Working with colleagues has always been one of the highlights of working abroad for me. With so many people from around the world and their respective viewpoints, educators can truly find effective solutions to tricky cultural problems and resolve educational issues the best way possible.
My experiences in the past include serving on the schoolwide committee due to my bilingualism and openness to learning from both host-country staff and foreign hires, and in many cases, serving as a translator and cultural go-between to diffuse misunderstandings. In Abu Dhabi, learning basic Arabic has done wonders for parent relations as well as helping to communicate with staff with whom I might not otherwise be able to communicate. At this point in my career, I hope to use these knowledge and skills in a leadership role in the not-too-distant future.
This sort of connection – learning, contributing, sharing – is why I love teaching abroad so much, and why I will do what it takes to both influence positively, and be influences, in whatever situation I find myself.