An allure exists around living and working overseas. An international move gives people an opportunity to start again, to redefine themselves, and to experience a new way of life. A case of wanderlust presents a special set of challenges for career counselors. Discover some helpful tips for counseling clients determined to work abroad.
Help Clients Identify the Reasons for Moving
Image via Flickr by Aero Icarus
Understanding clients’ reasons for moving overseas will be the key to your interactions with them. You’ll gain insight into your clients’ motivations and give you something to focus on for your sessions with them. Some clients may find articulating their reasons for wanting to pursue a career overseas difficult, but be patient and help them find the answer. Realizing this motivation will help steady and inspire them when the move seems overwhelming.
Help Clients Identify Personal Strengths and Weaknesses
A move overseas is a time for self-reflection. Your clients will need to draw on all of their strengths during this time of transition and overcome any personal obstacles that may hold them back or interfere with good decision-making.
Your job is to help your clients find their strengths and weaknesses, then help them put into place strategies for transition that consider these qualities. For example, if some clients are naturally anxious about change, you might offer relaxation exercises, which can help calm them down. If they love meeting new people, you might suggest strategies to help them once they arrive in their new homes.
Assist Clients in Clarifying Career Goals
Just as you would with clients looking for local job opportunities, you’ll need to help your clients clarify their goals for employment abroad.
Some clients might like to stay within the fields they’re trained for, while others might want to use their international moves to make a complete career change. Considering their strengths and weaknesses are important, particularly if they’re not sure what job they want to pursue. A client moving to a foreign country might also want to teach English, while one moving to a third-world country may want to join a humanitarian organization.
Make sure you research any training required so you can recommend courses your clients will need to get their dream jobs.
The Counseling Part Is Crucial
The counseling part of career counseling is crucial when working with people moving overseas. Moving is the third most stressful event people will ever face, exceeded only by the death of a loved one and divorce. When people are moving a significant distance, like to another country, this stress can compound further. Even if people are excited to make the moves, they’re likely to have doubts about their decisions and fears about their next steps.
You’ll need to use all the skills you learned studying for your Master of Arts in Counseling to offer the emotional support your clients need before their moves.
Counseling clients who want to live and work abroad brings distinct challenges, but with the tips above, you can help them during this important time of transition.