A Year of Firsts

Nov 27, 2017 12:44:59 PM Sarah Rymer

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a first-year, first grade teacher in your first year overseas? Read how one IDEAS volunteer is learning to thrive in the classroom and navigate a new culture and community!

Jordan-girls-laughing.jpgMeet Nicole. She is adventurous, dedicated and taking one brave step at a time in her first-year assignment in Jordan.

Hi Nicole. What is your current job?
I am a first grade ESL teacher in Jordan.

 What was the best advice you received before you left home about working overseas?

One of my favorite professors told me, “the center of God’s will is rarely the safest place to be, but it is always the best place to be.” I have seen that to be true in my life over and over again. Being where He calls is rarely easy and rarely “safe." But through the struggle, we are refined. We see His faithfulness, providence, and grace in such tangible ways. We get to see a glimpse of His greater plan for the whole earth.

What has been the best advice you received since you have been in Jordan?

The best advice I have received here is to expect the unexpected. Stop expecting yourself to be perfect, stop expecting things to go as planned, and stop expecting things to always make sense to you. Unmet expectations are the root of disappointment and bitterness. I’ve learned that some days I won’t be able to teach anything, I might just keep all my students in the same classroom and not fighting. And that’s a day to celebrate! Some weekends I might only get one thing done on my to-do list and that’s okay too. I am so much more content when I am holding my desires and expectations loosely.

What is one thing that you wish everyone knew about working overseas?

I wish everyone knew that life overseas often looks really ordinary. It looks like mopping the kitchen, cooking dinner, grading papers, and building friendships. There are definitely exciting and challenging things, but there’s a whole lot of mundane life too. It’s easy to start feeling useless when your life overseas seems so “boring,” but it’s about finding purpose and joy through the simple, daily things.

What is one thing that you wish people knew about Jordan?

I wish people knew what a beautiful country this is. Each day I look out my window, I’m struck by the beauty of the bright blue sky and rolling hills of desert. Each time I drive near a river, I’m in awe of the lush, green growth streaking through the sand. But mostly I’m struck by the beauty of the people here. They are so caring, welcoming, and generous. I wish people knew there is so much more to the Arab world than what they see on the news.

What would you tell people who are thinking about working overseas?
I would tell people you can do it! Whatever God calls you to, He is faithful to sustain you. He will provide for you emotionally, financially, relationally, whatever you are concerned about. He has one grand and perfect plan for the whole world, and it is such an honor to be a part of it.




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