It’s never easy to step into a new opportunity, but as you venture out of your comfort zone, you’ll gain much more than you’d ever imagine. Living and teaching overseas is like a real-life master’s class in personal and professional development. A teacher from Laos shares her top 10 reasons that she’s forever changed by teaching overseas:
April is a special month for Lao people as it holds the biggest holiday of the year. This holiday is called Lao New Year and honestly it’s beyond description. Just imagine what it would be like for every person, both child and adult alike, to be armed to the teeth with anything that could get you wet and you would have a small idea of what it’s like. It doesn’t matter who you are, no one is safe from being drenched. Carrying a wedding cake down the street? Wet. Wearing a 3-piece suit (who does that in Laos anyway)? Wet. Delivering an ancient manuscript holding the secrets of the universe? Wet. You’re also going to be baby soft for a couple of days from all the baby powder being thrown at you.
Much of my international travel is in support of humanitarian work, so, as a result, I see difficult places and hear gut-wrenching stories. I meet with people who are exhausted, yet full of joy. I dine with people who have given up everything, but have gained more than they could ever ask or imagine.
In my early morning hours, with a cup of coffee in hand, I stopped to think about what I have learned about leadership. What I have learned is not necessarily what I do. Rather, it is what I have seen to be true, and what I aspire to do. So, here then, is what I have learned:
Gathering together for a meal has a deeper meaning than satisfying your hunger. In China, having a meal builds relationships or establishes new friendships. Curious what our favorite Chinese dishes are? We asked one of our long-term teachers what her favorite Chinese dishes are. Here is her response: