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Journey awaits: Why three ladies bid Halifax and PEI goodbye and located jobs they love abroad

When Jan Rossiter graduated from the training program on the College of Prince Edward Island 20 years in the past, instructing jobs weren’t simple to come back by for brand spanking new grads.

She spent a yr provide instructing, says the Morell, PEI native, however she did not like ready for the telephone to ring and the uncertainty of labor.

That is when her good friend gave her a suggestion: go abroad.

“My good friend, Ellen (Lewis) Dennis, was working in Hong Kong and instructed me it was an excellent place and to come back and take a look at it for a yr. And right here I’m, 22 years later.”

Seeing and experiencing completely different cultures

Rossiter works at Causeway Bay Victoria Worldwide Kindergarten, an Worldwide Baccalaureate (IB) World College, the place the youngsters vary from two to 6 years of age and are taught in a trilingual program, studying English, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

“I’ve taught all grade ranges from PN (pre-nursery to two-year-olds) to K3 (five- to six-year-olds) through the years,” Rossiter says.

“This present faculty yr, I haven’t got a instructing position, I’m full-time administration, and my position is head instructor. My focus is working with the K1 and K3 grade degree instructing groups, in addition to serving to with the each day faculty operations and all that entails.”

For Rossiter, one of the best components of residing overseas are seeing and experiencing completely different cultures and studying from them, in addition to the journey alternatives and dealing with academics from all around the world and studying from them.

After which there are the cool experiences, like attending to do a lion dance on the Nice Wall of China with college students and fogeys on a college journey, she says.


Working abroad has given PEI native Jan Rossiter the chance to journey, together with visiting the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. – Contributed

Easy issues generally is a problem

Rossiter says you’re taking issues as a right till you’re in a state of affairs the place one thing easy will not be simple. She’s change into good at charades when making an attempt to purchase one thing at an area market and the seller does not communicate English.

One other instance is making an attempt to get someplace in a taxi and the motive force can’t communicate English.

“I’ve had some attention-grabbing drives making an attempt to get locations. As soon as, I used to be making an attempt to fulfill pals at a restaurant and the taxi driver took me to a cemetery,” she says. “I laughed my head off considering, ‘I’m wondering what they’d make for dinner right here.’”

Lacking household and pals at house, after all, is difficult. When Rossiter first went abroad, e-mail was simply beginning to catch on, however now expertise makes it simpler to remain in contact.

Medical points may also show to be difficult.

“One time, I used to be within the hospital and the nurse could not communicate English and after I would not reply her query, she stored repeating what she was saying louder and louder, and I used to be like, ‘I’m not deaf, I’ve no earthly thought what you’re saying,’ which resulted in her actually screaming at me,” Rossiter remembers.

“So, I hit the emergency name button beside the mattress and an entire bunch of nurses got here operating. And the one nurse who might communicate English mentioned ‘Are you OK? What’s mistaken?’ I mentioned, ‘This nurse has been screaming at me for 5 minutes.’ And the nurse says, ‘Oh she needs to know in the event you had been in a position to eat the lunch?’ It actually by no means occurred to any of them that I would not perceive.”


“I do know what it feels wish to be judged by the colour of your pores and skin and for being a lady.”
—Jan Rossiter


Discrimination may also come into play if you find yourself residing in a distinct nation and tradition.

“I do know what it feels wish to be judged by the colour of your pores and skin and for being a lady,” she says. “‘Gweilo’ is the time period that’s used to explain a western individual, and I’ve been in conditions the place we had been instructed Gwielo’s weren’t welcome, been refused service at a restaurant, been instructed nothing within the retailer was appropriate since you and your pals had been too fats—considered one of which was a measurement 4, taxi drivers will not drive you someplace and so they step on the fuel whenever you attempt to open the door, or folks make enjoyable of you in Chinese language.”

These are probably the most excessive examples, she says, and it does not occur fairly often. However when it does, she provides, you do not overlook about it.

Be capable of snicker at your self

Dwelling overseas for greater than twenty years, Rossiter has some sage recommendation for anybody enthusiastic about giving the ex-pat life-style a attempt.

“You have to be open-minded and versatile. You’re going to see issues which might be very completely different from house and the way issues are executed (there),” she says. “You have to be prepared to fulfill folks within the center and are available to a workable compromise.”

She says additionally, you will want endurance in coping with language miscommunications and misunderstandings.

Doing all your homework earlier than you go, says Rossiter, can also be a necessity, as you will have to be taught in regards to the native tradition and traditions.

