August 5, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
You’re an experienced traveller and you know deep down that you would love to take on the challenge of working abroad in any healthcare capacity. However, no matter how sure you are about your capabilities, trying to convince a potential employer that you have what it takes can be a completely different challenge altogether. For most employers who hire healthcare staff from abroad, one of their biggest concerns is whether their foreign employee is going to be able to handle it all or whether they will be overwhelmed by the mix of homesickness, culture shock and language barrier. After all, acquiring work permits and visas, flying someone thousands of miles across the world and training them for the job is neither cheap nor easy. Anyone who is going to go through all of the trouble and expense will want to be sure that you are worth the effort and the expense.
If you have any intentions of taking up a healthcare job abroad, it is up to you to persuade potential employers that you are right for the job and also right for the location. Here are a few things you can do towards this:
Get Some International Experience
Flaunting your international experience in any capacity is crucial. It’s simple really – if you’ve worked abroad before, the exposure and experience will help you be more prepared to overcome all of the inevitable challenges and differences that come into play when living and working abroad. If you’ve spent a substantial length of time living abroad, whether on a university exchange programme, an internship, a temporary job posting or even during a gap year, mention it loudly and clearly in your cover letter.
If you do not have any international work experience, you will need to focus on making the most of what you do have. If you’ve been abroad on holiday a few times, then listing “travel” as an interest on your resume could still give you some leverage.
Show An Interest In The Destination
Most employers will want to know more about you and why you want to live in that particular country. “To see more of the world,” is not a satisfactory answer. No employer wants to hire a healthcare professional who is just “passing through”.
The key here is to do some serious homework. Look at websites and guidebooks to find out more about the region and the country in particular, not just in terms of tourist attractions but also culture, economics and politics. Read the national newspapers to stay updated on what’s going on in the country at the moment. Prepare thoroughly so that when an interviewer asks, you can volunteer a detailed, enthusiastic response with plenty of specifics.
Do A Medical Placement In A Developing Country
Spending some time on a medical placement in a developing country offers you several advantages when you are looking for job opportunities abroad. It allays potential employers’ fears about whether or not you will be able to handle the pressure and the culture differences. They know that anyone who had done a medical placement has had the experience of working with patients as well as medical professionals from diverse backgrounds and cultures and will be better able to cope in a foreign land.