Recently I realized I’ve learned another language. No, not Turkish, French, or Arabic, although I’ve learned each of those to varying degrees of proficiency. I guess it’s not actually another language I’m learning, but a dialect I call Expat.

Overseas living is like playing an old familiar game of life, but the rules are completely changed. How do I gain competence? How do I progress? How do I “play fairly?”

Several years ago, the possibility of taking my family overseas to a new country became a reality. Since then, our lives have been anything but predictable. Looking back, if I had known what I know now, I would not have been filled with doubt, fear, and hesitation. Instead, I would have been filled with expectation and excitement.

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What do you most fear? Failure? Rejection? Loss? The unknown? How do your fears prevent you from pursuing your professional goals? 

For nearly a year before our family moved overseas, my mind was constantly processing the losses my young children would soon experience.

I recently experienced culture stress. The situation: the purchase of a new refrigerator and the fact that it took two weeks for it to be delivered, which meant two weeks of storing my food at my neighbors’ house and two weeks of rearranging my schedule to be available on days the refrigerator might be delivered. This ordeal led me to think about culture shock, ...

The first time I walked into JinXiNanFang Hospital I was eight weeks pregnant.

Leaving the land of the familiar sounds like traveling to me. Stepping into the unknown, the foreign. Leaving the known, the familiar.

"So, why should I join IDEAS?" I love this question. In fact, I never get tired of it because it is the exact question a possible volunteer or long-term Associate should be asking. 

Recently while in Jordan visiting some of our IDEAS Associates, I was reminded of practical ways to be a respectful guest while visiting or working in a country outside the U.S. Here are some travel tips that will make you a welcome guest.