5 Reasons to Work Abroad

Working abroad is a great option for SLPs who are qualified and want a little adventure in their careers. As an Australian who has moved abroad to the US to work, here are my 5 reasons to do the same thing.pc1. A deeper clinical understanding

Having studied speech-language pathology in the UK and working in both Australia and America, I have discovered that each country have their own ‘local’ academia and programs that may not have crossed oceans! I was amazed that many American SLPs had not heard of the Lidcombe Program for stuttering, whereas I lived and breathed it as most of the researchers lived in my city! Similarly in the UK, I was introduced to some amazing speech and language textbooks that were not even mentioned when I did my Masters back in Australia. Working abroad has allowed me to expand my clinical understanding and have access to great new local research.

 2. New models of service delivery

I read on ASHA that over 50% of SLPs in America work in the school setting. This is something I would never have had the opportunity to do in my state in Australia as we don’t have SLPs in the schools! Different countries do things differently in regards to their access of SLP services. If you ever want to do something completely different within the SLP field, changing the model of service delivery will totally transform your practice. From family centred to the medical setting, early intervention, disability to working within a transdisciplinary team… there is so much more to learn and add to your skills that working abroad can offer.

 3. Cultural Experience

The allure of working abroad – particularly for those countries in the MRA agreement – is that you already speak the same language and know a bit about the country and culture from movies, TV, advertisements and your aunt who once visited there. It is likely that you will not completely suffer from culture shock and the way of living will be relatively similar… yet different! There will be new vocabulary to share and learn, accents to understand and local foods to try. A lot of American’s love to ask me about Vegemite and kangaroos and other little bits and pieces that they know about my culture, and I’ll ask about theirs!

 4. Adventure

Most SLPs who work abroad primarily make that plane trip because they want a little adventure to spice up their SLP lives! Working abroad satisfies my Sagittarius need for adventure. When you move to a different country, there are so many discoveries to be had that it makes your life feel exciting. One year into living in America I have ticked so many amazing travels off my list, and am planning what I want to achieve the next year, because I have a 2 year visa and want to get the most out of my time! For me, it is a stimulating way to live.

 5. Networking

 In my perspective, having a solid network of professionals who you can contact and rely upon for various needs is an essential. I try to make an effort to keep in touch with a range of allied health professionals and managers who I have worked with for a number of reasons. It makes me feel supported, I can share and spread information and I just genuinely like to keep in touch with inspiring professionals! It is also a great way to know what other people are doing in their field, help out others when they need you and is a ‘desired skill’ I have discussed many times in job interviews.

30 Comments

  • Hey,

    Great blog =)! I’m just wondering, how did you get a 2-year visa to work in the USA?

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    • Hi,
      I work in Washington state. My visa is called an E3 visa and it is valid for Aussie’s only… It was some type of agreement between both countries, so I benefited!

      Reply
  • Hey! Thanks a lot for your reply =). Great to hear that you’re taking full advantage of that visa! Good luck with it all!

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  • I’m interested in working abroad, possibly in Australia or Europe. I would appreciate any suggestions on where to get started! Thanks.

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  • Hi Rebecca,
    I’m an SLP interested in moving and working in New Zealand (actually living in Washington state too!). I’ve already read their page about the MRA agreement. I’m wondering if you have any idea in which settings SLPs work (for example on your blog you mentioned that there are not SLPs in the schools in Australia). Also, do you know if it’s pretty easy to find a job there?

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  • Have you heard of any programs/companies that hire SLP’s from US to work in London?

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    • I haven’t looked into it as my effort was to work in the US. Not sure if you can search for the Speech Pathology Australia magazines, but I remember they regularly had advertising for SLPs to work in the UK. You might be able to find them online.

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  • So glad I found your blog! I’m finishing my CF and about to start doing travel around the US….with hopes of branching off internationally 🙂 This is exactly the type of info I’m looking for. Thanks!

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    • Hope you have some great adventures. If you find some useful information on your travels make sure to pass it my way so that I can share with others.

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  • Pleased of finding your blog. I’m from the Caribbean Island and current US territory, Puerto Rico. I’m in my last year of Speech Language Pathology Grad School. I would love to work abroad. I’m looking for opportunities in California Bay Area.

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    • Sorry – I’m an Aussie! I went through a US agency to hire me to work in the US, you might have to contact similar agencies in the area.

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  • Hello! My name is Lakeeta and Im sooo interested in working as SLP in the Dubai area, im willing to consider other countries, however my husband and I are excited about traveling abroad! My desire is to find company to either work schools or nursing home setting if possible, but preferably schools. Can you refer me to company that will make this process easy as I have no idea what Im doing. Will i need certification in TESOL OR TEFL. Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Sorry – I have had no experience over there and put up whatever I find on my site. I have seen some international SLP message boards around, maybe try asking on there.

