The Oman Readjustment period (reverse culture shock…to a culture not your own)??
By Nicole Brewer
Long time GTs (ie globe-trotters for the newbies)! It’s been awhile since I’ve had time to update you on the happenings of life back in the Middle East. It’s been a rollercoaster of a year, with this being the third country I’ve not only trotted to, but resided in after graduate school in Germany and researching (while doing an internship) in South Africa. Shortly before it was time to finish my research term in Cape Town, I was offered a position not only in Oman, returning to my old place of employment, but also an offer to teach in Saudi Arabia as well. While the Saudi offer was great, deep in my gut something told me it wasn’t the best choice for me, so I held out a week and behold I got an offer to return back to Nizwa, Oman!
I’ve now officially been a resident back in Oman for a month and am very grateful for the opportunity to have new adventures in the Middle East. In the first days, it was indeed an adjustment, the thought of changing hats from a student to being back in the classroom in front of students. Numerous defeating thoughts ran through my mind. (Am I Really up for this challenge? Will the students respect me? etc). Nevertheless, again I put fear in the back seat and said let me enjoy this ride and amazing globe-trot journey ahead.
I went through the usual transition of being in a new climate and setting. A couple weeks of a tad bit of sickness (between leaving a South African winter to come to 100+F temps…yeah that was to be expected). It was a bit of a challenge to return to a small town you once resided in and to now see a ton of new faces, but along with some comforting old ones that were still at my college I was employed at once before. It was easier than expected to readjust to things such as teaching in segregated classrooms, with boys and girls sitting on seperate sides of the classroom.
Overall, I’m happy I decided to trot back to Oman. The pure happiness of my old students seeing me on campus alone has made it worthwhile, while I know there is so much more to come. Be forwarned that this expat life is not for everyone. It takes a certain kind of individual to live on the other side of the globe, away from your friends and family…especially in a small town setting as Nizwa. I take pure joy in the simple things, such as my beautiful mountain view that’s in my “backyard” of the cozy hotel apartments I live in (which are right across the street from my job mind you ;-)).
Also, a tip to those in the ESL (English as Second Language) field, make sure you do your research on these recruiting companies, especially for the Middle East. I was blessed to have great fortune not once but twice. I’ve heard horror stories from some GTs in our iluv2globetrot travel community. If you are interested in following along with not only my adventures of this expat life but also other globetrotters, be sure to check it out. Take care and as always happy globe-trotting!