Moving overseas is a very stressful and difficult task that requires a large reserve of money and an excellent list of contacts. Not everyone has the guts to do this. It requires nerves of steel, a strong stomach for rejection and a willingness to do whatever it takes to survive away from home.
People who have international working experience on their cv ‘s have an advantage over other candidates applying for jobs. Fortunately for South African filmmakers there are plenty of foreign productions being filmed on our very own soil, which means you would in a sense be getting international experience simply by working on these projects.
However, I have to say that nothing beats working overseas.
When I left South Africa in 2011 to work abroad I prepared myself for the inevitable challenges that come with leaving home and becoming an expat. Overcoming language and cultural barriers stretches you as a person as you have to find ways to adapt. I moved around quite a lot, initially living in Bangkok, then Saigon, then the USA and finally moving to Europe. Each time I was forced to adapt to a different culture. In essence you are constantly operating outside of your comfort zone. This is good in one sense as it forces you to push yourself harder to achieve your goals, but it can also tire you out and create a great deal of stress. Here are a few little tips to prepare you for moving overseas:
- Have a plan and make sure you have enough money to live on for 6 months in case you don’t find work.
- Start saving at least 6 – 8 months before you leave home and get used to living frugally.
- If possible, learn to speak the basic language of the country you are moving to as this will alleviate a great deal of stress.
- Arrange accommodation in your chosen country BEFORE you leave home.
- Prepare yourself for challenges and hardship because it isn’t easy being an expat.
- Get your cv prepared and make sure it is set out according to international standards.
Once you arrive in your country of choice network as much as possible. The more people you meet, the more opportunities you will be exposed to.
Read my other blog: Working abroad benefits your career
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About the writer:
Amour Setter is an award-winning filmmaker and international producer who operates a film production company in Europe. She is also the Education Director of Auteur Film School in South Africa.