In this video, Oxford Seminars instructor, Jennifer Goodnow discusses how living in a foreign country is different. She admits she was initially overwhelmed with all the changes she faced while teaching English abroad in Japan. Many things were different, unfamiliar, and confusing, but then she came to the realization that, just because it was unfamiliar, that didn’t make it wrong, only different from what she had known. This helped her adjust to her new surroundings while teaching English abroad and has become a life lesson that she takes with her wherever she goes and whatever she does.
Enjoy Living and Teaching ESL Abroad
This lesson is applicable to people who are new to traveling and concerned about what it will be like living in another country, as well as experienced travelers looking to teach English in another country. You shouldn’t try to recreate your life at home while in your new country, or compare your life at home to the one you lead abroad. Instead, simply embrace the differences between the two without directly comparing them or trying to label one as better or worse.
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Jennifer Goodnow: “When I lived in Japan, everything was really, really different and I had a hard time at first. The food especially was really, really different, and I got to the point where I was having such a hard time lining up my experience in Japan with what was ‘normal’ in my head that I got to the point where I had to decide for myself ‘It’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s just different.’ And I have to say that changed my life. I talk about that every single time I teach an Oxford Seminars class because that’s a decision that I think all of my students have to make too. You cannot hold what you are experiencing up against your own experience from back home. It just doesn’t work, and you can’t compare. And so getting to that ‘It’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s just different’ helped me a lot in Japan, and it continues to help me today. It helps me to work with people from all different countries and all different places who approach life differently than I do and not judge them, and that’s been huge. That’s been the biggest life experience to date.”