“DREAMING OF LIVING AND WORKING ABROAD”?

“DREAMING OF LIVING AND WORKING ABROAD”?

Every child hears the question “ What do you want to be when you grow up?”


It is the question of hopes and dreams.


Was yours to live and work overseas?

 

Maybe you are one of the few children that could honestly see your future career abroad. But, I believe most kids from industrialized nations do not envision a life far away from the security of home; at least not in primary school. And, the thought of going abroad to live and work happens only after high school, university training or a working career.

 

For each person the road to becoming an expat living abroad may share similarities but each road is unique to itself. The first significant step for most people who move abroad is negotiating and signing an employment contract  (whether a voluntary Peace Corp/NGO commitment or paid professional position contract).

 

However…

Before that point, every person must, like a child, contemplate the idea of expatriate hood—- living and working internationally.

 

Similar to questions about the future dreams of a child, the adult contemplating going international must contemplate, visualize, and exam his/her reasons and expectations for moving far from the motherland.

 

To begin, try and ask your self to respond to these statements and questions…

If you like to draw use that modality to explore yourself.

If you like to sing, use that modality to explore yourself.

If you like to pantomime use that modality to explore yourself.

 

 

My name is…

 

 

Who am I?

 

 

I now live in…

 

 

I want to live in…

 

 

I want to work doing….

 

 

I want to work for…

 

 

I am ready to be

 

 

I expect to be separated from family and I feel…

 

 

I expect to be separated from friends and I feel,

 

 

I expect to learn….

 

 

I expect to see….

 

 

I expect to be challenged by these things…

 

 

I expect these similarities in life….

 

 

I expect these differences….

 

 

I expect danger…

 

 

I expect safety….

 

 

Overall, I expect from life…

 

 

REMEMBER every expat situation is unique. Some people go abroad simply to provide for family because there is no work in their homeland.  Others are lucky enough to do it alone or move their family with them overseas. What ever your situation is analyze these statements…

 

 

Visualize yourself saying good-bye to your grandparents…

 

 

 

Visualize yourself saying good-bye to your parents…

 

 

 

Visualize yourself saying good-bye to your g/boy friend or spouse…

 

 

 

Visualize yourself saying good-bye to your children…

 

 

Visualize getting on the plane….

 

 

Visualize the place you have never seen…

 

 

Visualize customs and entering a foreign country for the first time…

 

 

Visualize what you think the environment looks like…

 

 

Visualize your working environment…

 

 

Visualize the people…

 

 

Hear the languages…

 

 

Hearing and not understanding…

 

 

See your self culturally assimilating (Do you know the term ‘cultural assimilation’?)

 

 

See yourself trying to communicate differently

 

 

See yourself pantomiming…

 

 

See yourself simplifying and slowing down your English….

 

 

Feel yourself frustrated, confused, not sure…

 

 

Feel yourself excited and willing…

 

 

 

Age yourself…

 

 

Negotiating your first contract (Do you know what you want already or do you need to research more about expat contracts?)

 

 

1 years living abroad

 

 

Imagine you family visiting for two weeks…

 

 

 

3 years living abroad

 

 

 

7 years living abroad

 

 

Imagine getting married….

 

Imagine your spouse from a different culture and introducing parents…

 

 

 

9 years living abroad

 

Imagine your first baby born….

 

Imagine your mother or father staying in your home for a minimum of one month…

 

 

11 years abroad

 

 

 

15 years living abroad

 

Imagine your parents coming to stay for three months…

 

 

25 years living abroad

 

Imagine your children leaving for university to a foreign country without you near by…

 

 

30 years living abroad

 

Imagine having to leave your job and spouse and family to go back to your homeland to take care of your dying parent…

 

Imagine your parents dying and you cannot get home….

 

 

40 years living abroad

 

Imagine your best child hood friend sick and you can not get home…

 

 

Experiencing the loss of your relatives, especially your parents to their death while you are away?

 

 

Dying overseas…

 

 

To seek to be an expat means to consider a life of unknowns. And many who leave never return to their homeland ……so dying overseas is a possibility and it can happen at any age of the process….

 

 

Now, that you have spent some time contemplating,


Compare now your thinking after doing this basic exercise…

 

What did you learn by yourself?

What questions do you have now?

Did any of your answers, any of your visualizations surprise you?

What’s your present reason for going abroad?

What’s your present thought about expatriate hood?

Compare your reality at age twelve to the reality today?

Are you holding true to yourself with your goals to go international?

Are you clear with the career track, the profession you want to do overseas?

 

 

In conclusion:

 

My experience was this….

I was a child who knew what I wanted to do at age twelve… I knew I wanted to see the world, to be a psychologist, to help people. I knew because I had pen pals from the Baltic to the Far East to Latin America. I knew because my heart was in San Francisco with the Chinese and the Italians living side by side. To me going outside the Golden Gate was not something I feared it was something I accepted as my destiny.

I embraced my dreams to fly far away, to live abroad.

I did it alone…

 

In the late 1970’s not a single person in my immediate circle of family and friends gave me any direction or advice. (Not because they did not want to but because they simply did not know).

 

Today, adults contemplating expatriate hood are blessed to have information available and a wide variety of career people who can give advise and support.

 

Yet,

 

For children today, especially for a 12 year old I foster from Papua New Guinea her dreams include leaving her country for a very different reason than mine in 1970’s—– simply to find a better life in a safer place, in a country with opportunities like Australia or New Zealand or Hong Kong (not unlike however the immigration of Europeans to American grandparents in the 19th and 20th century).  She pantomimes in clothes from other countries, watches western TV, plays with expatriate playmates, studies with foreign tutors and talks of going abroad for her unique reasons to be come an artist…Her dreams like mine early in life influenced by her environment, yet such different environments with such widely different opportunities.

 

 

For you: The reader, the student, the wantabe volunteer, aid worker, teacher, and the executive…

 

The world of expatriate hood awaits your decision based on more than dreaming.  Starting with these statements and questions here in.

 

 

 

MORE READING…

 

Living Abroad

By Psychologist Cathy Tsang-Feign

 

http://www.livingabroadbook.com/abroad2.htm

 

 

GenXpat:

The Young Professional’s Guide to Making a Successful Life Abroad

By Margaret Malewski

 

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1931930236/qid=1131553508/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1?v=glance

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 × three =