Ask any International Educator and chances are they’ll tell you the allure of the unknown, the unpredictability of the experience, and the severing of ties with the day-to-day predictability back home, are why they took the leap.
Sometimes, however, we get more than we bargained for. Extreme, unpredicted events can be overwhelming for one educator, while for another a welcomed opportunity. Who’s to say which reaction is better than another’s? Each experienced a powerful, impacting event that to some degree changed their perception of the world. Mission accomplished!
The following comments transplanted here from our ISR Discussion Topic, China, Covid Lock-downs & Mental Health, reminds us to respect the way in which each of us deals with events beyond our comfort zone:
“Well, for starters, I have a colleague who honestly says he enjoyed his lockdown experience. Personally, I wouldn’t give up my lockdown experience for anything. One of the big reasons I decided to teach internationally was because I enjoy experiencing other cultures and living in the rules and laws that govern those places I choose to live in, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Shanghai lockdown was a truly once in a lifetime and unique experience and may never be replicated. It’s an anthropological treasure trove as it’s so unique. I saw how people banded together to find innovative ways of helping each other (group buys), how barter systems arise naturally, how top-down command and control dynamics play out in real time, and how humans are capable of a totally different way of collaborating under extreme conditions.
Many people forget that the whole idea of “lockdown” originated in Wuhan in the very beginning of the pandemic, and that idea was imported by many other countries, even if it didn’t match their own ideals, constitutions, or values. For China, this was the standard game-plan from the very beginning, so I wasn’t surprised when it happened in Shanghai and was more than ready mentally and with food supplies stocked.
People discredit China’s approach as being draconian (and it IS extreme) without looking at the number of lives the approach saved. They also forget that China has not shown the world how it plans to see its way out of the pandemic, and so, it’s too early to judge whether the social “cost” of the lockdowns was worth it or not.
It’s not like the rest of the world didn’t go through tough times as well. In China, I remember nearly 2 years where China was completely normal while the rest of the world was being ravaged by the pandemic. All was calm in China at the time. So, it’s important to see things from the perspective of the people that lived inside China at that time to have a measured view on it.
All this to say, this was my own experience, and I realize that many people had a very difficult time, either mentally, or physically, and their experiences should be respected and not discounted. Every person had a different experience, not just in China, but globally. Let’s continue to be kind to one another.“
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