Please welcome Barb to the blog! Barb works as our Director of Community Life and is passionate about thriving, healthy people living in community. Check out her insight in Success Overseas: It Has A Lot To Do With Community.
Perhaps you are considering an overseas assignment. Like many who go overseas, you are an adventurer—loving the challenge of new places and new experiences. And you’re willing to do it alone!
While this is an exciting way to approach life and leads to great adventures, if you are to be successful in crossing cultures, you need to keep this in mind. We are meant to learn, live and serve in community. We are not meant to face the challenges of life alone. Community begins with shared values and is a feeling of fellowship with others based on shared interests, goals and attitudes.
When you work overseas, you leave behind the communities that you are most familiar with; your family, friends, workplace and church. But you enter a new community, made up of both nationals and expats. It will look different than the one you left behind but, if you go with a willingness to learn about the culture and learn from those you encounter, you’ll grow. If you’re willing to ask questions, make mistakes and laugh at yourself, you’ll be changed in ways you can only imagine.
There will be challenges in this new community. Others won’t think the same way as you do, react in the same way, or have the same worldview or belief system. You’ll need to discover those things that you share with those in your new community. You will struggle but as you learn and serve with humility, over time you will contribute in ways unique to who you are. And as you are interconnected with others, you will grow in your capacity to be an agent of change in the community you serve.
As you share the stories of what you’ve seen and experience during your overseas assignment, you also build up your community at home. You will bring new perspective to those who follow your journey.
How do you like to build community?