Top tips for making working abroad a success

The team from the PGAs of Europe, an Association of 36 National PGAs, provide eight top tips to any golf pros thinking about working abroad.

Taking the plunge and working outside of your native country can be a nerve-wracking experience, but with the right planning and preparation it could end up being the best move of your life. Here are some top tips on what to think about before taking the plunge and then what to do when you are on the ground.

1. Put yourself out there If you are looking for a position then put yourself out there – many successful candidates for jobs in other countries have taken the plunge and gone out to the country first to either look for positions, connect and network with people, or perhaps even for a face-to-face interview rather than over Skype or the telephone. Consider taking an extended holiday and renting an apartment to get a real taste of life there.

2. Research, research, research
Research the country, its history, culture and traditions. You might be going somewhere quite similar to where you currently live, but it is almost a certainty that they will do things differently. Do your best to learn about these and adapt yourself to their country.

3. Understand the golf market Just like everyday culture, the golf market has its intricacies and nuances in every country. We can see this at the PGAs of Europe quite easily on a day-to-day basis as each and every one of our 37 Member PGAs operates in their own unique way. Locate some local golfing ‘experts’, journalists, PGAs, their PGA Professionals and the amateur Federation and simply send them an email or ask to meet to discuss how golf works in that country.

4. Get your documents in order Speak to your country’s foreign/international office and your national embassy in the destination country to make sure you are doing all the right things. It’s great if your new employer is going to help sort a lot of it out, but you need to ensure you understand everything that is relevant to you. For example, make sure you understand the country’s employment regulations for international workers, what visa requirements there might be, travel documentation required, insurance and any associated costs.

5. Find a mentor
PGA of Germany Professional, Craig West, moved from South Africa to Germany and suggests having someone with you, at least at first, who can help you translate if required and understands what you need to do to get off on the right foot. They can also be the link between you and other local people, fellow staff members and in the local golfing industry.

6. Learn the language
The local language is one of the most important tools you can have when working in a different country. It makes every day-to-day task easier and can allow you to understand and operate more effectively. It also means locals will not have to adjust themselves to you as much which is great for building relationships with all walks of life. Even a few words here and there to begin with can be very beneficial and make all the difference, as it is clear that you are making the effort.

7. Don’t expect it to be easy
Working in a different country can potentially be the most difficult thing you ever do in your career – not only do you have to do the job effectively, but you also have to adapt yourself into a different environment at the same time. Well thought-out preparation and commitment will provide the opportunity for you to be able to do your best in your new position.

8. Go with It
Lastly, go with the flow and enjoy it! Your day-to-day working experience and the enjoyment and benefits you get from working abroad is directly related to how you approach it, so do your best to be outgoing, meet new people, try new foods and experience new cultural aspects to ingratiate yourself into the local life.