Tips for First-Time OFWs Before Going Abroad

Is it your first time to go abroad as overseas Filipino worker (OFW)? If yes, congratulations and good luck! Being an OFW is both a wonderful and challenging prospect.

As first-time OFW, you might feel quite apprehensive about what you are about to do but we’re here to help you out. Here are some tips for you to remember:

Get Your Documents Ready

Before you fly to your destination, you have to make sure that all your papers are in order and readily accessible to you. Don’t forget to bring your tickets, passport and visa, Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), valid government-issued ID, employment contract, and other relevant documents.

Make it a habit to make duplicates of your documents and keep these safe. Just in case you lose the original, it will be easier to process a new one if you have duplicates on hand.

Research About Your Destination

It is very important that you acquaint yourself with the new country you are going to work and live in for the next years.

You don’t have to dig deeper into that country’s history but you have to at least know the rules and laws so you know what to do or avoid. This especially holds true if you are going to work in the Middle East where there are very strict laws about many things that most Filipinos are accustomed to.

Even if you disagree with these laws, obey them and keep yourself out of trouble.

Aside from abiding in these other countries’ laws, you should also respect their culture, practices, and traditions.

Don’t Accept Hand-Carried Packages

This is very tricky because Filipinos are fond of doing this but remember that it could get you in trouble if the person actually hid something not legal inside the package. Err in the side of caution, even if that meant the other person might get angry. You don’t want to be a ‘carrier’ and get entangled in a lengthy legal battle over something like this.

Live Within Your Means

Many OFWs end up going on shopping sprees and spending their money, even going deep in debt, because there are a lot of things they can now buy with their much bigger salaries (compared to what they earn in the Philippines). Many upgrade their lifestyle, not realizing that they are spending much more than they can afford.

Be Careful with Business Plans

A lot of OFWs wish to eventually quit their jobs abroad and live in the Philippines so they can spend more time with their families; one way of doing that is to have a lucrative business in the Philippines. But you have to be extra careful, especially if someone offers you the ‘perfect’ business where you can get rich quickly by doubling or even tripling your money back in just a couple of weeks or months.

Research first about these businesses proposals before you decide on opening the business you want.

Try to Enjoy Your New Life but Don’t Ever Cheat on Your Partner!

A lot of OFWs battle homesickness and loneliness, especially if they work in countries with very different time zones from the Philippines. But while it is good to find a way to enjoy in this new country (chatting up with new friends is common to many OFWs), just make sure you won’t end up cheating on your partner.

Always keep your goals in mind, as well as the main reason why you’re going abroad: to give you and your family a better, more wonderful life.

Good luck!