Why should you become an OFW? How better is being an OFW than working in the Philippines? In our previous post waaaaay back (Cool Tip #012: To go abroad, or not to go abroad?—click here to go to the tip), we touched on things you can think about to help you decide if the OFW life is for you. For this and the next cool tip, we will be going deeper into the pros and cons of being an OFW. Hopefully, this should help you OFW aspirants out there to make more informed decisions about whether or not to proceed with the OFW life.
Let’s start by talking about the advantages of being an OFW. What benefits can you get from being an OFW? We believe here are some of them:
- Having a job. One of the most obvious advantages is that, if you do become an OFW, then you will have a job. Instead of loitering around the house, you actually get to spend your time on something as productive, meaningful and as useful as working. This is particularly good in cases when you are having a really difficult time to land a job locally. Of course, as a consequence of having a job abroad, another advantage is that you…
- Earn high income. Most Filipinos choose to become OFWs because they know they’ll be paid higher compared to what they will receive or are receiving as a worker in the Philippines. And this is indeed often the case, especially when you take the foreign exchange rate into consideration. Having more earnings = more money for your family = better life for you and your loved ones. Of course, as you search for jobs abroad, we do encourage you to check on the standard of living in the countries you are eyeing to work in. Most of your “high” income may actually go into making sure you survive each day abroad as opposed to being sent out for your loved ones back home. However, the bottom line is the same: working abroad gives you a source of income, which is definitely a good thing.
- Exposure to lots of new things. Working abroad will certainly introduce you to new cultures, new places, new people, and new ways of life. Not only that, you also get to live with all of these new things on a daily basis! This kind of exposure will expand your perspectives on the different aspects of life and society, facilitate learning new stuff (e.g. language, work ethic, communication skills), and give you the feel of what’s it like to work in a diverse, international environment. Another big plus is that you get to visit and tour around a different country (or countries), which should be super fun!
- Gain international experience. Something you can permanently hold on to even after you finish working as an OFW is the experience you get from doing so. This kind of experience will be extremely helpful in future job applications, either locally or internationally. Not everyone can get international experience, which gives you an edge over other applicants, and such an experience is a big plus for employers since it says so much positive things about you as a worker. One other related thing you can get from working as an OFW is that you get to establish and grow your very own international network, which can also be of some use in the future (e.g. when you need references, or even when getting a new job). Overall, working abroad makes you more marketable as a job applicant.
- Opportunity to start over. One can also think of working abroad as a chance to start over in your career or life. For instance, if you believe the career path you are currently on is not the right one for you, you can always choose a new one by working as an OFW. Also, working abroad can give you time to reset yourself, give you the opportunity to think more about your life and where it’s headed. It’s also possible that being an OFW will be the first step for you and your loved ones to start a new life abroad in the future. Who knows?
- Acquire important life skills. Being an OFW will help improve your independence. It will teach you numerous skills that you may only be able to learn precisely because of this independence: cooking, doing the laundry, budgeting, planning your days, communicating with others, being resourceful, handling challenges, making the hard decisions… basically doing sufficiently well to go through each and every day of your life abroad. In short, being an OFW will help you grow better as a person, inside and out.
- Represent the Philippines. Finally, becoming an OFW gives you the wonderful opportunity of representing your country, the Philippines, abroad. You get to show what Filipinos are capable of to the world. And by interacting with others abroad, you also get to share our values, culture, and traditions with them. By being ambassadors of the Philippines, you get to make a positive impact on the impressions of foreigners on our country and countrymen, increase the chances of other Filipinos to become OFWs, entice others to come and visit the Philippines, and establish and/or strengthen good relationships between our country and others.
In our next cool tip, we will be talking about the other side of the coin: what are the disadvantages of being an OFW? This should give you a good idea of what being an OFW entails and help reinforce your decisions as to whether or not you should go down the OFW track. Stay tuned for that, mga Ka-Tsong! See you in our next cool tip!