Sebastian Aviles, MHRIR 21, joined a HR rotational development program upon graduation and began an expat assignment in Dubai with his company in February of 2024. He is a two-time Illinois graduate, also holding an I/O psychology bachelor’s degree. He will be sharing his experiences as a recent LER graduate abroad in a blog that will be highlighted on our site and social media over the coming months, until his return to the United States in December.

Embracing the Opportunity: Selected for an Expat Assignment (1)

April 23, 2024

Reflecting on the pivotal moment I received the news of being selected for an expat assignment in Dubai, it feels like just yesterday. The competitive interview process, the anticipation, and finally, the call confirming my selection felt like a culmination of hard work and dedication. As an HR professional, I understand the competitive nature of such assignments and the significance they can hold for one’s career trajectory. 

Being selected to represent an organization in a foreign country is a challenge and an opportunity to develop one’s skills, expertise, adaptability, and cultural awareness while delivering high-quality work. I offer advice for those embarking on a similar journey: embrace the opportunity wholeheartedly. It’s a chance to broaden your horizons, expand your global network, and gain invaluable insights into different cultures and business practices. While the road ahead may seem daunting, remember that you have many support systems every step of the way. Lean on your HR peers for guidance, utilize resources available to you, and approach the experience with an open mind and a willingness to learn. My organization uses a competitive interview process for this type of assignment, but not all do. The key is readiness to go wherever the organization’s needs are. While it’s impossible to know the experience you’ll have when you arrive, it’s essential to understand what your ‘readiness’ really means to you. 

Hopefully, these entries will give a view for HR professionals considering expatriate opportunities. My perspective is that of an early career expatriate who moved to a different country alone (with no family, pets, or other coworkers on a similar assignment). I’ve lived in two other countries (not for work): Mexico and Great Britain.