Managing an Exchange Program in Laos

Katherine has just started a master’s degree program in Peace and Conflict Studies in Uppsala, Sweden. We spoke online. My thanks for the photos.

Katherine’s story

Why don’t you tell me how you happened to go to Laos, what happened, what worked out and what didn’t.

It wasn’t my goal to work and live in Asia. I did Peace and Conflict Studies as an undergraduate at American University in Washington, D.C. with courses focused on the Arabic language and Middle Eastern issues. I was preparing for work on peace-building, particularly with the relationships between the US and Israel/Palestine, Iraq/Afghanistan.

I … Read More

An Engineer in the Philippines and the UAE, Part 2

Part 1 was about Mike’s work in the Philippines, particularly his creating a bridge between the Filipino worker and modern technology—the CNC machine, which he calls the Swiss army knife of manufacturing. He advises using Filipino shops to build prototypes for new products.

By Part 2 Mike has moved on to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, where he waxes enthusiastic on a number of things he’s come to admire about the place. We talked via Facebook Messenger or Skype while he was in Abu Dhabi and I was in the Philippines. Thanks to Mike for the photos.

Mike’s Read More

An Engineer in the Philippines and in the UAE, Part 1

In teaching workers how to do their part of the production process, Michael Sanders uses some of the same principles I’ve used for decades in language teaching. Meet the students where they are, not where the university catalogue says they should be, take everything down to the simplest level—including advanced concepts—and start there. But Mike has ideas which could transform the Filipino economy.

We spoke over Facebook Messenger while he was at home in Abu Dhabi and I was home in Tagaytay.

Mike’s story

 Why don’t you start by telling us why you came to the Philippines?

What brought me … Read More

Cindy Starts a Business in Japan

Many of the things Cindy says about the traditional workplace in Japan are also true in Korea: the cozy relationship of government and large corporations, which undermines small and medium-sized companies, the obligatory after-work drinking sessions, the mandatory early retirement, the ambivalence about having foreigners in the workplace and—particularly in Japan—the marginalization of foreigners. Fortunately, shortly after having been knocked down by early retirement, Cindy was on her feet again, making a new career for herself and finding more freedom and more satisfaction in trying new things). (Link)(Link)

Cindy’s story

On January 29, 2014, my life … Read More

The Best of Three Worlds, Part 1

In May 2014, while I was visiting her in Korea, my friend Marianne and I sat down to talk about her intercultural experience. Thanks to Marianne for the family photos.

Marianne’s story

I’m proud that I was born and raised in the Philippines. I was—and still am—a fun-loving kid, running around barefoot, jumping into dirty fish ponds and climbing trees. Because my parents chose to work outside the country so they could feed their family back home, I also got to live overseas. When I was a child I was in the care of one aunt, while two other aunts … Read More