I recently asked a few of our new IDEAS Associates and volunteers what they would tell someone wanting to work overseas. Perhaps their answers will help you take that next, brave step!
Hello, fellow colleagues! What would you tell someone wanting to work overseas, especially since you just went through this process?
- This is a unique desire from God that you should seek to fulfill at any cost because it will lead you into a deeper, richer relationship with God and it will be an avenue of transformation in your life and in the lives of those you serve. - Angelina, Educator - Jordan
- This will be an experience you will never forget and I strongly recommend taking the leap! Life overseas can be challenging, but in the end it's far more rewarding than it is costly, and the experiences you have abroad will shape you for the rest of your life. - Chris, Educator - Jordan
- I’d say “make a considered and deliberate choice to always consider your cup half full. Choose hope and optimism. And stick with the instructions in Philippians 2: “Do everything without grumbling or complaining." In strange situations, it’s always tempting to fuss and whine. Choose not to. Find something to be grateful for. “In everything give thanks” is actually a key survival tactic. - Karen, Coordinator for Wheelchair Distribution - Africa
- It is great to have IDEAS to guide you through all the things one needs to consider, do, and put in place as you consider a move to a new location and culture. They offer practical help, give you things to consider about yourself and your goals, and pray with you as you plan and work through the tasks and ideas of your project. - Jane, Refugee Center Administrator – Cyprus
- As you head into a cross-cultural setting, make sure you go in as a learner. Learn from those who are experts, the nationals around you. Leave your attitudes behind. Leave your expectations of sensibilities, rules, behaviors, and rights behind. Everything is different, and your stereotypes and judgmental attitudes will get in the way of both a positive experience and the ability to thrive in your new culture. Learn to be comfortable with ambiguity and different attitudes toward timeliness (or lack thereof). Be curious. Be careful to honor people, and don’t disparage what you don’t understand. - Al, Recruiter - Oregon
We hope these words have given you insight and courage as you consider putting your skills and passions to work in communities overseas. IDEAS is a global community of professionals leveraging our skills to restore hope!
About the Authors: IDEAS Associates and Volunteers work in 14 countries and contribute to projects in agriculture, business, community development, education, and health & wellness. You can apply anytime!