Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Are You Comfortable Overseas?

Have you done a lot of travelling overseas? If so, then living and working in a foreign country will probably come easier to you. However, there is quite a difference between visiting a country as a tourist and actually working there.

Some people handle the change better than others. A completely different culture, different customs, laws, food, weather, language, expectations and conflict of beliefs are a lot to handle all at once. Many people go overseas to teach with a friend (sometimes a spouse). This offers built-in support for each other if the need arises…homesickness, medical problem, adjusting, etc. 

I find that people go through stages. How long each stage lasts varies with the individual, home ties and travel experience.

Stage 1: Everything is new, fun and exciting.

Stage 2: Getting down to work and learning the routines. Still OK.

Stage 3: Missing family, friends and food…the comfort zone! Need encouragement. Go out for local pizza or a Big Mac. Email helps, too!

Stage 4: Making friends, learning the language, starting to enjoy and appreciate the good things about your adopted culture. I recommend that you don’t plan a trip home until you reach this stage which may take a year. OK again.

Stage 5: You survived a trip home and are ready to come back and resume teaching. It’s beginning to feel like home. Now you’re fine!

Teaching is a fantastic experience and the other benefits are tremendous… immersion in a new culture… travelling and seeing a new part of the world… learning a new language… broadening your understanding of the world…  meeting new people… perhaps even finding someone special to share good times… and maybe someone to share your life as I did.
Do you have my e-book “Introduction to Teaching Overseas”? If not, you can get it free from the Sunbridge website. 

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