The pharmaceutical industry spans the entire globe, and draws from each region to discover, develop, produce, and market drugs for medication (we’re talking beyond Flintstones gummies here). This is an international endeavor at its finest; all parts must work together to share expertise and develop the most effective solutions to humanity’s ailments. Many developers spend time abroad to research and to forge relationships, so travel is a huge component of any successful pharmaceutical company. Show your employer you’re willingness to explore the world and apply for international pharmaceutical jobs!
Why work abroad in Pharmaceuticals
Pharmaceutical jobs abroad are the absolute best way to tie in your education with your real world plans. Learning the ropes from more experienced professionals (not just from “Breaking Bad” characters) is only enhanced when you do it abroad.
Besides expertise in the science behind drug development, pharmaceutical physicians also need to understand the business aspect. Before you become a pharmaceutical whiz, you’ll need to understand the pharmacoeconomics, corporate relations, and business administration elements involved with a company running smoothly. Showing you can work as part of a team—especially one as diverse as an international crew overseas—will make you stand out when applying for your eventual first job!
There’s also the social impact of healthcare on patients. Traveling increases your awareness of other cultures and sympathizes you to causes beyond what you might normally be aware of. Gaining a better understanding of yourself and in turn understanding others = a win win!
The best place to do your internship is the one that calls most strongly to you. That being said, there are a few countries that stand out in the pharmaceutical world for their world-class facilities, hyper-focus on innovation, and encouragement of young talent.
Scotland has a long history of excellence in the field of medicine, and while they don’t like to brag, they’re actually responsible for Penicillin, anesthesia in childbirth, successful early malaria treatments, and that (super pharma-cute-ical) white coat worn by doctors! Today they have some of the top research universities in the world, aka state-of-the-art equipment, qualified professors, and awesome steak pies.
The pharmaceutical industry in Denmark is known throughout the world for providing some of the highest quality drugs and medical equipment. The research industry started there over 150 years ago with agriculture, and the tradition has now expanded to include a vibrant and growing pharmaceutical research community.
Australia is also a huge innovator. There are dozens of large, fully-funded research projects going on at any one time, and their vast landscapes—both at land and sea—provide hundreds of resources for developing medicine. Enjoy some delicious Tim Tams while you’re on break from changing the world!
Germany has the largest chemical industry in Europe, and is famous for opening its arms to young students and interns. English is spoken widely, so you can get that crucial pharmaceutical experience, while still being located in Western Europe (close to dozens of other countries doing similar work). Some companies, like Bayer, offer pharmaceutical research jobs abroad and then will hire you upon return to your home country.
The field of healthcare is growing, faster than a strain of Bacillus stearothermophilus! (trust us, that’s fast!). With so many different applications available, a degree in pharmaceutical sciences opens the door to a huge number of careers. You’ve got anything from healthcare administration, nursing, drug development, sales, and even veterinary medicine as avenues to explore your love for creating new solutions to the ever-changing beast that is disease.
Internationally you can find yourself working from the ground up for companies like Bayer, Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer. You might start by keeping notes or making deliveries, but with time and practice you can find yourself hooking up IVs, drawing blood, and otherwise saving lives. Go you.
To qualify for pharmaceutical jobs abroad, most companies are looking for candidates who have already completed at least one year of higher education, and preferably 3-4. Certain positions require specific skills, so start researching your ideal placement early. That way if they ask you to know about the OLTP database, for example, you can do your research and come across like a pro come application time.
Having an international internship under your belt will certainly help when applying to national ones, which will most likely to lead to a career. School can only teach you so much; companies are looking for not just hands-on experience, but also a go-getting attitude that tells them you’ll rock their company as an intern!
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop on International Pharmaceuticals Jobs
One awesome part of pharmaceuticals jobs abroad are the dozens of different viewpoints you’ll come across. While certain parts of medicine are cut and dry, others are open to pretty varied interpretation. Every culture attacks a problem differently, and it’s so so beneficial to be exposed to the idea that the sky is truly the limit when coming up with a solution. You can’t solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created it, so getting out of your box can only be an asset!
The excitement of living abroad and the casual atmosphere of many workplaces can trick you into thinking you’re on extended holiday. While it’s super important to bond with your coworkers (for your sanity if nothing else!), keep in mind this is a job, and certain protocol applies. Try to find out what something is ahead of time, and if any questions arise during your time—vocalize! People want you to succeed, so just keep open lines of communication and try—especially in the beginning—to follow the general vibe of the office. Observe first, and you won’t be regretting later.
Thanks to science, and the predictable nature of math, there are a lot of constants in medicine. This makes for fewer misunderstandings, even when there is a bit of a language barrier. But because of the potentially serious consequences of even the simplest confusions, make sure you do study the language if necessary, and when in doubt, ask!
Working on real-world problems with leaders in your field is the best possible bridge between your formal education and the start of your new career. Maybe even open a pharmacy abroad? Doing this internationally only expands your network of experts, and gives you a unique perspective of what you can bring to the company that eventually hires you. All in all there’s no downside, only the chance to grow, develop, and with any luck, change the world!