It is quite crazy how many people at my university will say that they want to work overseas. I somewhat wish they would do a census to find out specific numbers. All I know is that there are so many who desire to work overseas, or to do mission work out of the country. What kind of baffles me is when people have their whole life planned out and how they want to work in this foreign country doing such great work. Its great and I get it, I would like that too. However, often these peers have not even stepped off American land. I don’t get it. If its something you want, I feel like you should have a quick taste of that culture before you dive right in. The other day I was talking with some girls as we drove to a service project. One of the girls was really set in working overseas. I quickly learned she hadn’t been outside of the US yet. She told me she was ok with being uncomfortable. I am glad to hear that. However, I hope you really are ok with being uncomfortable. Because, here in America, we live probably some of the most luxurious lives and yet we complain about everything. We have air conditioning and heating units every where. We have free public restrooms, for the most part. You can walk up to McDonalds and ask for a cup of water and they will give it to you. In other countries, good luck with that!
I am so thankful to have had the experience to go overseas and study for a short period of time. It was long enough to see so much and really start to feel part of the culture. But, it was also short enough to long for and desire to travel back! I also had the opportunity to go to Argentina with my family a few years back. It was a wonderful trip. However, because I have family down there, the experience was not uncomfortable and in fact it was quite lush. It was freezing cold but yet we had warm jackets, warm heaters and warm food. Going to Germany with a group, but, essentially on my own, I felt out of my comfort zone. It was unbelievably hot, there were no water fountains and the only free bathrooms were at restaurants after you bought a meal or at the University. You simply got used to paying for amenities. You got used to being sweaty. You got used to not looking perfect and wearing the same shirt 5 times. You just accepted the situation. Embraced the differences. And enjoyed the experience. Well….at least I did. So if you are part of everyone else and want to do something great overseas.
1. Start at home. Do great things where you live first. See your town with new eyes.
2. Travel overseas for a short period of time. This is almost like a trial run. Maybe you’ll realize that the particular country you wanted to go to has no edible food according to your taste buds.
3. Then dream. and Dream Big!
4. Work towards a reality in that country. Build your network and friends that live there.
5. Go for it! and Go with G-d!