In August 2015 I packed my life into two suitcases and landed in Cairo, Egypt, to start my new life as a teacher.
I was thousands of kilometres away from my friends and family and I experienced this absurd feeling of excitement and apprehension as I was eager to explore but also uneasy about being in a place that was so dramatically different from home.
Looking back on it now, I think it was one of the best decisions of my life. I have met so many amazing people and experienced things that many only ever dream of.
You’re probably wondering how I ended up in Egypt in the first place. It all started when I was pursuing my Bachelor of Education at Laurier. I have always been very adventurous and the prospect of teaching abroad was something that I found very alluring. This decision was made less complicated by the fact that getting a full-time teaching job in Ontario right after graduation was highly improbable.
People occasionally came to our campus from international schools around the globe and, when one of these visitors arrived to hire teachers for his school in Egypt, curiosity got the best of me.
I received mixed reactions from everyone I talked to. Some were eager to see what exciting adventures might await. Others looked at me as if I was crazy.
All the media ever seems to show about the Middle East these days is violence and terrorism. It’s a shame because some people will never know about the remarkable hospitality of the Egyptian people, taste their delicious cuisine, experience the amusement of bartering with merchants in the bazaar or have the thrill of riding a camel in the desert next to the colossal Great Pyramid of Giza.
I have explored ancient tombs, went scuba diving in the Red Sea, floated above the Valley of the Kings in a hot air balloon and went sand boarding along the dunes of the western desert, things I would have never done had I stayed home.
Teaching in Egypt gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in a fascinating new culture all while doing what I love. Despite being the teacher, I learn as much from my students as they do from me. I could have never gained this kind of experience in the classroom if I had never travelled abroad.
Although my time in Egypt has come to an end, the memories I have made will stick with me for a lifetime. I have recently started my next teaching venture, this time in England. I have taught here for less than a month, but I look forward with anticipation to all of the exciting new experiences to be had and amazing people to be met.
I’m so grateful to my peers and mentors at Laurier for helping make this all happen. If living abroad appeals to you, take a chance and go for it. You won’t regret it!
Are you interested in sharing your story about living abroad? Email Campus at firstname.lastname@example.org.