Have you always wanted to explore the world, meet new people, and discover new cultures, all while helping disabled people make the most of their lives? Have you finally gotten the opportunity to live out your dream by working abroad?
If so, then you're well on your way towards a great international career, one that has the potential to be exciting and fulfilling in equal measure.
But before you book your ticket to wonderland, there are a few things you need to take care of. Failure to do so could potentially leave you stranded in a foreign land without money, a place to stay, or in a job that's totally different from what you expected. To help you prepare, we have put together this guide on what to research, what to consider, and what not to do.
1. Do Your Homework (and Some Soul Searching)
If you're moving into disability services from another career or are only just getting into the workforce, confirm that it really is your dream career. Try joining professional associations and talking to your colleagues at the new job. Find conferences related to careers in disabled services and consult with your friends, family, and mentors and see if they think this new career suits you.
Before moving abroad, try shadowing other disability workers and even volunteer to help them out. This will help you get a good feel of your day to day schedule at this new job and a good sense of what challenges and responsibilities await you.
Finally, do some soul searching. Do you love the country you are moving to? If not, you may want to reconsider.
2. Acquire the Necessary Skills
The next logical step is to acquire the necessary skills. As a disability worker, you'll be required to provide physical, emotional, and personal assistance to people with physical or intellectual disabilities.
Most employers will require you to have formal qualifications. Fortunately, there are many disability courses online you can choose from if you don't already have a formal qualification. They range from certificate to bachelor courses, and will all give you the prerequisite knowledge and certification.
Additionally, due to the nature of this vocation, you will also need to have great communication skills, to be emotionally intelligent, and to be resilient, reliable, and passionate about what you do.
3. Choose Your Destination Country Wisely
There are almost no limits on what countries to work in. However, due to the sheer number of options, choosing from this wide pool can be challenging.
There are two ways you can go about it; making a choice that's purely based on emotion or thoroughly doing your research to find what country would best fit you. We recommend the latter as (obviously) the research will reveal a lot about the countries you are considering.
Some of the considerations that should help narrow down your options are the weather (is it too cold for your taste?), language (do you find it too much work to learn a new language?), cost of living, legal considerations (are you eligible for a working visa in that country?), personal interests, and distance from home (would you prefer to live closer to home or on the opposite side of the world?).
Go For It
Working abroad gives you the opportunity to serve a different community, develop your skills, and to embrace the beauty of a different culture. Your language skills will most certainly grow, along with your appreciation for the diversity of the human race. Plan well enough, and you'll have set yourself up for a smooth transition into your new home.