Adjusting to Teaching Abroad

Culture is everywhere, even work, and different professions have different cultural climates. A great many expats teach while working and living abroad. Some teach at international schools, and others teach at language learning centers. Teaching abroad is a unique experience that can be simultaneously rewarding and maddening. English-speaking countries are culturally diverse, and this is something that is not well-known everywhere. When thrown together by circumstance, these cultures can collide in the most uncomfortable ways. In particular, what is okay to talk about – and what is not – differs considerably between cultures. (read more…)

Adjusting to a New Corporate Culture

Adjusting to a new corporate culture can be extremely difficult, especially for experts in their field. Often the very expertise that allowed you to accept your new position is not called upon. This is especially true for expats working abroad. A lot of countries have expected, but not communicated, acclimation-to-the-company periods, this is especially true in Japan. This time can be extremely stressful because there is a fine balancing act of knowing when to remain silent and when to speak up. There is also the dilemma of how many questions one can ask to be perceived as willing to learn the “company way” without giving the impression of inadequate expertise in a specific field. (read more…)

Adjusting to Life as an Expat

I currently live in Nagoya, Japan, but this is not my first expat experience, and I have discovered what I consider to be some universal truths about life as an expat. The first and most important is that there is no one right way to live anywhere, period! Go easy on yourself about learning the local culture, language, and geography. All these things will come in time, and time is what most expats don’t give themselves. It takes time to explore, and exploration is the best way to learn the lay of the land, both culturally and geographically. (read more…)

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