June 2009: So, You Call Yourself a Traveller

So, You Call Yourself a Traveller

This is for those nurses, therapists, and technologists who call themselves "travellers."

Working as a traveler in the United States attracts individuals who have no dependents, or other reasons which keep them in one location. It also pays better. It allows you to live in parts of the US you might not otherwise have reason to visit, and, because your licensing is arranged for you, and your housing and your relocation costs are paid, it is made easy for you. Finally, you meet new people, make new friends, and learn how things are managed (or mismanaged) in different hospitals.

Working in the Middle East is, in many ways, like a long-term travel assignment:

  • With a minimum contract of one year, the assignments are longer than the usual 13-week contracts in the US, but one year is still short.

  • As in the US, housing is provided by the hospital, and includes furnishings, basic linens, basic housewares, and utilities.

  • Also, as in the US, licensing is easy. It is essentially by endorsement of your American or Canadian license.

  • Relocation airfare is paid, as is healthcare.

  • And while travelers in the US earn a higher salary and, we are told, can get some tax perks, income in the Middle East is tax-free.

But there are also significant advantages for those travelers who are motivated by seeing new places, meeting new people, and having new experiences, both personal and professional. Working in Saudi Arabia is geographically and culturally unlike anything you will see in North America. The desert is stark and beautiful, the patients will intrigue you, and your colleagues will be from places as varied as Australia, Palestine, Ireland, and South Africa. You can camp in the desert. You can learn to play golf or tennis, or take lessons in bridge or salsa dancing.

Finally, working as a traveller in the US, you are not paid for vacation time. In Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, you get 54 days of paid vacation per year. That's almost two months of vacation each year, during which time you can see the Pyramids, ski in Switzerland, or hike the Great Wall of China.

So why not do some real traveling?

Helen Ziegler

June, 2009

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