09 Jun 2023
Where finding a job overseas for you as a Gambian migrant may be relatively easy to earn a living and send money to Gambia to offer financial support to your family back home, it is complicated to build a professional network.
Have you ever thought about one of the most important and technically complex matters requiring your due attention to progress and excel professionally?
Well, apart from your degrees, expertise, and how best you deliver and add value to the company you serve, regardless of your role, if you fail to network with fellow workers and those outside your company, your chances to grow and excel dim.
According to a report by IOM UN Migration, the Gambia is the smallest African country with a total population of about 2.3 million. Of the total Gambian population, about 118,000 Gambian migrants live and work abroad, and their contribution to the Gambian economy through inward remittances accounts for about 20% of the country’s GDP.
According to a report by the World Bank, these Gambian expatriates sent in $547 million ($547,051,424, to be exact) in inward remittances to the Gambia in 2021.
Many reasons prompt the Gambians to travel abroad to seek better employment opportunities, and many of them end up getting employed, but as mentioned earlier, it is how you connect with others and network that ensures your professional excellence.
This blog will walk you through the importance of networking and how to build successful professional relationships while working abroad.
But first, let’s take a look at some of the reasons that prompt the Gambians to travel abroad to earn a living and ensure financial aid to their families through a money transfer to Gambia.
The following are some of the major reasons that force the Gambians to travel abroad for work.
The Borgen Project reported the World Bank as saying that in 2015, about 10.3% of the Gambia’s total population lived below the poverty line. The same report quoted the International Labour Organization (ILO) as saying that the rate of unemployment in the Gambia increased from 9.5% in 2019 to 11.2% in 2021.
Most people in the Gambia believe, and rightly so, that a quality education can ensure a financially secure future. But again, finding quality education in the country is a big challenge. So, people travel to developed countries to seek better education which in turn paves the way for opportunities with better financial prospects.
Isn’t it appropriate to learn a few unique facts about the Gambia after learning so much else about it?
Well, your answer in the affirmative is natural.
These are some of the unique facts about the Gambia you had not known before.
Now, let’s understand how you can create a network and build professional connections as a Gambian expatriate so that your journey to support your family finically through an online money transfer to Gambia regularly remains smooth during your stay abroad.
The following few tips will help you in creating a strong professional network.
The internet has made it easier for you to learn about the local culture and customs well before you move to another country. It will serve as a cultural shock absorber because it will lower the shock’s intensity.
There are focused expat groups on social media platforms, including Facebook and LinkedIn. You can join these groups and connect with the members to get insights about things you need to know.
Where a brief insight can be had from the social media platforms, detailed learning is necessary for which the right choice is a local business organisation or an expatriate coach.
Learning the local language of the country you are moving to is essential to connect better with the locals; otherwise, a communication barrier will be erected between you and the locals.
Once you have arrived, learn how others behave, and you better be a quiet spectator, at least in the start, if not more, instead of passing judgments about how others behave versus how they should.
This is a must-visit because it will expose you to the business community and deeply rooted individuals. And since these are business people, they have a wider network that can help you connect with them too.
Try to communicate with your colleagues as much as you can. It will send a friendly vibe to others, and they will feel encouraged to spend more time with and befriend you.
Take out time to know the city you have moved to. It will help you acclimatise to the environment and understand it better. Make sure to manage time for it lest you get entangled in your new life’s excitement.
After you have settled in, make sure to attend the local seminars and conferences as and when they are scheduled. It is a sure recipe for building connections. In addition to that, you must resume your old activities as they will make you feel like being at home.
You need to adopt a friendly, adaptive and flexible attitude. You must be ready to accept change and people as you find them instead of wanting them to behave the way you would want them to.
These tips will create your professional network within no time.
Since you go abroad for your family’s financial aid, it is admissible to send money to Gambia online through a service provider that charges low fees, offers live exchange rates and allows you to win huge prizes through its multiple promotional campaigns.
What are some strategies for networking and building professional relationships as a Gambian diaspora working abroad?
There are several strategies that can be effective, such as attending networking events, joining professional organisations or clubs related to your field, volunteering, or even starting a professional blog or social media account. Remember, it's important to approach networking with a mindset of mutual benefit, not just what you can gain.
How can I leverage online platforms for networking while working abroad?
LinkedIn and other professional networking sites are great tools for building and maintaining professional relationships. Joining online forums and groups related to your profession or interest areas can also be beneficial. Additionally, social media platforms can offer opportunities to connect with professionals in your field.
Are there specific resources or groups for the Gambian diaspora to network and support each other professionally?
Yes, many countries have diaspora networks or associations for Gambians and other immigrants. These can provide a sense of community and offer opportunities for networking, mentorship, and professional development. Online, there are also numerous forums, groups, and platforms dedicated to the Gambian diaspora.
How can I maintain and strengthen my professional relationships back in Gambia while working abroad?
Staying in regular contact is key. Reach out to your contacts in Gambia regularly through emails, calls, or social media. Share updates about your work and ask about theirs. Also, consider visiting Gambia when possible and meet your contacts face-to-face.
What cultural considerations should I keep in mind while networking and building professional relationships abroad as a Gambian diaspora?
Cultural norms can vary greatly between countries, so it's important to educate yourself about the etiquette in the country where you're working. This could involve nuances in communication style, expectations around punctuality, or norms for professional socialising. It's also important to be aware that stereotypes or biases may exist and to approach such situations with understanding and patience.