My first overseas experience was a summer homestay with a family in Mexico when I was 16. It was the beginning of a lifelong love of the country and a belief in the benefits of exposure to a foreign culture. I later became a Spanish teacher and took groups of students to Mexico. Eventually, I moved there with my own children and became part of a large community of expats raising their children there.
For every substantial, bricks-and mortar business set up by an expat overseas, there are hundreds of small enterprises that people operate from their own homes with very little investment. Within a year of starting their micro-enterprise overseas, Jim and Mariellen Wiemann are making a profit and supplementing their retirement income. “The business allows us to purchase the things we might otherwise not have. We are planning some vacations abroad, and the business will support those adventures,” says Jim.
When I first started uploading photos to an online stock agency I had no idea how it would change my life. I had stumbled on stock agencies while looking for a photo for a small design job. But once I saw how much money people were making from their photos, I realized I could do the same. A year after I started, I was making $600 a month. And my best-selling photo has now earned me more than $3,500.
With a 16-hour work week…a month-long winter vacation…a huge number of well-paid jobs…and all the Chinese food you can eat…it’s no wonder so many people of all ages and backgrounds are heading to teach English in China. More than 300 million children under 18 begin learning English in classroom settings as early as age three…but it’s not just the young who are learning English. China is a world player and millions of college students and adults enroll in English courses to help them get better jobs.
In the spring of 2010, our family of four sailed around the world—25,000 miles, 110 days, 11 countries. We were hired by Semester at Sea, a University of Virginia program that allows students to spend a semester traveling internationally by ship, to coordinate spiritual life for the shipboard community and plan programming for the 18 children onboard. Our son Andrew was then eight years old and our daughter Lizzie was five.
It’s a big decision to bring your children overseas. My husband, Dan, and I turned our lives upside down in 1990 when we took our 1-year-old and 2-year-old to Guam, an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, to take up teaching posts. Over the next 10 years we lived in three other countries— Ghana, Singapore, and Mexico—and visited many more.
In honor of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day I have a tip to share… The pub is central to Irish social life. It’s waned a bit in importance (you won’t find every funeral and wedding there these days) but it’s still the one institution that makes a visit to the Emerald Isle unique. And to truly immerse yourself like a local find yourself a “lock in.”
IL’s staff writers have been traveling and scouting the world on your behalf for years. To celebrate our 30th birthday issue this month, we asked them to tell us about their most memorable travel experiences.
Gothenburg: Best for Culture This Summer Ever heard of Peter Silverman? No? Neither had I, but I sure wouldn’t mind being him. He’s a Canadian art collector who bought a lovely little Italian work in 2007 for around $18,500.
This month in Travel Press Talk we discuss the reopening of Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park amongst other things.