Working Overseas

Last night I went out to dinner with a few of our contractors for this job in Ohio. What an interesting life they have led. One of the guys named Steve works in New Jersey. In 1991 he and his new wife learned of an opportunity to work in Italy. He described it as one of those romantic dream-like jobs. Who wouldn’t want to go to to Europe and work in Italy? Well, he went home to talk to his wife. They talked about it while they ate dinner and while they cleaned up. What would they have to give up in going over there? They talked about it more on the patio after dinner. How different would the cultures be? And they talked about it more before bed. All night it was the subject of their conversation.

Their conclusion? No. They didn’t think it was a realistic idea. they just couldn’t see themselves leaving the states.
Three months later the company offered them a chance to go to Turkey for four years. They went.

Do you think you’d be able to pick up and start work at a distant place? To go to somewhere like Turkey, Saudia Arabia, Ukraine, or Jerusalem for a multitude of years?

One thing Steve mentioned was that his life was very cooperative. At the time of the decision, he’d just got married and he didn’t own a house or have any kids. There was little reason not to go. When the time came to decide on Turkey the best counterargument they came up with was “there’s no way we could go to Turkey… we have a BBQ next weekend.”

3 thoughts on “Working Overseas

  • 8/27/2008 at 9:49 am

    I could definitely pick up and start work at a distant place. Living in a foreign country offers such a better perspective on where the United States actually stands in the world and what part Americans play in their “global community” – the answer can be surprising to some, since we tend to have a rather self-inflated view of our role in the world. You might think it would be obvious to someone that you are american, but for instance in Kuwait shopkeepers or other curious people guessed I was from Australia or South Africa in addition to “the states” and if they did guess correctly and someone asked where I was from I found most people had no idea where anything was in the US, so I would say I lived in Boston or if that didnt’ work, I’d say “north of New York City”.
    Not to mention there is so much good food out there!
    As someone who spent 11 years growing up overseas in various places I heartily recommend living in a foreign country.

  • 8/27/2008 at 10:58 am

    My mom has also lived overseas, and says it is quite an experience. She also says the self-inflated view of America came from her generation, which was literally taught that we were the biggest and best country in the world. Education sure used to be something.

    Mom lived in Germany, and she talks about how different the culture is, how the trains always run on time no matter what, and how various people treat the American tourists and military personnel.

  • 8/27/2008 at 7:01 pm

    I think everyone should live in a foreign country. I lived in a few and I greatly enjoyed the experience. Aside from the correcting our inflated view of the US it is amazing some of the misconceptions that are floating around about life in the states it really makes you think about your own assumptions. Also the food is great, but never try “American” food in a foreign country it is always a bit off and not always in a good way (never eat at a McDonald’s or Pizza Hut outside the US unless you have an “adventurous palette”).


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