Dear Family & Friends,
Today is the last day of school of my fifth year of international teaching! While I miss you all dearly, I have largely enjoyed my five years of life overseas.
Mexico, China, and Venezuela have all been lovely places to live in one way or another. I’ve had amazing experiences, visited extraordinary sights, and learned a few important lessons along the way.
It was here that I first began my overseas journey. I fell in love with international teaching in Mexico.
Lesson: Value my time and make sure I take a job where I make more than $1000 a month!
I had the chance to explore a little bit of Asia and learned some important lessons (which I will mention below).
Lesson: Do not let the dollar signs of a new job sway my better thinking. I learned what I am truly looking for in an international teaching job while I was in China.
I finally found a country where I wanted to stay for a good chunk of time! So far I’ve spent three years here, and I’ve signed on for another year (and hope to stay at least two years after that).
Lesson: While a country might be labeled “dangerous”, “no travel”, or (being very nice) simply “difficult”, a certain type of person just might enjoy living there anyway.
10 Other Lessons I’ve Learned Somewhere Along the Way:
- Always read an employment contract carefully.
- Research, research, research! Find out about the country, the city, and the school that you will potentially be working at BEFORE you sign the contract.
- Money is not the most important factor when choosing a job- even if you have a mountain of student loan debt!
- Make friends with locals if you really want to learn about a culture.
- Try to learn some of the local language if you want to have a bit of an easier time.
- Don’t be afraid to put your heart on the line even if you know that you might not be staying in one place for very long.
- Use your host country as a travel base, but also be sure to explore as much as you can within the country too.
- Try out a new grade because it just might be exactly what you were looking for.
- Eat like the locals do.
- Keep learning by trying new things, taking new classes, eating new foods, going outside of your comfort zone, and getting to know yourself better.
I have absolutely no intention of quitting this lifestyle. While it has its ups and downs like everything in life, the life of an international teacher is exactly what I was dreaming of and I don’t ever want it to stop!
Are you a long term expat? Do you plan on living overseas for an extended period of time? What is a lesson that you learned along the way?