..Educators striving to land their first international teaching position have probably not stopped to considered the huge transformational adventure that lies ahead. For the uninitiated, the personal growth that comes from living and teaching abroad will far exceed any preconceived ideas of what the international teaching experience has in store.
..If you’re teaching overseas now, you’re sure to agree that it is the most challenging, yet satisfying thing you’ve done in your lifetime. Everyone I know says the experience altered the very essence of who they are…Wow!
..Foreign travel is life-changing. Immerse yourself in new sights, sounds, smells, people and a culture far different from your own, and that impact is magnified many times over. With familiarity a thing of the past, life’s challenges take on new dimensions, especially since your go-to points of reference for dealing with people and situations are no longer valid.
..With a typical two-year Contract commitment, you can’t simply go back home when things don’t go your way. Hence, you have the option to accept “what is” and work with it, or frustrate yourself trying to make “what isn’t” into what you expect it to be. Either path makes us to take stock in who we are at our core and forces us to evolve. Herein lies the transformational journey underlying international teaching and living.
..There will, most likely, be scars and occasional hard knocks along the way, but that’s true of any worthwhile endeavor. Educators who have experienced life overseas say they are more open, patient, accepting and understanding than before embarking on their extended international experience. All report that they are different people today than they would be had they stayed home (and gotten a 9-5, bought a house/car/rooms of furniture and entered into the Western tradition of debt, debt and more debt).
..Material possessions fade from interest and style. International living/teaching experiences and their effect on our lifes are ours to keep forever. I wouldn’t trade mine for anything!
ISR Asks: Has living and teaching overseas changed you? In what ways?