If I moved to a foreign country to work there, what were some collocations I should use?

"I'm going to England to take/work/undertake/carry out/perform/do a job."

I'm not sure which verbs are okay here. I know I can simply say to work, but I want to broaden my vocabulary and have some other useful alternatives to use when needed.

  • 2
    The last four make it sound as though you are travelling to England to do a particular one-off task rather than to look for employment. Get a job would be more natural. Dec 7, 2023 at 9:36
  • Is it because of the last four words or the word "job"? If I use "employment" or "work" instead, will the four be natural to use?
    – Ken Adams
    Dec 7, 2023 at 9:42
  • 2
    Have you been offered a job in England? Are you going to England to look for a job? Is the job you already do requiring you to go there, for a short time or permanently? It might also depend on the nature of the work.
    – Stuart F
    Dec 7, 2023 at 9:46
  • It's because of the choice of verbs. You normally carry out a single task, not your regular employment. (We don't say work a job either.) Dec 7, 2023 at 9:47
  • @StuartF In this case I want to talk about people going to England to get a permanent job. So as Kate suggested, I shouldn't use the last 4 words because it sounds like it's a one-off task. How about the following: take up/take on/take + employment/a job?
    – Ken Adams
    Dec 7, 2023 at 10:00

4 Answers 4


"Work" is the right word to use in most situations. There are alternatives, but they a long and "wordy" and not as useful.

You could say "... to take up paid employment" or "as I've had an offer of a job". Or "on a long-term/permanent contract".

Better would be to use your job title: "... as a teacher" or "... as a nurse".

But don't overthink this. You would only need to say this once to a person, so do you really need many alternatives?

  • Actually, I need it for my IELTS exam, where I might have to express the same thing several times and therefore should avoid repetition. So I guess formality isn't an issue here since it's not spoken but written discourse. Your suggestions are helpful, but do you mean that all of the bolded words in my post can't be used here to go with job, work or employment?
    – Ken Adams
    Dec 7, 2023 at 8:02
  • By the way, is it rather redundant to say "paid employment"? When a person takes on a job/work/employment, isn't it by default a paid one?
    – Ken Adams
    Dec 7, 2023 at 8:48
  • 1
    Not if you need to distinguish between paid work and, say, voluntary work by a retired person, or caring full-time for children or an invalid family member. Dec 7, 2023 at 13:09
  • @KateBunting There's usually context that clarifies that, so we rarely say it explicitly. E.g. "After I retired I started working at the soup kitchen." -- retirement suggests the end of paid employment, and soup kitchens make use of volunteers. Although many would say "started volunteering" to emphasize their altruism.
    – Barmar
    Dec 7, 2023 at 15:45
  • @Barmar - How about these examples? Dec 7, 2023 at 16:09

The structure of your sentence means that a lot of ways you can write it makes it sound at least a bit like you have a specific job (as in a 'job of work') to do, e.g. you've been hired as an architect to design a building, and intend to go home or do something else after the job is done.

Keeping the structure of your example sentence, I'll run through the words you used, as well as some alternatives:

  • take: it makes sense but sounds a little stilted.
  • work: doesn't sound quite right, you generally work at or towards something.
  • undertake: this sounds like you have a specific job as described above; you would sound natural (but formal) if you undertake a task.
  • carry out: this sounds formal but natural, but again sounds like you have a specific job as above.
  • perform: I wouldn't really say that you perform a job; you perform the functions of a job, or perform a task.
  • do: this sounds like you couldn't think of the right verb, so you just said you're doing the thing. Which isn't necessarily a problem, but you wouldn't get any points for style!

You might also try:

  • get: this would usually mean that you're attempting to get a job.
  • find: this would definitely mean that you're attempting to get a job. Feel free to use synonyms like 'look for'.
  • start: if you're starting a new job this would work very well.
  • for: as Mark Foskey says, this is a good choice.

If you're moving because of your current job, you would normally say 'for my job'.

  • perform a job=job performance. But don't work well here. He performed the job very poorly.
    – Lambie
    Dec 8, 2023 at 14:22

I'm going to England to start a new job.
I'm going to England to begin full-time employment as a [lawyer, doctor, teacher, etc.]
I'm going to England tp start working in a full-time job or position.
I'm going to England to start full-time employment as a teacher.
I'm going to England as a new hire in a large company.



If there is a particular job that you have lined up and which requires you to move to England, one natural phrasing is "I'm going to England for a job."

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