When I was searching for overseas teaching jobs on Teach Away, everybody was talking about Dubai. I heard that Dubai was like Disneyland for adults. I mention in my other post how I watched videos about what’s it like to live in Dubai. I put my search to rest to get through my first year of teaching. I finished my first year successfully passing all the necessary test. As soon as I started my second year teaching I started my job search again. This time I was sure I would find something.
Teach Away was advertising for a job fair in San Francisco and it didn’t take me long to decided to do it. I had to do an interview, which basically was a screening to make sure I met the minimum requirements. I also needed one more recommendation from a school administrator. After I received my recommendation I did the interview and was accepted. Everything was falling into place.
This was the year I got my first credit card because I figured it was time to start building my credit. When the time came to pay for my trip, I booked the hotel that the job fair was being held at for convenience because I know myself. I didn’t have the money so I put it on my credit card knowing I would pay it off later. This was the beginning of a few bad habits that I will not write about in this post. Anyway, I was set to go to the job fair in February and I couldn’t wait.
Going to the job fair was a nice quick getaway. When it wasn’t time for job fair stuff I explored the city a little. I even ended up in a bar with a live band with some other teachers searching for jobs. The first night was a welcome night and all the job seekers were there. The committee gave us a rundown of the weekend’s events. The next day was a getting to know the schools. We had to pick the schools we were interested in and go to a brief orientation for that school. The school representative had a certain time slot where they would talk about the country, living conditions, the school, and any other important information. I remember going to several that peak my interest. I still had my sights set on Dubai, but I went one for Kuwait to see what it was about. After the orientation, I really considered it a viable option.
After the orientation, some of the recruiters scheduled interviews if they wanted, but the following day was the interview day. In the conference room tables were set up and schools were taking resumes and scheduling interviews for the people they were interested in. I was able to get a few interviews that day. I did around 5-8 interviews. I was determined to get a job offer. Even though my sights were set on Dubai, there weren’t a lot of schools or jobs available. From what I remember there was a school looking for a High School science teacher. I was disappointed, but I didn’t want to waste this opportunity.
By the end of the day, I got offered a job from a couple of different places. I had about a day to make a decision. The top two offers I really considered were from Kuwait and Mexico. I was leaning toward Kuwait because of the benefits and because I could still travel to Dubai. I remember weighing my options on each place and asking my family to weigh in. All of them said no to Kuwait, except for my younger brother. He basically told me that none of us have ever been to Kuwait, so how can we know what it’s like. I really considered Mexico too, but in the grand scheme of things, it was the lesser of the options. In Kuwait, I could meet my financial goals and travel, while Mexico didn’t even have housing for teachers. I almost decided to not do wither one, but I was definitely leaning toward Kuwait. Actually, I was more confident about Kuwait until I talked to my family. The unanimous “don’t go to Kuwait” made me nervous.
There was one last event – dinner with the recruiters. The dinner was nice and completed with dessert and drinks. The job seekers were able to mingle with the recruiters for the last chance to get an interview or allow them to get to know us a little better. I talk to some teachers I met about my nerves and they told me to do Kuwait. I was able to talk to an older African American lady who just came from Kuwait about what it was like. Her being an older African American was important for two reasons. For one she could tell me about her experience as a black woman living in Kuwait. Sometimes the black and white experience are two different things because of the way others view black people. The second reason is that she is an older person moving to another country and not young and naive. She told me that she felt safer in Kuwait than she does in the states. It was at this moment that I got over my nerves and made a decision.
Looking back, I know that you can not ask people about a place who have never been to that place. You can’t ask people about a place if they have never left the country. The media is a powerful tool that has been used to inform us about good, but sometimes those visuals in the media are all people remember. Kuwait was invaded by Iraq in 1990 and with the help of the US government by 1991 Kuwait regained their independence. Now almost 30 years later people are still frightened by the past.
I am not saying that the past doesn’t matter. I am saying that the current state of Kuwait is stable. Kuwait has one of the strongest currencies in the world. When I leave my house I don’t have to worry about getting shot. I do not pay rent and I live on my own. I can travel to so many different places. There is not a perfect place in the world, perfect does not exist. However, I do not regret the decision I made to come here. Thinking back to the time when I was nervous, I realize I that it was a fear created by a sense of the unknown. I am happy I chose to overcome my fear and opened myself to a new culture.