Advice on Working Abroad

“The role of the artist is to be an outsider; everyone should be a foreigner somewhere”

Jon Burgerman, Artist and Illustrator, New York

I spent a summer in New York before I moved here. If you’re thinking of moving abroad, it’s best to visit the place you want to live in a bunch of times before you relocate. I think after three months or so, you get a good idea of whether you like it. Bear in mind that you’re going to have a good time and a bad time wherever you live. There’s no magical remedy. 

Have realistic expectations and be open. You can never escape yourself. I came here with no luggage, but I still had a bunch of baggage. Even if it’s not the best experience, it will probably be good for you in the long term, and doing things is better than not doing things. 

Being somewhere where people do stuff is good. I could have moved to Berlin, but a lot of my friends who had been there for a long time said, “Oh, it’s great living here. You don’t have to work so hard. You can work for three or four days, and then chill out. That’s brilliant, right?” Don't let your lazy self get the better of you. As humans, we’re predisposed to be lazy. Our brains are set up to take the short cuts. That’s how we survive, but that’s not always great creatively. 

Save time, save energy. Sometimes it’s better to do the tougher thing. Challenge yourself. You’ll find friends and have fun. Moving will add to your story, and if there’s anything that’s important, it’s your story. That’s what we’re living. We’re living our stories every day! That’s the best thing.

Do it! Doing it while you’re young is the best time to do it, and if it doesn’t work out you can move back. I think it’s the best, most fantastic thing you can do. Everyone should be a foreigner somewhere. The role of the artist is to be a bit of an outsider. You learn so much, it’s amazing. Do it.

Jon Burgerman is an artist, illustrator and professional doodler who has been based in Brooklyn, New York, for over five years. Read our full interview with him here.

Posted 22 August 2017 Collection: Working Abroad
Disciplines: Graphic Design, Illustration, Art

Working Abroad

Learn More Sign In

Lecture in Progress relies on the support of partners and professional members to provide the ongoing insight and advice to the next generation. To help support sign up now or find out more. 

scroll to top arrow-up

Become a Member

Lecture in Progress is now free to access. Become a member and receive a number of additional benefits.

Student Member


Alongside a wealth of behind-the-scenes advice and insight into the creative industries, join now to get exclusive access to offers and promotions. You’ll benefit from:

  • Student offers and promotions
  • Two weekly newsletters
  • Bookmark content
  • Shape the future of Lecture in Progress

Professional Member

£35/per year

By becoming a professional member, you’ll be helping us in our aim to support the next generation of creatives. You’ll also get the chance to shape the future of Lecture in Progress, and benefit from:

  • Professional offers and promotions
  • The biannual Lecture in Progress newspaper, delivered to your door
  • Insight reports into creative education and industry
  • Two weekly newsletters
  • Bookmark content
  • Shape the future of Lecture in Progress

Lecture in Progress is made possible with the support of the following brand partners