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I haven't found a thread about this so I figured I'll start one. Have you travelled somewhere for school or work, whether to do courses, an exchange, practicum, etc.? Where did you go? What did you do? What were your best and worst experiences? (You don't have to answer all of those, just throwing out topics :happy:).

Also: Did you learn anything about yourself?
 

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Nice idea! Provides a way to exchange ideas about future travels as well as a way to share our experiences!

Past:
-I studied abroad in Accra, Ghana for four months. I learned about a deeper level of humanity that we tend to obscure in western culture. People there were so genuine there that it blew my mind. At the time I was suffering from a lot of anxiety which I would get only around Westerners, almost never around Ghanaians. I saw people who had nothing create a makeshift, informal "school" out of a concrete building because the kids there had nothing else. Saw a woman who lived in a refugee camp who made her home into an orphanage. On the other hand, people try to rip you off all the time, so I learned to watch my back and how to just say NO.

-I lived in an ashram in Quebec for four months two years ago, and recently for about six weeks. It was incredibly healing and beautiful. Tons of nature. Went through a lot of emotions because a lot of cleansing was going on, but felt the best bliss as well. :) It was also wonderful to live in a community...you never feel lonely there!

-I taught ESL in Korea for 16 months, recently. It was hard at first because my first school really blew. Horrible management, horrible nonsensical schedule, back-to-back classes all day, always trying to take advantage of us if they could. I switched to a better school and had a much better experience there. The country is going through a lot of growing pains, but there are some beautiful mountains for hiking, tons of lovely sights to see, awesome health care and public transport, and many young Koreans are very nice people who are interested in getting to know foreigners. It's a great way to save money (make about 24,000 a year, low tax, airfare/housing included), and work abroad. PM me if you want details!

I have also been to a few other various countries for a week here and there...but the above are the most significant ones. :)

How about you, liccht?
 

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@Armyr Those are some interesting experiences! I was thinking of going abroad for grad school, and was wondering: is it really as enjoyable living abroad as it often seems? Im having cold feet in that im not sure i would want to risk living away from everyone i know and have the novelty wear off after a couple monthes.
 

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Hey! Living abroad was invaluable. Being away for so long (about two years the last time) DID have an effect on my relationships back home. But I'm still glad I did it.

The novelty wearing off is the cool part, actually, because you get to develop long-term relationships there, learn about the culture in depth, maybe even learn a language! I prefer it to being a short-term tourist, totally. I like developing a community in new places. Learning the quirks. Having favorite foods and favorite places. Letting the vibe really seep into you. It's very special when you do it that way. It's like you have another family in another part of the world. Having time for a lot of different experiences instead of a few highly touristed ones. Learning how to do all the little things in a new way, which is a humbling learning process. If it's only for a year or so, don't worry, your relationships will still be there when you get back.

Another plus: Employers think international experience is interesting, as a general rule.

A con: Dating gets complicated, because before you return you have to know whether or not you are serious enough about each other to get married--otherwise, visa issues make continuing very difficult.

Where were you thinking of going for grad school?
 

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-I attended a summer program in London when I was 15. It was a summer school, so I had the chance to meet people my age from all over the world, discuss with them, find out more about their cultures. It was a very interesting experience, it taught me a lot.

-As a university student, I studied a semester abroad. It was a wonderful experience, maybe the most wonderful experience of my life so far. It taught me many things about myself, about my abilities and about my relationships with others. It helped me grow more mature, I got so many things out of it.

-I also attended a leadership program abroad a few months back. Very fulfilling, taught me a lot and I'm still trying to use the techniques I learned there for reflecting and getting to know myself better.
 

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You make it sound pretty awesome! I could totally see it being appealing to become a bit of a local/expat. I enjoyed that aspect when i did my undergrad away from home.

I was considering New York or London, so perhaps not as big a culture shock as say Korea, but definitely a huge change in pace and lifestyle from my neck of the woods.
 

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Been living in Mexico for 7 years. Began with a restaurant start-up in a touristy coastal city, got bored, sold it to other expats, moved back to the US for a year, asked ourselves, "Why the hell did we move back here?" returned deeper into Mexico, and started teaching EFL independently. That has since blossomed into a small English school. Wife also runs a bilingual after school care program out of our house.

In the US I drove tow trucks, and she was an internet used bookseller. We were living in stagnation with our dreams and aspirations. We didn't have even close to enough investment capital to open a restaurant or school in the US. Mexico offered opportunities that simply don't exist there. We got the restaurant off the ground for next to nothing and the school/day care for literally nothing.

We're here for the long haul. Too many connections to the community, too many good things on the horizon to even consider leaving now. Our kids are immersed in the culture, and didn't appreciate being dragged to the US for that year. Developing kids, developing country...it seems to be working for them.

Mexico has its problems, but many of those problems also make it an entrepreneur's mecca. This place is wide open to new ideas, and strongly encourages anything defined as 'development'. After 30+ years in the US, I'm addicted to the constant growth and change of this country.
 
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