Wanting to do something internationally related to your discipline? I’ll talk about a few things I’ve done internationally as an SLP or SLP student.
Undergraduate study abroad program in the UK
When I started at Michigan State University, I knew they had a lot of study abroad programs available, and I knew that it was something I wanted to do during my time there. I actually started as a “No Preference” major as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do/study. I enjoyed my Psychology courses but wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted to major in. I ended up falling into a research project within the Communicative Sciences and Disorders program and started taking some of the classes which I found really interesting and would allow me to work in a profession trying to help others. So, that’s how I ended up studying Speech Pathology. To my luck, the Communicative Sciences and Disorders program had a study abroad program [about 5 weeks] in the UK which I was accepted for and did during the summer before my senior year of undergrad.
It was one of my first major trips abroad, and I’m so glad that I was able to participate in it! We got to visit various sites [hospitals, schools, etc.] and attend Speech Pathology related lectures and we also had lots of time to explore on our own. I made some great friends along the way!
If you’re a student, or applying to universities, check to see what study abroad options are available. Study abroad programs vary in length and locations – see what’s out there that might interest you.
Working in Australia
Of course, I am currently working in Australia. If there’s a country you are interested in working in, check out to see what the process might be like. See if you can connect with any other SLPs out there in that country or that may have done the same transition you are looking into doing. Check out different Facebook groups - SLPs Going Abroad is one that I’m part of that has SLPs all over or looking to go to different countries.
Volunteering in Vietnam
In 2017, I volunteered through an organization called Trinh Foundation Australia and volunteered in Vietnam for a few weeks. As Speech Pathology services are being introduced in Vietnam, I spent my time doing some presentations for the graduates of the speech therapy training program and also spent a couple weeks working with and mentoring two physiotherapists [who were also taking on the additional role of speech pathologist] at Dong Nai General Hospital. One of the things we did was a presentation to doctors and nurses at the hospital about when to refer for Speech Pathology services. Everyone I came across was so friendly and welcoming and I had a great experience the few weeks I was in Vietnam.
Look for organizations that do volunteer work abroad and check to see if they have any potential volunteer positions that might suit you.
Can you do your Clinical Fellowship Year [CFY] abroad?
I’ve been asked a few times about the possibility of doing a Clinical Fellowship Year abroad. I don’t personally know anyone that’s done this. I completed my CFY in the United States.
From my understanding, you would need to find an ASHA certified supervisor [CCC’s] in the country you are wanting to do your CFY in – which might be difficult. In addition, you’d still need a visa that allows you to work in the country at least during your CFY. Never say never - I don’t know all the specifics as I’ve never looked into it – but you’ll have to do some more research.