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Consequences of "Going International"

 
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Fitzgerald



Joined: 10 Aug 2010
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:41 pm    Post subject: Consequences of "Going International" Reply with quote

Question for those of you who have been international for a while. Have you found that as the years roll by, you have drifted appreciably apart from friends and family who are still in your home country? They don't really understand your world; you are no longer part of their day-to-day lives; electronic communications formats can magnify differences in attitude - all of those factors could play a part in such drift.

I have been abroad for four years now, one in Korea and three in Mexico, and I feel this happening. I have tried to work against it, but with little success. I am maybe getting to the point where I am accepting it as an inevitable consequence of choosing a lifestyle that most people do not understand. Being international is almost like being gay in that sense!
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inotu-unotme



Joined: 26 May 2013
Posts: 172

PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do feel this happening also... My family has gone as far as to act somewhat aggressive to me over some aspects of living abroad. On the other hand there are times when I am in the US visiting they tend to never bring up the fact that I'm living abroad. It seems almost tabo - or - maybe that they truly aren't interested? Either way I label the behavior as odd.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 825

PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But I wonder if this is a consequence of living abroad, or if the same thing would happen if you moved across the country. Distance is distance, no matter where you live.
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Fitzgerald



Joined: 10 Aug 2010
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BadBeagleBad wrote:
But I wonder if this is a consequence of living abroad, or if the same thing would happen if you moved across the country. Distance is distance, no matter where you live.

I think it IS different, because America is still America, and abroad is something quite different indeed, that many people cannot at all relate to. That is not to say that distance doesn't make a difference in itself, because it does. And of course, some people cannot understand a relative who even moves to another state.
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1104
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been abroad since 1995. (And for comparison my brother has lived in California for that long--we are originally from Iowa)
Facebook helps a lot. I'm still in regular contact with about 8 friends from high school or earlier, actually two of those I was not really friends with in high school , but we became closer friends in the last 5 years.
I'm still in regular contact with 3 friends from university years.
In my case, my first cousins are 8 to 20 years older than me so we were never close before, their kids are 10 to 20 years younger than me and I was never really close to them before. However, those kids now have kids that same age as my own kids and that has created a connect and we are all in contact on FB more than we have ever been in our lives. I know that is not a "typical" experience.
Of the countries I've lived in I've managed to stay in contact with a few friends from each, both nationals of those countries and other EFL teachers.
I've also built kind of an EFL network of friends and I've met their friends and become friends with them. For example, my roommate from Japan went to Taiwan after leaving Japan, there she made a friend who said he'd like to go to Mexico and she put the two of us in touch, he did come to Mexico and I helped him get a job at my school. He's since moved on, but we are still in touch. There are several other similar stories as to that one.

My brother seems to have had similar experiences in his move from Iowa to California, he's stayed in touch with a few people, lost touch with others, gotten to know some people better after moving away from them, and FB has also gotten him closer in touch with extended family.

My parents are another story, I do feel bad that we have both moved so far away from them and that being in their 70s they have not really kept up with digital communication as much I would like.

So all in all, I think I have drifted away from people I would have drifted away from anyway. I've been surprised by some people who I've gotten closer to.
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Guero1



Joined: 20 Dec 2013
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I communicate with my family more than before but see them less now. Besides getting back to the UK isn't cheap.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9395
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think I communicate with my family more than before but see them less now.


The same for me...Skype being my favorite means of communication. I speak with my parents every day on skype actually, like they are at the dinner table with me.
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inotu-unotme



Joined: 26 May 2013
Posts: 172

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fitzgerald wrote:
BadBeagleBad wrote:
But I wonder if this is a consequence of living abroad, or if the same thing would happen if you moved across the country. Distance is distance, no matter where you live.

I think it IS different, because America is still America, and abroad is something quite different indeed, that many people cannot at all relate to. That is not to say that distance doesn't make a difference in itself, because it does. And of course, some people cannot understand a relative who even moves to another state.


I wanted to say I tend to agree with this... There seems to be a disconnect between some family and friends because I don't know... If I guessed I would say it can be blamed on the fact that living abroad is such a huge step and so odd they can't begin to comprehend. To be fair living abroad is much different than visiting then leaving in a few weeks. I truly don't think its for everyone. Some people take to it and some don't.

I do feel living abroad has changed me in ways that are difficult to explain. On the other hand I have family that has never gone outside of the state they live in. Maybe the differences are so great some people don't handle it well?
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Gringo Greg



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 252
Location: Everywhere and nowhere

PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was never close to my family since leaving the US and had long lost touch with many of my friends. We have been back in the US for a year and its hard to reintegrating...especially since we came back as students and will leave again after we finish up.

About my family: I was never close so coming back I find I have absolutely nothing in common with any of them. I really don't even like being around them.
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mtiz



Joined: 18 May 2014
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a good point but I think this is natural in life. I do agree being abroad changes things, like I'm "in a foreign country" and visiting me would be the same as flying across the country, but people are so hesitant to do it. It is unfortunate but also it is a part of life.
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Soft Machine



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dunno, when I go to my hometown and I ask friends who remain about others who remain, they have no idea where they are or what they are up to despite the fact that they live in the same smallish town. Growing apart begins the day of graduation from high school/university/grad school. People get caught up in their lives and what is important to them may not be for others. I have one friend who I used to love, but he's turned into a Tea Party arsehole - c'est la vie.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9395
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I have one friend who I used to love, but he's turned into a Tea Party arsehole - c'est la vie.


Shocked Laughing

My own mother went this route too (a Canadian equivalent, let's say). It's definitely caused a chasm between us.
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Jultime



Joined: 25 Jun 2014
Posts: 14
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been a nomad all my life. I've lived in different parts of Canada and the US. Its been my experience that friends and family move on with their lives whether or not we're there. We also move on with our lives. I learned long ago that its not easy to maintain close relationships when we live thousands of miles apart. I also learned that its pointless for me to put a lot of effort into maintaining a friendship if the other party isn't equally reciprocating.

I'll soon be starting the next chapter in my life somewhere in Mexico. I'm glad for Skype and Facebook. I know my mother would have a fit if I didn't post pictures, links and maps on Facebook.
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