Since her days at National University – Florida site, Jennifer Gantzer, DC, (NUHS ’14) always knew she wanted to practice chiropractic medicine overseas. She was specifically interested in New Zealand, one of the first countries outside North America to license chiropractic physicians. She never imagined that after a few years operating a solo-practice, she would get the chance to practice in the Netherlands.
“I was at a pivot in my occupational career where I needed to either open a small business loan, hire a staff, and find a new building or the other option was to sell everything I own and leave,” Dr. Gantzer said.
As chiropractic medicine gains in popularity throughout the world, graduates interested in practicing abroad are no longer limited to a handful of countries. Today, chiropractic medicine is practiced on every continent.
By performing a simple Google search, Dr. Gantzer found an opening in the Netherlands at an existing practice owned by an American chiropractor. After a few Skype interviews then an in-person interview overseas, Dr. Gantzer was hired as an independent contractor so she can establish her own patient base. She sold many of her belongings and made the move overseas in October.
“There was a gut feeling of ‘this feels right’ along with a fascination of the Netherlands,” Dr. Gantzer said. “The decision was easy.”
In the Netherlands, chiropractic medicine is covered by most insurance providers. Before being able to practice, Dr. Gantzer first had to obtain her green card then register with the Netherland’s Chamber of Commerce, the International Chiropractors Association and Dutch Chiropractic Federation. She also took an on-site five-day intensive language course.
Despite the challenges of getting used to the new culture, Dr. Gantzer is excited for her career ahead. In her first few months in the Netherlands, Dr. Gantzer has learned that patients are generally familiar with the benefits of chiropractic medicine, particularly as an alternative to medication and surgery. She also expects to work integratively with physical therapists (PTs), another discipline that is popular in the Netherlands.
“Many experience great relief with chiropractic, allowing their physical therapy to be more effective using less treatments,” Dr. Gantzer said. “With our diagnostic skills and training also in physical therapy, my supervisor and I have a very powerful effect on the lives of the patients here, alone in chiropractic or co-managed with their PTs.”
For those interested in practicing abroad, she shares some valuable tips:
- Take language or culture courses to better familiarize yourself with the language and customs.
- Have a mentor who can help you through culture shock and policies.
- In addition to travel costs, prepare financially for shipping and customs costs of your belongings.
- Be sure you have outlets for managing stress and practice them.
- Be adaptable and ready for difficulties.
- If you can afford it, hire an immigration attorney or study the immigration process.
- Have money saved. During the immigration process, you might not be able to work.
- Have a vision for the future, it will help get you through the transition.