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Now that I'm finally in Russia, I feel like a fire has been lit under my ass.
For the past several years I was slowly going through college, trying to get a Technical Writing degree. I figured that I would get that, then take one of the intensive TESL certification courses like the CELTA. Although I had plans to possibly work or move abroad, I was mostly just going through the motions in a half-hearted manner. Despite all the bad things I read about AWS, and with all things about them which irked me directly, I was still desperately trying to get a girlfriend for a 2 year period. I was sure if I would be able to move out in time, and wanted to experience passionate bliss with a woman who loved me at least once before I died. I had some fun times, including a short one month relationship, but none of it was as good as I had hoped.
For the most part I was looking among goth girls. Within the compartmentalized cliquish culture of the US, they were the only group I had easy access to at clubs that I had at least some things in common with and could easily meet. When I look back now on some of the girls I fell in love with, only to be rejected, I now get that WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING? vibe. Some of the women I feel in love with were completely and utterly not worth it, and others were decent but not compatible with me. A mindset of scarcity combined with loneliness and blueballs does strange things to one's sense of rationality.
Now however, I want to be able to move more than ever. Even if I can't live with my lady friend in Russia, I want OUT of the US matrix. I still have seven classes left in college before I can finish my degree, spread over two semesters. I can scarcely contain my rage at some of the bullshit courses I have to take, there are really only two classes left I REALLY need (and they're scheduled on different semesters). Part of me wants to just run out, get my CETLA/TEFL and say f**k it to getting a bachelors. I feel like I have very little time remaining before the US implodes, or it just gets plain harder and more expensive to move. I'm worried though that it would be harder to get one of the better TEFL jobs without a bachelors, especially seeing as how I will have 10,000 in student debt. Sigh. Decisions...
Hang in there, Enishi and don't drop that university study at this point. It's not worth it and you'll regret it down the road. Stick it out two more semesters and just finish it up, and then put it behind you. Not having that degree will bite you in the ass down the road, believe me. And no, the US will not implode by next Spring. Yes the economy sux, but it'll go up and down for a long time. Just don't worry about those bigger issues that you can't control. Besides, the whole world's economy is linked with the US's economy, so whatever happens here affects what goes on there abroad anyhow, so don't sweat it.
Once you have the degree, get the TESL cert and hit the highway, man. You'll be set. It's just one more year. Big deal. At least you got a good taste of Russia and the potential out there. Let that drive you through the last two semesters, OK? I'd hate to see someone throw it all away, based on a emotional reaction. Stay cool and calm as a cucumber, my friend.
I had the same problem with student loans. The thing is there are all types of deferrals, hardship payments ( reduced), and all kind of arrangements you can make with them. I was able to move to Thailand still with 10K in student loans. Somehow I made the payments. When I could not, I called them for a deferral. Then I went to Saudi and paid it all off. If the worse comes to worst, you could do a stint in Saudi- Russia is nearby, btw, and then just visit your gal every several months. Saudi gives long vacations- 40+ -60+ days a year. Sometimes you can space them over several times a year. And the money is good.
Just tough it out with your BA.
You will be able to get a job in Russia with a TESL certification. I wanted to quit school several times but I am glad I didn't. Just hang in there.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
I also agree that you should finish your bachelor's degree since you're so close to finishing. Without it, the countries where you can find work will be much more limited. Most FSU countries in Europe require a bachelor's degree and a TEFL/CELTA certificate.
In order to keep sane, you could immerse yourself in Russian media from the internet (listen to Russian internet talk radio while you're doing homework or eating, watch Russian pop videos, download video games which are dubbed in Russian, read news about Russia in English, etc.).
Your mental location doesn't have to match your physical one.
Precisely! I used Saudi and Kuwait to learn Tagalog and Visaya as well as finance my life in the Philippines later. I am now many years ahead of those guys who did not go there. Use time you are in the US to start preparing for your Russian life. If you coolly and calmly sit down with a piece of paper and commit your thoughts to it, number crunch and break big obstacles into smaller more-dealable-with pieces, you will be able to see that you can accomplish most things you will put your mind to.
