For Moms & Dads

For Moms & Dads

Working Abroad: the Joys and Challenges

Five parents share the advantages and disadvantages that comes with making the difficult decision of earning a living for the family by working abroad.

Imagine this: your husband has finally landed a high paying job that can pay the bills and secure the children's future. The prospect of financial freedom finally seems to be within reach. There is only one catch: this high-paying job would place him in a different country.

Overseas employment has drastically changed the set-up of the Filipino family and the entire society over the decades. The pros and the cons are in a constant see-saw as to which outweighs the other. While a higher salary and better benefits are enticing, there are security issues and uncertainties in working abroad. Take, for example, the current situation where Filipinos from Egypt and other countries where civil unrest is rampant had to seek safety by flying back home immediately.  

Still, most families are left with no choice but to endure the absence of a parent and the issues that come with it. In this article, five women discuss how it is to be the wife of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), and the joys and challenges that their families face.

On deciding to be an overseas Filipino worker (OFW)
OFW parentMany Filipinos believe that the way to improve one's economic status is to work abroad. However, a lot of factors must be considered first, and it is important for both spouses to know what they are getting themselves into before making the decision to work abroad.

Rachel: "There are better employment opportunities abroad with higher pay. Working locally will not earn us as much to cope with the rising costs of commodities and getting better education for our children."

Nina: "it is difficult to work abroad but the decision is made much more difficult when the family is left behind. If you can bring your family or spouse with you abroad, do so. Find work for your spouse too. Stick together if at all possible."  

On lifestyle changes
OFW parentAny overseas worker will attest to the difficulties that they endure just to earn a living. This stresses the importance of saving up.   

Jona: “Not only are our kids’ tuition fees fully paid, we could now afford to invest on an educational plan. If we were both employed locally and living on standard pay, maybe we won’t be able to go beyond maintaining a savings account. We could now buy our children the toys they like. However, getting a huge monthly remittance is not always a good thing. I know of people whose relatives take advantage of them; they think that just because you have a husband who works abroad, you are well off, which is not always the case. They think that giving them financial aid would not make a dent at your finances.  This is usually where the conflict begins. "

Nina: "A lot of people, especially those back home, assume that OFW's are very lucky because they earn a lot. They should remember that the OFW situation is volatile and that the contract could be cut short anytime. While the pay may be higher overseas, the cost of living is usually higher, which is why some OFWs prefer to shop for pasalubong in Manila."


Click here to read about OFW parents on handling finances and on long-distance parenting and communication.

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  • vicrigab Jun 14 2011 @ 08:49am
    I am an OFW since 2003 and been to Taiwan and now in Australia and currently working my papers and my kids too. It's so hard to leave away from home specially if your kids are growing up. But I am doing this for my kids, for them to have a better future. Good thing there is internet i got to talk to them almost every day but still its not the same when you are there hugging them..
  • lhinggitcf Feb 26 2011 @ 03:06am
    technically, i'm not a certified OFW but i work abroad, away from home but with the husband who is an OFW and two babies.

    it has always been a tough decision letting my husband leave the country but we already had 2 kids then and financially, we need to be stable. 3 years later i followed under his sponsorship and was able to work. the joy of working offshore is being able to give what your children needs and prepare for their future, but that also means missing so many things about their lives and all occasions back home. it means saving every penny to make it all worthwhile. to be more thrifty so we could save more. people back home do not know that abroad, like for us in the middle east, if your company does not provide you a family accommodation, you will have to rent with other families as flat sharing or villa sharing. because getting your own house means spending almost all your monthly salary. house rent is very very expensive. and for me, it means crying everyday for missing each day of my other kids' lives. good thing there is internet and overseas call is chepaer. we can always get in touch...

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