Would you ever… work or study abroad?

Would you ever cross oceans and continents, leaving your family and friends and everything familiar behind in the name of your future? Take international students for example. At the University of Waterloo, where I attend classes, there are a number of students from different parts of the country, continent, and all over the world. I know some people who have also moved far from people they care about for a job. Would you do it? Have you already? I wonder where the biggest challenges come in adapting to a new environment. Language is probably a really big one. There is only so much one can learn from the classroom. Food is probably another issue. The most difficult hurdle in adapting to a new location is likely the cultural difference. In a different society, different behaviours are deemed deviant; what may be unacceptable where you are from might be accepted in a new environment.

I would love to study abroad. The idea of getting out of this cultural norm that has become oh-so comfortable for just a few months is enticing. Don’t you wonder how people eat in another country? Personally I’m pretty curious about how others view Canadians. Will I be treated as a tourist when I walk the streets with a camera? (Because I know I’m going to photograph everything that moves.)

I have already experienced the streets of Italy and a bit of France, having taken part in a school Europe Trip last March. The streets of Florence and Rome are stunning. It’s like having a backyard rich with culture. It was fun watching my friends freak out about things like “Oh my God! Gelato!” or “Look at this water fountain!”

I think a little disequilibrium in the routine that we call our lives is healthy. When you become too accustomed to a behaviour you enjoy, you start to lose focus of the value in the actual behaviour, and start to only think about the goal you are aiming for. For example, when you pursue a career as a teacher because you love the idea of being able to work with youth, sooner or later you get tired of it. You start to get caught up in getting papers marked, you have students that are rowdy and obnoxious, and then your job isn’t so fun anymore. You have become too caught up in job that you lose sense of your passion. There is no incentive to teach left in you for you to like it.

When things get routine and you get caught up in earning your paycheck or getting that perfect grade, the process because dreadful. You don’t want to work anymore; you don’t want to study. So what should you do?

Shake things up. As a teacher, you should try maybe running a club where you won’t need to do any preparation, where the students are free to come up with their own agenda, perhaps?. (I’m not a teacher, so this is as far as my teacher analogy goes.) As a student, take a class about something you find interesting. Something you’ve heard isn’t a heavy load, but has a great professor or teacher. Rekindle your interest and your motivation. I think this will help you to be happy doing something routine, by making the routine vary.

Perhaps that’s why I started this blog, to motivate myself to do something productive that wasn’t school related but still enjoying to keep my brain working and continuing to discover new things.

What have you discovered lately?

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