You worked hard to earn your degree in chemical engineering, but now it’s time to get to work and pay off that heaping pile of student loans. But let’s be real — paying bills doesn’t sound fun, does it? The career path you choose doesn’t have to be boring though. Why not apply your newfound knowledge and freshly minted degree with a chemical engineering job abroad? Awesome entry level chemical engineering jobs can be found internationally (especially since the good ones back home argon). Don’t overreact; your life abroad as a chemical engineer will be A-Oxygen Potassium.
Why Find a Job Abroad
Maybe you caught the travel bug on your high school senior trip or summer vacations with your parents, but you have always longed to explore the world on your own. Now is the time to begin reaping the rewards from all that time with your nose in the books; experience different cultures while simultaneously starting your new, exciting career employed by international chemical engineering companies.
By adding global work experience to your resume, you will stand high above other potential job seekers for future jobs back home. Completing engineering jobs abroad tells potential employers that you are capable of not only handling the position, but that you are also willing to step out of your comfort zone when needed, making you more flexible than other candidates.
By gaining expertise in a particular area you can move into research and development roles, or even specialist roles such as safety or environmental management. You might be interested in commercial roles such as sales, marketing, or supply chain management. You will gain experience on a variety of projects, with the potential to become a project manager.
Living and working abroad makes you a more well-rounded individual and an asset to future companies. Because of the worldly knowledge you will gain by dealing with people from a different background than yourself, as well as learning about your field from a different cultural perspective, you will have a definite edge above other candidates. Why not use your mad scientist knowledge and powers for good? You can change the world working in chemical engineering, so why not see the world while you save it?
When seeking international chemical engineering opportunities, be sure to find a location that will meet your personal, as well as your professional, needs. Whether you prefer countries with warm temperatures and beaches or with cooler temperatures with historic landmarks, a chemical engineering job abroad is waiting for you!
For example, if you don’t like cold weather, skiing, or hot chocolate, you obviously don’t want to live in Swiss Alps in the dead of winter. So pack your sunscreen and head to the land of sunshine—Spain—where temperatures are warm year-round. This muy caliente country offers beautiful mountains and seemingly endless miles of beaches. In your off time, you could take a Spanish course to better immerse yourself in the culture, which will no doubt make you an asset at your job.
Are you intrigued by the Asian culture? Singapore is one of the technical and development capitals of the world, meaning there are tons of chemical engineering jobs in Singapore for fresh graduates up for grabs. Whether you prefer the slower pace of rural living or the big city feel, chemical engineering jobs are plentiful. The multi-cultural environment in Hong Kong, for example, provides the best of East meets West where you can still experience a western lifestyle while immersing yourself in the Chinese roots and tradition.
Germany, also known as “the powerhouse of European engineering,” is the perfect place to explore jobs at chemical engineering companies. While Germany is known for its contribution to the automotive industry, it’s also known for its food and beer (and hopefully no one will find your jokes boron). Sauerkraut and bratwurst for dinner every night followed by a pint of Pils might sound pretty good after a long day at the office.
Chemical Engineering Jobs Abroad
Landing a chemical engineering jobs doesn’t mean you must make a lifetime commitment, but it is important to choose a field that will be beneficial to you later on in your career. Most chemical engineering jobs abroad are in the manufacturing, non-manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and technical fields so the options are plentiful.
Manufacturing. More than 55 percent of chemical engineering jobs abroad are in manufacturing settings. As a chemical engineer working abroad in manufacturing, expect to work with chemicals, electronics, petroleum, paper products, etc. Work in Beijing, China for example, as chemical engineer for Black & Veatch. There you can put your skills to the test, with the responsibility of power plant construction and commissioning.
Technical and Design. If you have an eye for design, you might seek employment abroad as a chemical engineer in a technical position. Imagine designing a brand new chemical process plant or possibly work in R&D for a chemical company. Work as an R&D Scientist for Procter and Gamble in Freising, Germany. Join the team of some of the best researchers in the world, developing products for billions of consumers worldwide.
New Technology. As a chemical engineer working abroad in the development of new technology such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, and alternative energies, expect plenty of room for growth. As the demand for these technologies increase, the need for chemical engineers increases on a global scale. The demand for chemical engineers in water treatment jobs is on the rise, as water usage is increasing around the world.
No matter the direction you go, finding chemical engineering opportunities overseas means a job where no two days are the same! You’re always working on new projects, researching new things, and coming up with new solutions— free of charge.
Benefits & Challenges
The most obvious benefit of working as a chemical engineer abroad is the international experience and knowledge you will acquire in your field, setting you apart from your colleagues back home (especially if you work for reputable international chemical engineering companies, like Bayer, Air Liquide, or BASF). The experience can help you further your chances of getting into graduate school for chemical engineering. There is also the added benefit of learning new processes and ways of approaching work through a new cultural lens.
What if you’re not in love with the place? You’re dealing with culture shock, language barriers, demanding workplace requirements, high cost of living, and you spend your free time counting the days until your next trip home. Just remember that no experience is wasted time! Overcoming a challenging situation like living and working abroad will make you more resilient, giving you confidence to do anything you set your mind to in the future.
No matter what path you take in your career, working as a chemical engineer abroad will be a worthwhile, life changing experience of professional and personal growth. Not only will it teach you what you want in life, you’re sure to bond with your new colleagues and make lifelong connections. Think like a proton – always positive – and take your career abroad!