Unfortunately, there are not a great deal of established programs or concrete opportunities for ATCs globally. But, it's growing - fast!
However, once you are on the ground in a foreign country the opportunities do tend to come along.
Sometimes you just need to get there with an open mind and whole lot of ingenuity.
So, how do I maximize my possibilities to live/work abroad?
- Tap into your network. Coaches, parents, students, patients, supervisors - all can be potential resources for assistance. Treat all of your professional encounters as if your future depends on it. Ask lots of questions to those who have lived abroad.
- Extend the offer to help. A colleague of mine uses the analogy: employing an ATC, for the first time, is similar to when you first upgraded to a smartphone. Once you get an understanding of all the features, there's no going back. Get your foot in the door by volunteering. Be brave and creative.
- The backdoor. Start with a non-traditional route to set up an athletic training role for yourself abroad. Teaching English abroad is quite readily available and great way to get started in foreign country. Or working at a gym. Or sport coaching. Or administrative assistant. Or work at a hostel. Anything that gets you integrated into a community or potential employer. Then let the ATC skills shine.
- Dual citizenship. Were one of your parents, grandparents, great grandparents born in foreign country? There may be benefits of having two passports - if you qualify. For example: being a citizen in a European Union country allows you to work/reside anywhere within in the EU without the barriers of visas, work permits, etc.
- Working Holiday. Whether you're American, Canadian, British or any other nationality: the odds are that your home country has a "Working Holiday" visa agreement with another country. If you meet the requirements, this may allow you to easily reside/work abroad.
- Foreign language. If you have some foundation in a foreign language, take the time to improve fluency. Yes, 1 billion people do speak English. But, 1 billion also speak Chinese and 600 million Spanish/French. There are many free/cheap applications to help you get started.
Ultimately, if you are dedicated to moving abroad, you're going to have make the leap. Whether you have every single detail ironed out or not, you can always get on the plane.