HE SAID/SHE SAID. YOU SAY? “WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU WENT?” PART II

Missed Part I? Grab it here!

“I wish I’d known how hard it really is.”

I would have gotten more cross-cultural training, especially focused on the culture to which I was going. I would have taken more time in language learning. But most of all, I needed realistic expectations.

Working in a foreign field is the same as being in a war. I know: I’ve fought in both. And the similarities are striking.

There is not much glorious about warfare. It may look exciting on TV or in the movies, but in the trenches it’s a lot of hard work. And the enemy has ambushes everywhere. Often you can’t tell the enemy from the friendly. And your friends get injured and killed. It hurts.

The culture won’t make a bit of sense. You’ll even resent the people sometimes, or think how they do things is ridiculous.

Continue reading

My Story: Culture Shock, Mayonnaise, and the Last Straw

BY CARL BUSER, RADIUS INTERNATIONAL ALUMNUS

That was the last straw. I’m done with this country. I’m ready to punch this guy in the face, I said to myself silently.

One more time, I spoke slowly–patiently, even–into the phone. “Sir, please, just make the sandwich like you always do. Except this time, just don’t put mayo on it, like I asked. It’s the same sandwich! It’s just that in the process, mayo won’t be added!”

“I am sorry sir, but we do not do custom orders. We do not accept returns or refunds either.”

I now attempted to yell in this new language. “I WILL THROW THIS SANDWICH THROUGH YOUR WINDOW. I DON’T CARE IF YOU WON’T TAKE IT BACK!”

He hung up.

Continue reading

#BestoftheBestFriday: Phases of Life Overseas; Wishing I Wasn’t a Racist; Time-release Culture Shock

Forbidden Roots

Amy Medina writes compellingly of the seasons of overseas life. At the beginning,

the remnants of your old life stay with you for a long time. At first, keeping in touch with your friends back at home is a big priority. You get lots of packages in the mail. You grieve the loss of all that you left behind. But you are excited to be in this new place you dreamed about for so long, and that excitement keeps you going for a while. After the honeymoon wears off–which could happen in a week or a year–then it just takes grit. A lot of grit. As in, I’m going to grit my teeth and stay here even though I hate it.

Want to hear the happy ending? Guess you’ll have to click here.

Continue reading

8 Ways to Help your Family Flourish Overseas!

We’re excited to welcome back global veteran David Armstrong. He’s set foot in 15 countries, and confesses that Crepes and Waffles in Bogota, Colombia is one of his favorite restaurants.

My kids spotted me as I rounded the corner two blocks from home–and started laughing and pointing. I was sporting the shortest haircut I had had since basic training. I tried to look confident.. I meant for it to be this short. I’m cool. Truth: I didn’t know how to tell the barber “too short”.

But it made me the winner of the “Most Mortifying Moment” prize that month–and paved the way for my kids to succeed. My too-much-off-the-sides demonstration: You can roll with this.

Continue reading