Different But Equal

by Ishita Kohli, SFS ’13

When the economy is in the toilet there is only one skill you truly need to survive: flexibility. You can choose between flexibility concerning the job or location and I chose the latter. All of my job experience, across sectors and companies have been across the globe: Confectionary market research and Credit Card processes in Dubai, Trading floor in Singapore and Capital Markets in Hong Kong. When making this decision, like any other life choice, some things are good, some bad and some things won’t change.

A lot is said about the career advantages of picking up and moving out of the United States for an internship or full-time employment but you have several personal advantages as well. You get to experience a new life, leave your comfort zone and potentially learn a language. You get to engage in expatriate life, which includes making friends from all different parts of the world, and the only thing you might have in common is that you are living abroad.

However, you have to be very prepared to deal with what you are leaving behind. Most importantly the comfort zone of your family, friends and those small things you take for granted like which side of the road you drive on and the menu at every McDonald’s won’t be the same. At first these things seem trivial but as you begin to settle in the small things get to you more until you replace them with new traditions and norms.

And between the two extremes some things never change. My mother still yells at me because I forgot to call that week, I still fulfill my online shopping addiction even if shipping is a little bit higher and no matter where you are in the world, the guy at Starbucks will always spell your name wrong. The point is that when you are choosing these internships and jobs straight out of college the risk factors are far fewer, so why not try something a little different. I did.