, as soon as I worked in the industry for a little while, I never had any problems finding work again.
It’s going to be easier for you to get some experience before moving abroad, even if it is only part-time than trying to find work overseas without any experience.
Working part time on top of your regular job before you go away might be a great way to save some extra money as well.
2. Write a CV and cover letter in a foreign language
This isn’t as hard as it sounds.
You have a few options here:
-Hire someone to translate your CV for you through websites such as Upwork
-Translate it yourself and get it corrected by your teacher (if you are taking language classes)
-Get it corrected by someone when you arrive, either a language teacher or local that is willing to help you.
Don’t stress about this!
I suggest waiting until you arrive and asking for help from one of the locals or your language teacher. Often at language schools, they will run a class on how to write a CV and it will be corrected by the teacher.
3. Research some places before you leave
It’s always a good idea to do some research on a few places you would potentially like to work at before you leave. This will give you an idea of what is available before you arrive and take away a bit of stress you may be feeling.
Try and look for English, Irish, Australian and American pubs because they like hiring English speakers. Even if you don’t get a job with any of these pubs, they can often give you some good recommendations on where else to apply.
Note: Pubs are also a good place to look for accommodation. Because there is a high turnover of staff in English speaking pubs abroad (due to visa restrictions), they often have great knowledge of apartments that are available in the area.
4. Don’t stress and keep looking!
You may have to wait a little while before you can find a job, but don’t stress, finding a job is often being in the right place at the right time.
Like I said earlier, there is a high turnover of staff, which means that sometimes you just have to wait for the right opportunity. Every couple of weeks you should return to the places that you want to work at and ask if they are looking for anyone again.
Remember not to stress too much when it comes to finding a job! Enjoy the time you’re having overseas, hand out some resumes, have a smile on your face and you’ll be fine.
I would love to hear from you in the comments below if you’ve found a job in the hospitality industry while living abroad and the process that you used.
Have you worked in the hospitality industry abroad? Where about’s?