So you’ve arrived in your new country, now what? Finding your feet in a foreign landExpat life is an exciting way to live life. All the new experiences, people, culture shifts and the wonderful places that you will have the pleasure of exploring. That first “YES” after a string of interviews can get your heart pumping and your mind racing. It is your journey into a new unexplored world, an adventure, the prospect of starting a new life in a new place. So many expectations, possibilities, opportunities, and adventures await. You are excited! And you should be!
Meeting new colleagues – smile and wave.
Meeting new colleagues can be daunting at first, especially if you have never travelled before or have been accustomed to the people in the teachers’ room of your former school. Every staffroom carries with it its own vibe and sometimes it takes a little time to feel as though you fit in. This is normal and you can help yourself by acknowledging the discomfort and not expecting too much too soon. Remember that all the “newbies” will be going through the same thing, even if they won’t admit it at first. When you face the unchartered waters together, if feels much easier. There is much to be said for camaraderie. One thing is for sure, you will find your “tribe” – that go to group of colleagues that soon become your greatest friends and avid allies. This is where the fun begins.
Be curious - Learn new things.
One favor you can do for yourself right at the beginning is to be teachable. You may have come from an environment where you were the subject expert, where you knew how things worked, what was acceptable and what made the department or the school or tick. Now, you are on the back footing. You are in unfamiliar territory. The people are different, the culture is different, the policies are different. The veteran teachers at your new school know more than you do, albeit for the time when you are orientating yourself. Whether you are or were an administrator, department head or a senior teacher. It is uncomfortable! This is unfamiliar territory. ACCEPT IT AND LEARN! Open your eyes, open your ears, and open your heart. Very so on you will learn the ropes, the unfamiliar will become familiar, and you will be on your way!
Don’t isolate yourself - Forge new friendships.
Expat life can also be lonely business if you allow it. Sure, there will be many opportunities where you will be off cavorting with colleagues, hitting the pubs, venturing to new pass times that are now interesting, affordable and accessible. But alas, there is a downside too. Sometimes, it can get lonely as you yearn for your familiar past and all the family and friends you have left behind in your own country. This is normal too. One thing you should not do, is pretend it isn’t there. Another thing is wallow in it too long. The best thing you can do for yourself is to acknowledge that it is just a feeling a completely normal feeling. Don’t isolate yourself. Try to get out, even if it is just a walk down the street or to the park. Have a coffee or a dinner with some friends. Most of all, keep calm. It too shall pass.
Find your flow - settle in and settle down.As the days go by and the weeks turn into months, you will start settling in and settling down. All those unsure and unsteady steps you took at the beginning will start to feel more certain. Your old familiar confidence will start returning and you will begin to find your flow. Seasons will change, and so will you. As you start exploring more and adapting to expat life, you will find an enjoyment and an excitement that you have never felt before. It is exhilarating being in a foreign land, and learning about the people, the culture. The way of living.
There is a long road from your comfort zone to a new state of being and believe me, once you have taken the leap, you will never look back. Well done to you. Enjoy every moment!
LOOKING FOR A TEACHING OPPORTUNITY ABROAD?And if you are looking for a teaching position abroad. Look no further. IES has a range of choice positions in good schools that may just meet your fancy. Give us a call and let us help you get that future you have always wanted. It’s easy.Positions - from classroom and homeroom teachers right up to leadership positions in both Primary and Secondary schools - are all open. If you are interested, scan the QR code, fill in the application form, and the team with contact you soon.
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