Thrilled to share this guest post from fellow SLP Blogger Rebecca Reinking. Rebecca is an Australian Speech-Language Pathologist who studied in Manchester, England, completed a volunteer assignment on the islands of Samoa and has worked in the United States. I am inspired by her adventures and places that she has gone as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Here are her top 5 reasons to work abroad! -Julia
1. Escape the Routine
Come on, you really don’t need me to sell you on this aspect, you adventurous SLP you! This is the reason why you are reading this. You want to travel. You want that thrill and excitement of the unknown when life has become pretty routine. The real question is how far do you want to venture? Are you the type of person who will work anywhere and just say ‘yes’ to anything thrown your way, or do you have a specific place and setting in mind? I’ve done both of these and there is no answer. Just be aware that you sometimes may not have as much choice (or power) as you would in your own country and that sometimes you have to change tiny details of where you want to work for the overall picture of working overseas. The lesson: sometimes you just have to be flexible and spontaneous and let things work out for you, instead of you trying to work them out.
2. You can start afresh
I’ve started fresh many times in my career. From a sole clinician in a rural-remote setting, to working in a developing country in a disability setting, to working abroad in the schools to working in private practice. That’s a lot of change in 10 years, but that’s what I love. When you choose to work overseas, you can totally work somewhere completely different than what you would in your own country, because every country does something a little different SLP wise. It’s a little like throwing yourself in the deep end, but you already know how to swim. Working overseas can revitalize your ‘inner’ SLP because while you know how to be an SLP, there will be lots of little things that you have to learn and are different and not predictable as they may be in your current job.
3. You will learn more
Having studied in England and worked in Australia and America, I can safely say that there are researchers, textbooks and therapeutic techniques that might be more prominent to a specific country but perhaps not as known or adopted worldwide. As a result, I feel that I have a really broad knowledge base because of this. It is a great way to either learn something new that you can take back with you, or you teach your ‘new’ place something that you already do that you think might benefit the practice. Either way, this global idea of spreading new ideas is really amazing to be a part of.
4. It makes you stand out on your resume
From my time as a student, I always had in the back of my mind ‘what can I do to stand out from everyone else?’ Let’s face it, it can be a competitive job market and sometimes any little slight deviation in the norm can give you the edge that you need. Being the ‘SLP who worked in New Zealand for two years’ can make you that memorable person. It can help you connect with potential employers, your job interview will be a little bit different to everyone else’s and your wonderful personality might shine through as you talk with passion about what you learned.
5. Culture Rush
Even though you think moving from one English speaking country to another might not be that different, it is. It really is. For starters, you are different (or ‘special’ as I like to call it). You have an accent, which is immediately intriguing and say words that your adopted country doesn’t say. Your whole environment will have everything from teeny tiny tweaks to massive changes and you really do have a bounce in your step, wide eyes and an inescapable enthusiasm because of this. I remember taking pictures of street signs in England because they were small and cute and a different color to the Australian ones. Street signs. Sure it dies down a little but your new life will throw something cultural at you everyday and it’s exciting to discover what that will be!
Rebecca Reinking is a wanderlust Australian speech language pathologist who has studied and worked in England, Samoa and the U.S. She blogs ‘the blatant Aussie truth’ on her site Adventures in Speech Pathology that shares everything working abroad mixed with functional, year-round therapy ideas and resources.
Featured Imagine Photo credit: jpmatth via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND