It’s been a while since I’ve really been out of my comfort zone. The experience of traveling to a new country was just the thing to snap me out of my narrow NYC reality and reconnect with the world. Eleven days, two cities, a handful of Portuguese words, no hotel homebase, no guide. After 1.5 days I was begging for an English speaker and a little bit of guidance. After 8 days I was begging to stay. Traveling to a new country and experiencing it from the inside out is not easy but it quickened my pulse, heightened my senses, and rekindled a love for the unknown that had been tempered by the regimented demands of school and work.
Not only did I realize that I want to travel more (and revisit Brasil, in particular) but I also realized that I would love the opportunity to work abroad. The experience and growth that comes from interacting with different people from different cultures is one that cannot be overstated. I was thrilled to learn that Doctors Without Borders (DWB) employs licensed mental health specialists. If there was an additional reason needed to continue accumulating a mountain of clinical hours and broadening language skills – this is a solid one.
It’s not just the idea of whisking away to different parts of the world that’s appealing. The big draw comes from the chance to learn about how the work of mental wellness is done in other places, the getting outside of the Western approach to treatment, the infusion of indigenous and non-traditional forms of healing, and working hand in hand with a global network of professionals. So, onward with language lessons, specialized certificate programs, and amassing hours and experience in the quest to become a viable candidate for MH work abroad, and…in my mind…a better me.
What do you think about working abroad in organizations like DWB and the smaller, but committed, Counselors Without Borders (CWB)?
How can new experiences enhance you as a counselor? View the past blog: Try something new (and become a better counselor)