A new international school job can be intense
It may be your first job overseas or your third, but many teachers experience a ‘new’ overload at the beginning of the new school year. Everything that was known and familiar has been exchanged for the ‘new’. Moving to any foreign country is undoubtedly a challenge. Adapting to a new culture, a new language, and new habits can cause a lot of stress. There are new sounds, new smells (not always nice!), new environments to explore, and a new way of life to discover.
The honeymoon phase experienced in the first few months of living in a new country can be one of the most exciting and memorable times of your life.
Don’t focus on what you miss
Amidst all of these changes, it can be tempting to find comfort in what was left behind at home. We all have the things we miss. For me, it’s sourdough bread with vegemite and a skinny cap (coffee). We spent so much time trying to find bacon and wine when we lived in Eygpt that we consumed more than when we lived at home! Whenever we returned to Eygpt from overseas our suitcase was usually stuffed full of food, usually meat. Sometimes it’s the thought of deprivation that plays on your mind.
Instead of focusing on what you miss about home and your last job, try to embrace the lifestyle you currently enjoy, for what will most likely be a couple of years.
Feta and flatbread for breakfast? Yum!
Getting to school at 7:30 am? I can do it for a short while.
Hanging the clothes out from the kitchen balcony and having it dry in an hour – great!
I’ve tried to find the good in living as much like a local as I can. It is also much cheaper!
Or the differences
Try not to be the teacher who says, “At my last school we…” in your first 6 months. Your new school may be doing what they do for a reason. I remember Nick trying to implement a ‘no hat, no play’ rule in Egypt. The parents laughed at him and said that the locals would never conform as they had been going hatless for thousands of years without sunburn and skin cancer. He backed down and made it optional!
Embrace the novelty of the ‘new’
Whatever it may be that is a hard adjustment to make, embrace it. Once you’ve done the hard work to find a new job overseas, don’t be in a rush to get home, and look forward instead to enjoying your time abroad as one of many chapters in your life journey.
Celebrate the small milestones, small moments of gratitude, and connectedness. It adds up to greater joy over time.
For more information, check out Starting off successfully