Going on an international locum tenens assignment with family? Here are 4 basic questions answered.

Not all locum tenens doctors fly solo. In fact, physicians who take international locum tenens assignments range in their career stages, from early to late career. Some even come out of retirement to experience their very own unique adventure. That means lifestyles and family situations greatly vary. You may want to bring along your kids and pets. Or you may just want to bring your spouse. If you’re going on your first assignment and don’t know what to expect then read about these doctors’ experiences in Australia and New Zealand. They’ll fill you in on their stints overseas.

Though if you’re looking for information more specific to going on locum tenens assignment with family then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll fill you in on the family lifestyle overseas, whether or not your spouse can work and what the education systems are like (you know, for the little ones). And don’t forget, pets are family, too. Rest assured you can bring your pets but there is a process to doing so. Without further ado, here are four basic questions answered.

What should I expect bringing my family?

To be honest there’s nothing really out of the ordinary to expect. Of course you and your family will be exposed to different cultures, unique landscapes and different ways of life but for the most part there are no bumps in the road in regards to getting there. (Keep in mind if you are bringing your family then you will be responsible for their travel costs.)

While the cultures are different they do speak English in both Australia and New Zealand, but that comes with their own creative slang and colloquialisms thrown in. All in all what you should expect in bringing your family is that you will most likely be traveling as much as humanly possible, on weekends, on your vacation, a little drive after work, whenever you have the time. Our blog is abundant with travel suggestions, check it out.

Can my spouse work?

In short, yes, your spouse can work. Australia automatically grants a work visa to the spouse of a doctor who is working in the country.

New Zealand will grant a work visa for a spouse if the doctor accepts a position that’s longer than six months in duration, but you must also apply for a longer-term visa. Here are some resources on what goes into obtaining a work visa as well as how to go about finding a job for your spouse before you even get there.

In general, though, your spouse’s ability to obtain a work visa depends on several factors and since countries vary in how they deal with this issue, it’s best to discuss the details with your physician placement specialist who can answer specific questions.

What’s the education system like?

Yes, your child can attend public school down under. In fact, both Australia and New Zealand have very well-developed public education systems as well as top-quality universities. Across the board Australia and New Zealand currently rank within the top 20 Best Countries for Education.

Many communities, too, have private schools that are reasonably priced. During your placement process you’ll be filled in on the public schooling in the area where you’ll be working. Though your kids don’t have to attend public or private school if that’s what you desire. Raymond Lewandowski, MD, one of our doctors and his wife, decided to home school their children on their first assignment in Australia years back.

Can I take my pet(s)?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is that it can be a lengthy, time-intensive process. Your physician placement specialist will steer you in the right direction, of course, providing you with guidance regarding regulations but be advised that this is a process you’ll have to undertake on your own.

In New Zealand, simply put, your cat or dog must meet health requirements and sit through a quarantine before entering the country. Find out more here. Unfortunately, for the most part, other types of pets are restricted from entering to protect the country’s ecosystem, biosecurity and overall health.

Australia has similar requirements. Your pet must have a microchip, up-to-date vaccinations plus a rabies titer test. You can learn more about Australia’s standards and procedures here.

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