Today’s post is the 2nd in an Expat Link-up series by Molly over at The Move to America. The topic today is ‘The Reason I Left’ – share why you became an expat. What made you choose a particular place or the traveling lifestyle? Has it been what you expected? What did you consider/wish you had considered before you moved? End with three tips that may help people figure out if a big move is for them.
If you’ve read any of my posts from the Expat Blog Challenge led by Cristin at In an Opal Hearted Country you know why I left. If you haven’t read those other posts, well, you should. But if you don’t have the time, here’s a brief recap.
I left because:
1. Kimi made me.
2. I couldn’t say no.
3. I really, really had to.
Since I feel like I’ve covered the why a few times, let’s talk about the since it happened. Was it what I expected? No. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know the international teaching world existed. Like a lot of people, I thought ‘teaching overseas’ meant teaching English in China (which I almost, almost did once). That’s all. I had no idea that there was a network of international schools covering this great planet. I couldn’t fathom that Americans, Canadians, Australians, South Africans, Kiwis, Chinese, Japanese, Mexicans and more could gather at one school to teach. And it was impossible to believe that all these people were connected before they met, just because of what they do.
I was also shocked to say the least at the behavior of my fellow teachers. When I first left home, I went to the DR, along with a whole pack of young, single, rather attractive men and women. Who liked to surf. And party. I will leave it up to your imagination what shenanigans they got up to, but I will say that it changed my views on how my high school history teacher might have been spending his weekends.
Why did I choose to live where I’m living? The thing about this lifestyle is that, at least for the Rugby Star and me, we don’t have a lot of choice in where we go next. Being a specialist couple, we’re not really top of the list for schools so when we recruit, we might have a pick of three places, tops. And usually only one of those is really desirable… sometimes, not even that (how I ended up in Shanghai). Once, we literally had nothing. We went to a job fair, had one interview, and didn’t get the job. We flew back to China with nothing. Nothing.
Thank the Lord for Facebook.
What did consider or wish I had considered before I left… nothing really. I think that if I had thought about it too much more, I might’ve found a way to chicken out. This lifestyle has revealed so much to me, about myself and the world. I would have been an idiot to miss out.
Three Tips- Is Moving Overseas for You?
1. Consider your relationship with your family. My family often makes me feel guilty for not being home, but I know that deep down, they’re proud of me for what I’m doing and who I’ve become. Talk to your family- moms and dads, grandparents, siblings- before making a big decision like this. Help them to understand why you’re doing it and what you want out of making a big move like this. You don’t need their permission, but the support is a big plus.
2. Consider why you want to move overseas. Are you looking for an adventure for a few years? Are you hoping to make a career in another country? Are you escaping the law? Why exactly are you leaving and what do you hope to accomplish? Know this before you leave. It may help you decide where to go.
3. Consider how brave you are. If you want an adventure but you’re shy or intimidated by new places and faces, consider moving somewhere that will not present you too many challenges to start. Perhaps a country where your native language is primarily spoken or at least spoken. Perhaps a city you’ve visited before or a place where you might have extended family or friends nearby. Culture shock is a real thing and if you aren’t big on big change, start little. If you’re up for anything, heck, pack a bag and move to the Amazon. Just consider how much change you can handle at one time.