Today, my friend Brittany Barker from BB's SLP (Facebook and TpT) is here to talk about a big way she left her "SLP comfort zone," by moving abroad! (Check out other posts in the series here.)
First of all, I would like to say THANK YOU to Natalie for organizing this awesome blog series. A little fun fact is that Natalie and I attended undergraduate and graduate school together! I know we received some wonderful training and lifelong advice from our professors.
From 2009-2014, I worked as a school based SLP for a Chicago suburban school district. This was my first job as an SLP, and I can honestly say that I truly enjoyed it. After 5 years, you definitely start to get more comfortable with your workplace and their procedures. Throughout my time with this district, I also met and fell in love with an Australian. After what felt like a ton of discussions, we decided that it was best for me to move to Australia (I know, hard decision, right? …especially with Illinois winters).
I joke about the weather, but this move has also meant being away from family and friends as well as learning a new country’s SLP guidelines. In order to work and live permanently in Australia, I have been filling out forms and collecting necessary supporting documents for over a year. So, if you’re thinking about moving abroad, start collecting your documents early and check with that country’s visa and SLP guidelines. With all that said- know that IT IS POSSIBLE! J I am happy to say that I recently received my permanent Australian visa! (Department of Immigration hat off, SLP hat back on)
If you’re thinking about making an international move or already live abroad, take a look at this Facebook group I created. It’s called SLPs Going Abroad. Members are from all over the world.
I’ve been in Australia since August. Since that time, I was able to provide SLP services for an amazing organization on a short-term basis. The students were forgiving as I used terms such as: ketchup (tomato sauce), swimsuit (togs), trashcan (bin), candy (lollies), the list goes on. I was so thankful for that experience because it allowed me to pick the brains of Australian SLPs, make new friends, and develop work related connections in this country.
My journey and comfort level as an SLP will continue to be tested in the months ahead as I am getting ready to move within Australia to a very remote area. I have been doing my best to prepare by learning more about the people and cultural differences in remote areas. Also, I will most likely be switching from my comfortable school setting into more unknown territories of older clients, private practice, or home health care. Although the uncertainty makes me nervous, it’s also a reassuring feeling to know that a career as an SLP opens the door to numerous opportunities. We are blessed!
All the Best,