“This actually goes an extended method to get a greater understanding of the folks and the way they work, and what it is best to and should not do,” she says.

“Additionally bear in mind that you’re a visitor on this nation. What works at house might be very completely different the place you’re at.”

In terms of working, she factors out the need of “ensuring you learn your contract rigorously and totally perceive the implications of what’s within the contract earlier than accepting a suggestion to any faculty.”

And whenever you’re packing, there’s one thing that is important to convey.

“Convey your sense of humour. Be capable of snicker at your self. And be ready to do it typically,” she says.

Making a distinction

Olivia Sievert is making an enormous distinction in Malawi as she works to avoid wasting wildlife, campaigns for conservation justice, and evokes folks to worth and defend nature.

Sievert, who was born and raised in Halifax, now lives in Lilongwe, the capital metropolis of Malawi, the place she is the pinnacle of biodiversity analysis on the Lilongwe Wildlife Belief.

“I’ve been working in Malawi since 2014, with just a few completely different conservation NGOs. I’ve labored for the African Parks and now Lilongwe Wildlife Belief, each in Malawi, the place I’ve targeted on ecological analysis and enormous carnivore monitoring,” she explains, including that she’s additionally frolicked volunteering overseas.


Olivia Sievert of Halifax is now Head of Biodiversity Research at the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust in Malawi.  The Lilongwe Wildlife Trust saves wildlife, campaigns for conservation justice and inspires people to value and protect nature in Malawi.  - Contributed
Olivia Sievert of Halifax is now Head of Biodiversity Analysis on the Lilongwe Wildlife Belief in Malawi. The Lilongwe Wildlife Belief saves wildlife, campaigns for conservation justice and evokes folks to worth and defend nature in Malawi. – Contributed

When requested what her finest experiences have been, there are too many to rely.

“All of the little experiences – from the species and initiatives I’ve had the dignity of engaged on to the folks from all around the world I have been in a position to meet,” she says. “Daily has been an attention-grabbing new problem and is rarely repetitive.”

For folks enthusiastic about volunteering or working overseas, Sievert says they should perceive the distinction they will make on the earth.

“You may be stunned at what you’re able to,” she says.

“Touring alone and shifting to new locations will be scary, intimidating, and overwhelming, however lean into it. You may at all times be happy with your self for making an attempt.”

take an opportunity

Shannon Larkin, from St. Peter’s Bay, PEI, is at the moment residing and dealing as a bodily training instructor at an Superior Expertise Excessive College within the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She normally teaches grades six to 12 and in the meanwhile is instructing grades 10 and 12.

Larkin started working within the UAE in 2021, however her life overseas truly started 13 years prior.


Shannon Larkin says if you are interested in living and experiencing another culture, then take the chance and give it a try.  - Contributed
Shannon Larkin says if you’re enthusiastic about residing and experiencing one other tradition, then take the prospect and provides it a attempt. – Contributed

In 2008, she moved to South Korea for one yr to work as an ESL (English as a second language) instructor. From 2013 to 2014, Larkin labored in Saudi Arabia, and from 2015 to 2018, in Oman.

She selected the UAE as a result of “I’ve expertise working within the Center East and benefit from the area as it’s secure, and a hub for journey in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The wage is aggressive and I’ve pals who dwell within the area from my earlier work positions.”

Larkin factors out that for anybody planning to dwell overseas, “you’re going to a distinct nation and tradition so you have to be respectful of that tradition. Additionally, each nation has its personal manner of doing issues, so you have to be affected person and conscious that it’s going to not be the identical as you’re used to.”

Her first piece of recommendation is to be open to the expertise and benefit from the variations you’ll encounter.

“In case you are enthusiastic about residing and experiencing one other tradition, then I feel, take the prospect and provides it a attempt. You possibly can at all times return to Canada and the life expertise and private development you’ll obtain from the expertise is price it,” she says.

“There are many businesses and web sites that publish worldwide jobs, even some Canadian faculties in numerous components of the world if you wish to proceed to comply with the Canadian curriculum.”


Shannon Larkin from St. Peter's Bay, PEI is currently living and working as a physical education teacher at an Advanced Technology High School in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  - Contributed
Shannon Larkin from St. Peter’s Bay, PEI is at the moment residing and dealing as a bodily training instructor at an Superior Expertise Excessive College within the United Arab Emirates (UAE). – Contributed


Editor’s be aware: Jan Rossiter, featured on this article, is a distant relative of the creator.

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