The State Department of the United States has numerous resources and programs that can help make traveling and living overseas safer and keep you informed about what is happening in the country where you are traveling or living.

I felt that I’d been gone too long – over three years.  I was desperate to get back to the familiar "home" of the States.  I wanted back to familiar people and places.

 At IDEAS, we value and believe that community is formed by intentional relationships, and is the context in which we collaborate, work, serve and care.

As we enter the Christmas season, I wanted to look beyond our celebration here in the United States. So, I asked some of our IDEAS Associates how their view of Christmas has changed by living overseas.

Whether you are taking a short trip or moving to live in a new culture, there are some key attitudes that will make the experience more enjoyable and enriching. I have learned that successful travel begins with your attitude.

To fully participate and enjoy living in a new country it is vital to be able to speak the language of the people.  While there is no substitute for a fully immersive, full time language program to learn a new language; there are several computer programs and apps to help you get a head start on learning before arriving in your new country. 

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The expat life has many benefits, but one of the hardest challenges is being far from family. This can be felt the most when you hear of someone who is sick, receives a bad medical prognosis, or is in an accident. Living in a foreign country is hard when a loved one is dying.

The most important way to meaningfully enter into the life of a new country and culture is to learn the local language. Learning a new language is difficult.  It can make you feel like bungling three year old.  It may take months (or years!) to master. But the payoff is worth it.


 

Are you considering traveling with your children? I’d strongly encourage you to do so! While it can be a bit intimidating, the rewards are many. Whether you decide to take a road trip to a neighboring city or state, or board a plane to visit a new country, you will create memories that will last a lifetime.


 

The following blog post was written by Jessica Ambuehl, an IDEAS volunteer photographer who recently spent time in Tunisia. Enjoy her latest thoughts on this beautiful country. You can read more of her writing at www.ignitetogether.org


 

 

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