In Charlotte’s homework setting for thing 10 cpd23 – thing 10 she apologises to any international librarians for it being so uk-centric. I guess in a way after three years abroad I qualify as an international librarian, but my route into librarianship has been the arch-typical representation of what Charlotte writes about. I never really thought about working abroad until I ended up doing it. I did a graduate traineeship at a university library straight after my undergraduate degree, decided I wanted to be a librarian and went straight back to uni to do my masters at UCL. After that, I spent 3 years working as a children’s librarian in public libraries, during which time I did my Chartership. Which was annoying at times, but on the whole very worth doing.
At that point, it started to catch up on me that I had never done the big year out thing before or after uni, and I started getting restless. Deciding that I was either going to do it then, or it would never happen, I started looking to see if I could get a volunteer position somewhere abroad as a librarian. After a lot of searching and a few applications, I got a position at Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos as a librarian/general volunteer at their children’s home in Mexico. I had a tough but very rewarding year, and was looking forward to going back home, and getting back into public library work with a refreshed attitude. Which is when someone happened to email out another job being advertised in Bangkok – thank you Doug Knock! The position at the school out here sounded so amazing that I thought “well, I can’t not apply”… and then when I was lucky enough to be offered the job, “well, I can’t not do it now”… After two years out here I’m still professionally very happy, and have just renewed contract for another two years.
So, to answer Charlotte’s question, I took the very stereotypical route, and ended up wandering off it just by chance. But doing the stereotypical Chartership did help to get my job in Bangkok, so these things do pay off in the strangest ways! I’d really recommend international work to anyone thinking about it. In particular, waiting until you have a professional skill (eg. librarianship), then getting a job abroad specifically using that (as opposed to serving pints in an aussie bar somewhere), gives you an entirely different experience, and one that enables you to return to the UK (if you wish) with more rather than less to talk about. Whether that’s at an interivew or among friends at the local aussie bar.