I wish somebody had told me this first…

As an Australian SLP living and working in the United States I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! Working abroad as an SLP is wonderful….

But these are some of the things that I wish somebody had told me before I decided to work abroad as an SLP:


1. The whole process can take a long time

You don’t realise how much paperwork, certifications, licences etc. you may need, until you are halfway through the process. It took me 6 months to find a position until I entered the country. A lot of the things that you need to apply for will have a 4-12 week processing time, plus there is a lot of running around, so it really is a ‘waiting’ game.

2. It can cost a lot of money

When you add up flights, obtaining licences/certifications and the cost to buy new things for your house, it is likely that this initiative could cost quite a few thousand dollars. Plus a little more. Just be prepared and have more in your budget.

3. You need a support person/people

You may not realise it before you decide to go ahead with this, but moving to and working in another country is really stressful. You will need someone who will let you vent your frustrations on how much things cost, how long they take and why are you doing all of this in the first place. This person will keep you on track!

4. I wish I knew someone else who did this

It would have been so much easier if I would have known an SLP who worked overseas just to give me the tips and point me in the right direction. Search on online forums and see if anyone can answer your questions as it is likely that someone out there has already done what you want to do.

5. You will still be stressed when you first arrive

This is not a holiday… you will likely have to look for a place, buy a car, get phone/internet connection and that is all non-work related. My first few months were stressful and a little bleak because I thought it would be exciting like going on a holiday! All you have to do is adjust your expectations (and not expect that you will tick off all the great attractions in the first month) so that you don’t get disappointed.

6. You will feel like a student again

All the lingo, acronyms, departments, government organisations (and spelling!) and laws may have to be relearned. You will feel like you are on your first day on student placement except that you know how to do therapy. People took for granted that I knew what an RTI meeting was, FERPA rights and the difference between a 504 and an IEP. So you may go back to not knowing what anybody is talking about and feeling lost, confused and questioning if you will ever learn all of the things that are seemingly ingrained into your new culture!


15 thoughts on “I wish somebody had told me this first…

  1. Hi Rebecca,
    Thank you very much for sharing your resources and stories of your adventures. I have enjoyed reading your blog and just downloaded the final consonant deletion minimal pairs cards!
    Many thanks again!
    Sonia (UK SLT)

  2. Hi Rebecca,

    I am currently working in Ireland and originally from here but i did all my studies and worked in the UK previuosly. I am now embarking on another adventure to Australia – next wednesday to be exact and for some reason i came across your website. And yes it does take a long time and yes there is so much paperwork and yes I am so stressed at the moment. But it is so reassuring to read your blog and know that it is all completely normal and others are feeling the same way.

    So THANK YOU for putting a little calmness on my storm at the mo
    Fin Ryan (SLT IRE soon to be SLP AUS) : )

    1. Fin,

      You make me feel a little normal too! I didn’t know anyone else going through the same thing, so at least I was on the track! As an Aussie native, you will LOVE my homeland… and you are arriving just in time for spring/summer. Hope the last week goes well and you have an awesome SLT/SLP adventure!

    2. Hi Fin & Rebecca,
      I Just discovered this blog! It’s brilliant! I am a Newly Qualified SLT (IRE) ans I am moving to Sydney in January. I’m excited and terrified all at the same time. I would love to speak to someone about my impending move? I guess I’m looking for some reassurance that I will get work as an SLT when I get settled over there. Help!!

      Karen (SLT IRE)

      1. Hi Karen,
        One of the best websites for SLP positions is http://www.seek.com.au You will find many, many positions on there! You might also want to try contacting one of the many healthcare agencies advertised on there. When I moved back to Sydney I got in touch with one and had a 3 month locum job the next week, immediate start! It was a great way to just have some income and weigh up my options.
        Best of luck – if you are really desperate for a position, the rural and remote jobs are far less competitive than city jobs. And many actually state that they support overseas qualified SLPs.

  3. Hi Rebecca, I am an Australian SLP, I lived and worked in London for 12 yrs, and now I live on Long Island in New York. I have my CCC and license to work in NY (a long process!), and am currently starting my job search. I am really interested to hear from other SLPs from Australia or UK who are working in the USA! I am also happy to help or give advice about anything that I can.

    1. Hi Felicity!! Can I ask, did you have a Bachelor or a Masters Speech Pathology degree? I’m 6 months away from finishing my Bachelor’s degree and would love to work in the US one day – i know how hard it is though!!

  4. Hi Rebecca,

    I had a question in relation to working overseas. I read from your blog that when travelling overseas for work, you felt like you had become a student again 🙂

    I am currently in the first year of a two year SP masters program in Western Australia and I am itching to work overseas once I finish. I’ve already done London in between my undergrad and masters, so I’m wondering (in your opinion) if it’s just as easy to step into an international role as my first job (given I will have lots of learning to do anyway!)?

    Loving your website!


    1. Hi Caitlyn,
      It is possible… But I think some countries might require you to have a certain amount of experience before you can work there. I was hoping to work in Scotland as soon as I finished until I read that I’d need 1.5years experience first. It may be harder, but not impossible. Check out the information I have or look up the MRA agreement on the Speech Pathology Australia site to read up on it. Looking back I was glad that it didn’t work out as I gained a lot of great skills that set me up to work overseas. I felt that even though I had no idea about the models, words and services, at least I was confident in providing therapy.
      Best of luck

      1. Hi Rebecca! I can relate in some ways 😉 I’m an American SLP and I have been working in Australia for the past 2 years! I’m loving the experience, culture, and all! Cheers and thank you for sharing your resources and amazing adventures!

  5. Hi Rebecca! I can relate in some ways 😉 I’m an American SLP and I have been working in Australia for the past 2 years! I’m loving the experience, culture, and all! Cheers and thank you for sharing your resources and amazing adventures!

  6. Hi there! I love this blog! 🙂

    I’m from Scotland and graduated as an SLT in July. There are hardly any SLT jobs in Scotland just now and it’s very frustrating.

    I’d absolutely love to go and work in Australia, even just for a few years – does anyone know if you have to work as an SLT in the UK first before being accepted as an SLT in Australia?
    Is it worth emailing a few Australian SLT job adverts to find out as each one may do things differently? I understand that once you have a job they may sponsor you for your visa 🙂

    Would appreciate any advice or info!


    Claire xxx

    1. Hi Claire – view the MRA agreement between the UK and Australia to let you know the process and if your certifications are equivalent. Check out the seek.com.au site for job listings – some of the more rural jobs state that they are willing to sponsor.

  7. Hi Rebecca!

    I just began following your blog, thank you for all of your wonderful stories and resources! I am an American in my second year of my M.S. and would like to begin looking for an international placement. This may be a long shot, but do you know of any resources (blogs or sites) related to Spanish-speaking placements? I haven’t been able to find much information regarding this, and thought I’d try my luck with you 🙂 Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s