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  • hey hi…. i am Prakruthi from INDIA….. could u please tell me how i can get Visa to work in US

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    • Sorry, I’m a Speech Pathologist and not a visa expert – good luck finding the information

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  • Hi!
    I just found your blog…absolutely love it! I am an SLP, actually from Washington state originally!, but working in the California. I have been working as an SLP for a few years and feel like it’s time for a change/ new experience! I am very interested in working abroad in AUS next year and am wondering if you are familiar and/or have any insight about the visas for working abroad or how difficult it is to find a sponsor.
    I’ve spoken to SPA regarding the Mutual Recognition Agreement, however I’m a bit confused about the visas. I still qualify for the work and holiday visa (although I know you’re only able to work with an employer for 6 months), I’m wondering if that would be a visa I could start with when moving over and getting a job and then from there find a sponsor for the longer Skilled Visas? Or are there restrictions you know of regarding your visa and working as an SLP? Would I have to start on one of the Skilled Worker visas and be sponsored by either an employer or government body to practice?? I haven’t found anything speaking against it, but I am not positive. I’m planning to get my skills assessed regardless of which visa I go for before I come over, as it will be easier for me to access everything I need to send in from home. I’m just curious that as long as I have my Skills Assessed and they get approved, if I can work under the work and holiday visa first (so much cheaper than the skilled visas!).
    Any insight or information you have would be so helpful!! Thanks so much. I look forward to hearing from you. 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Alyssa,
      You might find that contacting a contracting company could help answer your questions. A popular website is http://www.seek.com.au for Australian job listings- You might have more luck browsing the SLP job section and seeing what healthcare companies are advertising and get in touch with them. I found a 3 month locum that was extended this way (but I’m an Aussie, so the visa didn’t matter). I do know that some job listings say that international SLPs are welcome to apply, but again these can be through some of the bigger contracting companies. Best of luck!

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      • Thanks so much. Did you find this was the easiest option for you when coming to the states ?? I just want to ensure I can get a job before taking the plunge and going over there! Do you have any big named companies you know of that are over there? I’ve been checking on seek, but not sure which are actually contract companies. I also saw the state government will sponsor as well, but not sure if that means you’re working for the government or that you’re just living in specific regions and finding work as an SLP. Thank you!!

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        • I had to secure a job first and went online and just emailed every single agency I could find! Only one contacted me back and after a bit of a process, I got the job!A lot of ‘rural and remote’ positions offer to sponsor as it can be harder to lure people out there. Having worked rural, it was AMAZING and one of the best experiences I’ve had. I think companies that have ‘healthcare’ after them such as Reed are companies that you might be able to go through. Perhaps if you search seek.com.au and look for the more regional positions you might see some.

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          • Thank you so much! I will likely work rural, as some of the visas require that you work in a region outside of the major cities. I think it could definitely be an interesting experience! Thanks again for your insight. This process is a little overwhelming sometimes!

  • Hi Rebecca,

    I love your blog!

    I am in my first year of a 2 year Masters program (Speech Pathology of course) here in Australia. I have always loved travel, and would love to combine travel with working on my career and experiencing another culture.

    Things may have changed slightly, but at the moment I am wondering if I should try to work here in Australia for a year first, and then go overseas.

    I do plan on eventually ending up back in Australia.

    Thanks

    Kate 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Kate,
      I remember my lecturer recommending this (working first) and I didn’t like that answer! I ended up backpacking for a year and literally accepting a rural-remote SLP job in a different state on a whim, just to ‘get a job’. Life has changed since I did this 10 years ago. There are waaaay more university programs and so more competition. Furthermore, places like the UK require that you have work for maybe 12-18 (check this) first, so you might have to. I will say this: When you are trying to work overseas and sell yourself and convince someone to hire you over someone who is local, it helps to have some experience under your belt. You might also find if you read up on the MRA agreements for the country that you want to work in that they specify a certain amount of time, so do a little research first.
      Best of luck – happy adventures 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi I am an undergrad and I am interested in being an SLP. I’m from NY! Any tips on what I should be doing to make my application for grad school stand out? I am definitely interested in volunteering abroad, if possible assisting SLP’s. Thanks for the help!

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    • Sorry – I’m Australian and don’t know much about US grad school and the process that is required for an application – the only thing I can think about are the unique skills and attributes that you would have to want to consider volunteering such as initiative, flexibility, problem solving and adaptability – skills that can’t be ‘taught’. Best of luck applying 🙂

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  • I have finished my Masters in Speech Language Pathology from All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysuru, India and presently I am working as SLP at my parent institute itself. After December 2019 , I am looking out for jobs abroad, kindly provide your guidelines on how to go about with the procedures.

    Reply

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