Last edited by ladislav on July 7th, 2010, 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
Concur with the above advice. The U.S. imploded culturally a long time ago -- I make it a fait accompli sometime in the early '90s. It has lived on as a locus of economic activity, and while the financial sector is about to complete its rout of the real economy of goods and services and of government, that is happening also throughout much of the rest of the world. If the '30s in the U.S. are any guide, the cultural matrix actually improves a bit following upon economic devastation.
I concur also... you really need to get that piece of paper. As Ladislav pointed out thier are the lower-tier jobs via recruiters in Oman and Saudi that pay $2,500-$2,700 net a month for just B.A/B.S holders and a Celta.
Get E'R Done!
I had a three year contract in Saudi once with one of those low tier jobs. But I flew out to the RP every 4.5 months, went on African safaris, went to the US and back, sent my gf to school, and still left with 70K in the bank. You can do the same.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
I have private student loans. The Federal student loans will give you infinite deferments. Private loans will not. Just like a mortgage or car loan. If I ever wanted to come back to the states and I didnt pay, I'd have a terrible credit rating. Luckily it is only $250, but that would be a huge chunk of cash if I were teaching English in South America somewhere.
Ladislav, I checked out the ESL cafe for Saudi ESL jobs and they all pay about $3700/month, tax free. I have a few questions about that:
1. Is that tax-free from the Saudi gov't? I assume you still have to report this income to the US gov't, but can fall under the tax amnesty, right?
2. What are your in-country expenses typically, i.e. how much of that $3700/month can you actually pocket, after expenses, food, going out (what's there to do anyway)?
3. Do they offer to teach you Arabic in return? I notice that in China they will often give you a Chinese assistant, who will teach you Chinese (not sure if there's a cost).
$3700 a month jobs are not that easy to get for newbies although possible. Most low tier jobs are dime a dozen and they do not work you too hard. They just want an infidel in the chair. You report your income on 2555 and 1040 but you only report it cause anything under 84K is tax free. The Saudis do not have taxes. An alien concept.
You need some $800 a month to live very well. You pocket the rest.
Usually there are no Arabic classes at the company but some do offer them at compounds. Just buy a book. Most people you will meet there will be Indians and Filipinos and Arabs speak English. Most people do not learn Arabic.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
The best ME jobs that I have seen on Tefl.com and Daves Esl forum posts are only in the range of $2,700 requiring 1-2 yrs experience.
I have seeing scouring the local ME job websites and have found a few entry level esl positions...but they are far and few between..
Actually, I've taught English in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Russia, but don't have a TESL cert. I just took a course at a US college and got a little cert from that. I can attest to the fact that I know English grammar better than most Americans, as well, so that's not an issue. I've been called a Grammar Nazi by many...
There's a company called FrankinCovey that makes day planners and organizers, very popular with Fortune 500 companies. They send trainers to companies to teach classes on how to write business documents and e-mail. Almost everyone working at the Fortune 500 company's white collar jobs have some college education, but their grammar is horrible. At my last job, we had English writing classes for everyone, except they're fashionably named "Business writing etiquette" or something like that.
Our textbook looked something like this:
One of the things that's driven me crazy working in the IT field for the last dozen years or so, is that IT guys don't tend to have good social skills, and don't know how to write, let alone penmanship (a dying art, in my opinion). One of the things I've always tried to emphasize in my resume, is that I'm a technical person, with business acumen, but also excellent interpersonal skills, who can work with vendors, customers and upper management. I also speak several foreign languages.
Unfortunately, in the US, the focus is not on being "well-rounded", as in Europe, but rather you must be a subject matter expert (SME) in one specific thing to the total exclusion of anything else. It's a myopic approach that drives me insane. I read somewhere recently that in America, if you engage in some activity, it must be for the sole purpose of earning money. If your activity - whatever it may be - does not lead to increased earnings, it is worthless or a waste of time. I'm sorry, but there's more to life than work, and personally, I have about 50 hobbies, some of them sports, some working with my hands, and others are intellectual. None of them are about earning money. They're about enriching my life, my mind, and my soul.
I hope I will fare better in Europe or elsewhere, since my career and time in the US appears to have run its course. As much as I love this country, I really don't fit in, and I'm tired of having to leave the "non-American" side of me out of my public life here. It's quite a joke and disappointing. I can't deny who I am anymore, so maybe this long-term lay-off will be for the best. Let's hope the old adage that "change leads to good things" will be true.