As with everything else, there are sacrifices that have to be made. When teaching abroad there are some MAJOR drawbacks. But, of course, there are also some MAJOR benefits!
Teaching Abroad: Pros
I have not ever heard of schools in the States paying for any of the following: roundtrip airfare to home country, housing, utilities, contributing to retirement – not social security, which is not going to be funded when I’m ready to be retire! But, the mid- to high-tier international schools do! They also tend to waive tuition fees for students who have an employed parent. For the schools we’ve taught in, that means a $15000+ a year education for FREE! Usually they waive for two children…which is why we stopped at two. (Plus, our second is a little spit fire and I’m not sure we’d have any hair left if we had a third.)
The travel experiences from each of the three countries we’ve lived in (Colombia, UAE, Burkina Faso) vary as greatly as the culture, religious beliefs, and landscape of those countries. Now, I know there are people in the States that would argue that you can see EVERYTHING you could want to see in the U.S. And, they would be mostly right. BUT, you would not be experiencing those natural (or historical, or manmade) beauties alongside locals from a different culture or background. Rarely have I heard anyone speaking two or three languages when visiting a landmark in the States.
I LOVE the diversity of living and traveling abroad. And, just to be clear, your experiences LIVING abroad are also vastly different from TRAVELING abroad.
Global education and cultural understanding
Time away from the States gives me so much perspective! And, I’m grateful for the opportunity to provide a different (or many) point of view for our daughters. They will not be raised in one particular state or state of mind. They will be global citizens. Aware of what goes on around the world.
Likewise, my girls will also be more understanding of different cultures because they will be a part of them. Their friends will more than likely be from a different country and culture.
Teaching Abroad: Cons
One of the HARDEST things about being abroad is that life goes on without you. All of those wonderful people that you left – family and friends – continue living their lives. And, sometimes, you get a call that shakes you to your core…someone you love and care for has been injured or has died. This is the WORST possible moment because you know there is nothing you can do. You are thousands of miles away…
Another tough spot is that if you have kids some people believe they will never have a place to call home. My argument is that my girls will call the world their home. Although, because we return every year to Texas, they will still identify that as where they are from.
When you live abroad, it is much easier to have a HUGE perspective shift. The way you view the world changes, because now you have other experiences that support new ideas and beliefs. Unfortunately, with your new outlook, your family and friends’ same perspective may create rifts or arguments.
And, more simply, your world probably doesn’t include things such as mowing lawns, or changing tires, or other first world problems that come with owning a house or car. This creates a VERY real divide between who you are and who you used to be and it’s a big challenge for those who stayed behind to understand the new you.
Have you lived or traveled abroad? Tell me your story below!
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