As I embark on my second year I was faced with the question
Are you cut out for life abroad?
Look this life ain’t easy. I should say the middle East ain’t easy cause I’ve only taught in the one country. I’ve run into people who have taught in other countries in addition to the middle East and trust me when I say the consensus is the middle East is not easy.
Yes The money is easy but it’s all about your mindset and attitude.
This year started off pretty rough and I thought about quitting and even going back to the states. New people new admin new role new everything. Man I was stressed. I just wanted easy back. I had to re-evaluate and ask
Are you cut out for life abroad?
You miss family. You miss friends. You miss Chik-fil-a yes I know trivial but you’d be surprised the random things you miss. I miss biscuits and a real southern breakfast. I miss sausage patties. I miss grits. I miss options for a nightlife at times.
Then I remember I don’t miss bills. I don’t miss struggling. I don’t miss work stress or stress in general. I don’t miss not being able to travel. I don’t miss not having a nanny/maid.
I love being able to pick a country and book a flight. I love not worrying about adult things like bills. I love providing for my child this life.
The trade off is worth it but baby for about 20 good days I didn’t think so.
There are days and this year it was 20 days, that you wanna throw in the towel. There are moments you question your sanity. There are moments you question yourself as a parent. Am I doing more harm than good?
I received my daughter’s test scores from when she went to the states to take her state test and she made an 89% in math and 84% in ELA. Home school win!
Being told you are being considered for an outside classroom position…teacher win!
See those are moments that make it worth it. There are times you have to think of the bigger picture buckle down and get your life right.
You have to learn that you are no longer in America and it is not supposed to be America. Embrace the new culture, new country, new experience for what it is worth.
Not everyone is cut out for this life. Homesickness is real. Disorganization is REAL. Every school will experience what we call “runners.” These are the people that bounce in the middle of the night never to return. They go on a break and never return. Some go back to their home country some go to another country all together. I am serious some things about a country or a school will drive you insane. You have to keep an open mind. Stay focused on your goals and your purpose for coming abroad in the first place. Take the first couple of months to observe and get settled in. Don’t come over trying to make your host country America. Don’t come over trying to make your new school like your school back in America. Yes there is always room for improvement but it is not always welcomed. Learn the school and culture of the school. I have seen people get fired for making changes, too much too soon. I have seen contracts not renewed because they got all these brilliant ideas that will now pass off as their own. There is no union. There is barely job security. Brown-nosing is real. Your passport holds more weight than your actual education and degree.
When considering this move abroad talk to people who have been abroad longer than a year. Those who aren’t in that honeymoon phase of living abroad. Those who will shoot it to you straight. Find people at your school, your grade level and/or subject. Every school will be different. Every grade level will be different. No two people will have the same experience. Start networking early.
I networked via Facebook. I have friends for life. I have friends with contacts across this globe. Is it scary? YEP. Will it be worth it? that’s for you to decide. For me it has been worth it. The good, the bad, and the ugly has been worth it.
Ask yourself are you cut out for life abroad?