From Japan to North America, Reverse Culture Shock

 Nik is a Canadian who had three stints working in Japan for a total of twelve years: 1992-94, 1997-2003 and 2007-11. He is now living just outside New York City, where he’s working in IT. It’s a two-hour flight from his childhood home in Nova Scotia. I reached him from the Philippines via Skype. (Thanks to Nik for the photos.)

Nik’s story

In 1992, I went to Japan on a working holiday visa. The idea with this international exchange program was that young people could work abroad for a year in order to supplement travel costs and experience the … Read More

Toughing It Out, Part 2

In the first part of this interview, Sharon talks about getting to a teaching job in Saudi Arabia, working there, getting fired and leaving. Here she relates her experiences in Nepal. 

Sharon’s story

 After I was terminated, I was told I’d be flown anywhere I wanted to go, so I went to Nepal in order to go trekking on Mt. Everest. I figured that after my trek I could find another ESL job online. The recruiting company flew me first class on Gulf Air, my first flight in such luxury.  It must have cost a fortune: small canapés with linen … Read More

Toughing It Out, Part 1

This is a 2012 interview done over Skype, when I was in the Philippines and Sharon was in Indianapolis.

Sharon’s story

I started traveling in 2009. I taught in Singapore, China and Indonesia. Then in 2012 via a website I found a position through a recruiting company. The position was with a university preparatory program in Saudi Arabia. The company emailed me my airline ticket for flights from Los Vegas to Istanbul. I didn’t realize they hadn’t arranged for any visa documents. In Istanbul, Turkish Airlines employees helped me sort out my lack of  Saudi entry documents. I had to … Read More