“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Maya Angelou
Earlier in the year I shared with you guys some of the reasons that working overseas can prove beneficial. You can find them here and here. In those posts I focused on the financial and quality of life issues respectively. This post will act as a conclusion to that series and will take a look at some of the benefits I have enjoyed since returning home just over five months ago.
This was also one of the benefits I mentioned in the first post of this series. The combination of low expenses and high income gave me a nice surplus to begin investing with. That allowed me to take a little over five months off when I returned home. This was nice as it allowed me time to deal with “reverse” culture shock; reintegrating yourself back into your own culture after living among other cultures for a while. I was able to enjoy a wonderful summer without worrying about money and getting back to work immediately. It also allowed me to take my time and accept a job that I really wanted and not one I needed to pay the bills.
A Resume Builder
Whether my time overseas has actually enhanced my marketability to employers is debatable. I like to think that it has, but who knows. What I do know is that it is a great ice breaker at an interview. Several of the interviews I had this summer started with, “So tell us about your overseas work!” At least in my profession it has been away of separating my resume from others. The experiences that I have had and the interaction with so many other cultures is priceless to me. I only hope that the broader frame of reference I now have of the world and those in it allows me to appreciate diversity in the work place that much more.
Every overseas experience will be different. You may make more money than I did or less. Your experience with the various cultures might be better or worse than mine. Regardless, I would suggest to anyone who has the opportunity to go abroad to do so. What you learn about others is only second to what you learn about yourself. I came home different from the man who left three years ago and it is one of those experiences that has changed my life.
I will leave you with this; don’t let fear hold you back from anything. You get one go at this life, it’s not a rehearsal. You will regret the things you did not do far more than the things you did. Give fear it’s say and then march defiantly in the direction your heart yearns for. Good luck 🙂
2 thoughts on “Changing Your Life By Working Abroad: Returning Home”
I love the last paragraph. Very inspiring. I’ve thought about trying to live abroad for a year or two. I imagine the benefits would be just as great as you describe.
I’d argue that you can experience aspects of vastly different cultures by living in various parts of the US too. New England is very different from the Southeast, which in turn is different from the “Left Coast”, Pacific Northwest, Texas, Rocky Mountain states, and the Heartland. Language might be (mostly) the same, but the use of free time and values are quite different.
What types of things did you do to “reintegrate”? Drink Bud Light and eat apple pie? (Not trying to be a jerk, just making a joke). I’d be interested in how you adjusted back to life in the US.
Thanks Headed Home. I would suggest anyone who wants to do a stent overseas should give it a shot. It’s a a couple of years out of your life and it is well worth it. For me it was always a means to an end. It gave me a chance to pay my debts off quickly and get my financial house back in order after an emotionally draining divorce. I did flirt with the idea of staying over there longer, but after my affairs were back in order I found myself always asking, “Why are you still here?”
You are correct in there being plenty of diversity right here in the U.S. One of my goals when I retire is to tour the U.S and Canada on a trike motorcycle.
Life in the U.S. is hectic. People are always in a rush. Saudi culture was a little more laid back in regards to time tables and such. “Inshallah” was a term I learned very well while living there. It means “God willing” and was used for everything. Alcohol was banned, so yes, I have had my fair share of drink since returning home 🙂
The big thing was seeing how other peoples lives had changed. I kept in touch with family/friends while I was away, but you really don’t appreciate how much changes in three years until you come home and really get a feel for it.