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4 Things OFWs Need to Know Before Migrating Overseas

  • March 24, 2022

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4 Things OFWs Need to Know Before Migrating Overseas

Filipinos constantly face tough decisions. Do they stay and work locally or go abroad for higher wages? It's a hard choice, but Filipinos have made this decision for decades. Before the 1900s, there were no migration patterns between the Philippines and other countries due to a lack of transportation methods like boats and planes that could get one from Asia to Europe in less than 30 days.


The process was long and arduous to make it overseas. It all changed when Spain colonized the Philippines in 1521, bringing trade routes that would span across oceans. These new opportunities led many Filipino workers abroad, where they found better jobs at higher wages than domestically.

Related: Condo Living: Real Estate Investments in the Philippines

The wages earned by these Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are often much higher than what they could make at home. The average monthly salary of an OFW is about $1,500. The salary is more than three times the average salary of a Filipino worker who remains in the Philippines.

You might want to earn a living abroad. However, disconnecting from your family and living in challenging and unfamiliar conditions is a challenging situation for anyone, which is why Filipinos call OFWs the modern-day heroes. If you are going to take on that difficult life, here are a few skills you need to pick up.

Learning Digital Communication Tools

OFWs are often in challenging situations where they cannot easily connect with their families. Fortunately, technology made it easier for OFWs to talk to their loved ones from a distance. Social media and digital communication tools can help them stay connected with their families, share updates about their lives, and support each other. Additionally, these tools can help OFWs remain informed about the latest news and developments in the Philippines.

A Manila-based think tank, Social Weather Stations, found that about 78 percent of OFWs use social media to communicate with their loved ones. It will increase in the coming years as more Filipinos migrate for better opportunities overseas.

Digital communication tools like Skype, Facebook, and Viber help OFWs stay in touch with their loved ones. However, they can also help you save money. For example, Skype allows users to call any phone number globally for free. It can be helpful if you need to make an important call that is too costly to make from your location. Talking with your loved ones is essential if you want to make your OFW journey feel less lonely.

Learning a New Language

One of the challenges OFWs face is being in a country where they do not speak the local language, making it challenging to communicate with co-workers, customers, and locals. It can also make it hard to get by in everyday life. You are in a foreign country, which means you must be the one adjusting to their culture.

Many resources can help you learn a new language. Online courses, apps, and even TV shows can help you quickly pick up a new language. Additionally, translation services can help you communicate with people who speak different languages.

Some OFWs find it helpful to learn the local language of their host country months before they migrate. It can make it easier to adjust to your new surroundings and make friends in your new community.

Managing Your Finances

One of the biggest challenges OFWs face is managing their finances. They often earn more money than they did back home, leading to overspending and debt. Additionally, many OFWs are away from their families for long periods and may need to send money back home to support them.

Learning how to budget your money, save for your future, and make wise investment choices. Additionally, you must be diligent about repaying any debts you may have. Also, most OFWs have financial responsibilities back home, whether to pay for their family's needs or children's education. For OFWs, learning how to send money to the Philippines online is the most critical skill they have to secure. Try to learn multiple channels to ensure that transferring money will not become a problem.

Planning Vacation Breaks

Taking a break from work is necessary for everyone, not just OFWs. Recent studies have shown that returning home for a vacation can be essential to maintaining mental health and preventing anxiety.

OFWs are often hesitant to take vacation breaks because they feel they cannot afford it or do not have the time. However, by planning your vacation breaks, you can ensure that you have enough money saved up and not miss too much work.

Vacations do not have to be grand. It can be just visiting your family for a few days at home to reconnect or bond with them. Watching a movie or taking a staycation trip can ensure that your finances will not suffer too much. By planning your vacation breaks wisely, you can ensure that you will get the most out of them.

Life as an Overseas Filipino worker is challenging. Fortunately, the skills listed above can help you better adjust to their new environment and make life more manageable for themselves. If you're an OFW, try getting these skills before you migrate.