You are probably familiar with the benefits of studying abroad as an architecture student, but what are the advantages of work experiences abroad?
There are quite a few significant and irreplaceable benefits of going abroad for work.
It could be a career-enriching move for those who like to challenge themselves, work on a variety of novel projects, build an international client base, and experiment with the endless buffet of designs that firms around the world are seeking to conceptualize.
An architect who opts to work abroad also becomes familiar with many different standards, styles, obstacles, design philosophies, and methods than an architect who works domestically.
Most importantly, the larger your area for employment means the more opportunities you can explore. The more opportunities you explore, the better an architect you stand to become.
By working abroad, you:
1. Open Horizons for New Styles
When you find and define your niche, you might realize that certain employment opportunities abroad share more commonalities with your specific values than those you find nearby.
Suppose the type of architecture you are most passionate about lies in Japan. In that case, the career satisfaction you are likely to receive by designing buildings that speak to you more profoundly than others is invaluable.
After all, you probably did not choose to become an architect so you could do the same types of work forever.
You probably pursued a career in architecture because you value innovation and novelty – exposing yourself to the stylistic differences found across the globe is one of the best ways to chase these values.
2. Gain Experience with Different Design Software
While AutoCAD (source) and Revit (source) appear to be the industry standard in the United States, proficiency in these programs might not apply to different parts of the world where MicroStation (source) is the norm.
Adapting to the requirements of different international firms future-proof you as an architect by improving your ability to quickly jump ships and learn new software in a constantly changing digital world.
Switching from one software to another for you would also become more manageable as it will take a shorter time to get up to speed.
3. Become Well-Versed in Diverse Regional Building Codes
While navigating building codes is an incredibly engaging aspect of architecture, you can certainly entertain yourself while becoming better at navigating them by exploring how they differ based on where you build.
Working abroad is the perfect opportunity to gain such valuable experience.
Various factors come into play in establishing the variances, such as climate, elevation, ecosystems, government, and societal demands, etcetera.
Great architects do not confine themselves to a single, great design; the diversity of their proficiencies defines them. When you work abroad, you learn to consider factors that go into structures that might not even apply to where you currently live.
By navigating these building codes, you can acquire proficiencies in producing designs that can withstand blizzards, fires, earthquakes, humidity, to name a few. Thus, you open yourself up to potentially high-paying opportunities anywhere by proving your ability to navigate region-specific considerations.
4. Become Acquainted with Different National Architecture Goals
Depending on where you choose to work, that region might have a central theme to its architectural goals.
For example, an architect employed in Shanghai or Singapore will work heavily with urban infrastructure development. In contrast, an architect in a traditional Italian town is more likely to work with designs that preserve and/or rethink the area’s intrinsically historic style.
The differences between national goals vary vastly and may be difficult to summarize. But suffice it to say that working abroad will expose you to many different challenges and unique stylistic obstacles that you would be unlikely to encounter if you chose to stay in your hometown to work.
Not only does this type of experience benefit you directly by expanding your capabilities, but it also benefits your resume and portfolio should you seek a higher-paying position.
5. Serve International Communities Through Projects
One of the primary demands in impoverished nations is not only food but housing.
In working abroad, you have the opportunity to take part in the development of emerging nations whose people depend on permanent structures to base their lives and establish independence.
This gives your work a great deal of practical purpose in improving living conditions and building the future. You get to expand feelings of fulfillment further as you put your skills and creativity to work in creating the essential buildings needed to sustain the well-being of an expanding human population.
6. Follow the Demand for Your Type of Work
You might find that your architectural strengths are valued more in some countries than in others as both styles and needs of nations are highly susceptible to differences.
If, for example, you excel in creating highly efficient and greenhouse designs, you might find the most suitable work in a nation like the Netherlands, where innovative agricultural techniques are an economic staple.
If freedom permits you to relocate anywhere, choosing to work abroad where the demand for your skills is the highest will ultimately result in higher compensation and, in many cases, higher job satisfaction.
The diversity in architectural designs means you always have options for countries to work in as an architect.
7. Maximize Your Base of Clients
It stands to reason that the more you travel for work, the more connections you stand to make.
With each nation being a different market for your services, working abroad enables you to get your foot in different doors, so you do not confine your potential for employment and new job recommendations to any one area.
This advantage can be beneficial in times of recessions when international acquaintances can hook you up with far more opportunities than your domestic competition. It is one of the critical steps for architects in weathering an economic downturn.
While studying abroad in the past might have hindered growing your client base as every relocation forced you to start over, modern Internet networking enables you to keep in touch with your clients and consultants even after returning home or moving to a different country.
Thus, the opposite is true today; by working abroad, you stand to meet an amalgam of good-to-know people.
8. Command Higher Pay
Many emerging economies lack skilled architects and are therefore willing to pay more than the industry standard for your talents.
Working abroad is worth exploring as you would be able to get a job quicker and easier, and make more money. The addition of that experience to your resume can also bring you a higher pay rate when returning home.
While many architects venture abroad for the opportunity to earn more, there are drawbacks to working outside one’s home country – especially for architects.