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Do not expect to replicate your current lifestyle. Look for what is there, not for what isnʼt.
“Wherever you go, there you are.” A psychologist friend of mine told me that one time, and I think it is 100% true.
I’m not for sure international school teachers are moving from school to school and country to country to replicate their current lifestyle, many times they are trying to flee it! But again and again, you typically find yourself just settling back into the same routine and actions that you have always been doing…no matter where you are living. You do change some small things in each placement, but many routines take time to change and are hard to break.
I think what this commandment is referring to is the situation when a person is coming directly from their life in their home country. Then for sure, you should not expect to replicate your current lifestyle. It is easier than it sounds though.
It happens to be a bit human nature to want to surround yourself with familiar things. Many smart entrepreneurs and importers are keen on this aspect and cash in on selling us those things in many of the cities around the world where there are international schools (e.g. brownie mix, soft brown sugar, satellite TV, chocolate chips, etc…). These familiar things are going for a high price because those stores know that many of us international educators want them. This is done all in an attempt to replicate our past lifestyle.
After a while, though, you find things in the local stores and shops that start to create your CURRENT lifestyle in your new host country. Many of those new aspects can become an even better addition to your lifestyle than the old ones! I definitely miss things that were part of my lifestyle in my last placement, but certain things are just not replicable outside of that placement (cleaning lady, having a driver, going out to eat every day, etc…). With that being said, you will certainly find other things in your new placement that will become a part of your new lifestyle.
Successful international school educators are good at being open-minded to trying new things in the host country. It means taking chances and taking opportunities to try new things and to do things in a new way. It also means leaving some old routines of yours behind, or at least “on hold” for a while.
One thing I enjoy about my new lifestyle abroad is going grocery shopping almost every day, versus going 1-2 times a week in the United States for example. I also enjoy walking to the grocery store versus taking a car. There are many other aspects of an international school teacher’s new lifestyle abroad that would be hard to leave behind if we were all to move back to our home countries!
This article was submitted by a guest author and ISC member.