Can’t Wait to Get Back Overseas

Hello International Schools Review. I’m an American who just spent my first-ever year overseas. I’m back in the States until mid-August and have to say, reuniting with my own culture in terms of having experienced life in another culture is a real eye-opener!

I’ve been teaching in a Latin American city with a somewhat European feel. I love it! Strangers greet each other with a “buenos dias” as they pass on the sidewalk. They smile and wish each other “buen provecho” in restaurants. There’s a standard level of decorum, civility, kindness and politeness I’ve not experienced in my homeland. Most assuring, there’s a welcoming attitude extended towards foreigners (that’s me). All this is in sharp contrast to the divisive sociopolitical atmosphere of alienation and mistrust I’m feeling right now in America. I find myself always feeling an edge of anxiety while home for this summer.

Never before have I seen so many prime-time TV commercials touting drugs for anxiety, depression, insomnia. I can see why! Yesterday, for example, I pulled out in front of some guy in traffic and he went ballistic on me, yelling obsenities out the window, flipping me the bird, all over something so insignificant. I wondered: Maybe he can’t affored his meds? Could he have a gun? Is going to take his private griefs and anxiety out on me because I was just the last straw before his breakdown? In my Latin American “home,” a driver would’ve just nodded in understanding and waved me on. But not here.

Then there’s the sudden proliferation of TV lawyers asking: Have I been in an accident? Have I slipped and/or fallen at work, or been discriminated against because of my age, gender, sexual orientation? There seems to be an entire army of lawyers ready to make anything and everything that happens to me someone else’s responsibility — and make money for themselves by doing so. They are at once contributing to, and a result of, the adversaries we’ve become.

Has it always been like this in America? I think not. Or, maybe this divisive atmosphere crept in so slowly and imperceptibly that I subconsciously adapted and accepted it as the status quo of life in the US? In any case, the atmosphere now makes me anxious and, at times, sleepless. People here, including myself, are seriously on edge.

I could go on and on but the point is, I’m so happy to be going back overseas this month! I’ve found something better, at least for me. I’ll be an International Educator for years to come and at this juncture in my life I will probably retire overseas.

Anyone else have the same realization after going overseas? Have you remained overseas? I’d love to hear about the transformation other educators have experienced going international.

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