With the UK economy struggling to recover from one of the worst recessions for decades, and at a time when most of us have not had a pay rise for years, it’s hardly surprising that more of us are thinking about going overseas to work. Salaries and benefits packages can vary dramatically from one country to the next, and depending on your profession you could double or even triple your income by heading overseas.
The average salary here in the UK is just over £27k, which is far less than the average American’s wage of almost £34k. Working in America is an attractive proposition for many, but the red tape associated with getting a work visa makes it impossible just to pitch up and start working. If you are attracted to the USA with the promise of high salaries, the easiest way in is to start off by working for a American company here in the UK, and take every opportunity for a transfer to the other side of the Atlantic.
It’s one of the smallest countries in Europe, but people who work in Luxembourg earn more per capital than any other Europeans. The average wage is £33k, and wages in Luxembourg are higher because the economy is focused on the high-tech industries, banking and finance. The good news is that as Luxembourg is part of the European Union, there is nothing stopping you heading over the English Channel and seeking work there, although speaking French would definitely help.
The Swiss economy is another one which is based around technology and financial services, and the standards of living in Switzerland are among the highest in the world. The average wage is just over £31k, and besides the salary benefits, working in Switzerland will give you the opportunity to experience some of the best scenery in the world. Switzerland is not part of the EU, so working there is not quite as straightforward as in other parts of Europe.
If you’re looking for the sunshine, Australia is an eternally attractive option. The average salary is only slightly more than in the UK, but the climate more than compensates. Criteria for emigrating to Australia are strict, but if you have experience in one of the approved occupations you could be starting a new career down under within months.
If you’ve always had an adventurous streak, or have the opportunity to study abroad as part of your degree, you’ve probably already investigated the possibilities of going out of the UK to study. With the introduction of tuition fees for many courses, studying out of Europe isn’t the expensive option as it used to be. Students around the world were asked their opinions on the best cities to study, and the following places came out on top.
Top of the pile was Paris, which boasts a host of world-known Universities such as the Sorbonne. There are more top class Universities in Paris than anywhere else in the world, and with an emphasis on small class sizes and access to experts in the field, it’s easy to see why an increasing number of UK students are packing their bags and heading across the Channel. They are not alone; 17% of Parisian students are not French, giving a very cosmopolitan and vibrant flavour to Uni life. The only drawback is that you will need to speak French fluently for most of the degree courses on offer.
The obvious benefit of studying in Boston is that there is no language barrier, and British students slot into the American way of life well. Harvard, Northeastern Uni and MIT all have their homes in Boston and are among the most prestigious Universities in the world. Fees are much higher than Europe at around $50k per year, but there are attractive scholarships on offer for students from the UK although competition for the few available places each year is intense. 1 in 5 students at Boston Universities also come from outwith the United States.
Although Canberra is the capital, the vast majority of the best Universities in Australia are in the Melbourne area. A third of the students studying in Melbourne are international students, and although fees can be higher than in the UK, cost of living is considerably less than in Boston, London or Paris. Add in the laid back Aussie lifestyle and the opportunity to explore some of the stunning countryside, then it’s easy to see why studying in Australia is so attractive.
A generation ago, most of us studied in our home town, or at another university or college in a neighboring city. All that is changing rapidly, and Universities are encouraging international students not only to broaden the experience and appeal of their courses, but also as a valuable revenue stream. Nowadays, there are as many as 4 million students worldwide studying in overseas. So where are all of these students going?
English Speaking Countries
The most attractive countries for international students are those which have English as a first language, namely the USA, UK, Canada and Australia. The quality of education in these countries is first rate, and there is also a great deal of movement between them as students search out the course which is best for them. The nation which sends most students to English speaking countries to be educated is India, closely followed by China and South Korea.
The countries in Europe which have the highest percentage of international students are Austria and Switzerland. Education standards are high, and fees are comparable or even less than what students would be expected to pay in the UK. Germany is another huge attraction for overseas students and was ranked as one of the cheapest places to be a student in the world as living costs such as rent are relatively low, there is a good student community and students qualify for many discounts in leisure or public transport.
European Common Market legislation means that students from the UK are treated the same way as native born students if they choose to study anywhere in the European Union. With top Universities such as Oxford or Cambridge charging up to £9,000 for each year of a three year degree, the fees at European Universities can be as low as £1,500 per year. If the thought of studying in Holland doesn’t appeal, Irish Universities charge around half of what the top UK Universities charge, but competition for places can be intense and studying in Dublin is not a budget option.
Nearly all of us at one time or the other have grumbled about the British weather, our boss or the state of the economy and thought about packing it all in and moving somewhere warmer, and with a slower pace of life. Very few of us actually take the plunge and move abroad, but those who do often find it is the best thing they have ever done.
Although it seems trivial, the UK weather can have a severe effect on our general health and wellbeing. Just think about how good you feel on a warm June day when the sun is shining and everyone is happy, and imagine feeling that way on a permanent basis. Most people leaving the UK do so to go to warmer destinations in the south of Europe, or to places like Australia or Florida which have temperate climates all year round.
When you look at the global salary market overall, the UK doesn’t perform badly. But salaries in the UK have been static for several years as we struggle our way out of the recession, and there are better salaries on offer in countries such as Australia, the United States or Switzerland. Certain professions are in extremely high demand, and an increasing number of pilots, air traffic controllers or medical professionals are heading out to the Gulf States, where salaries are considerably higher than in the UK, and taxation is much lower too.
Many people with young families make the move because they feel the UK is no longer somewhere that they want to raise their children. The outdoor lifestyle offered by countries like New Zealand or Australia is hugely attractive, and many parents want their children to have opportunities which they never had growing up. Moving overseas gives children and parents alike the chance to experience a whole new way of living, and to perhaps learn a new language also.