Transitions Abroad Magazine Jan/Feb 2005 Vol. XXVIII, NO. 4
Abroad at Home
Back Door Travel
Jobs Abroad: Key Employers
Program News & Notes, Classifieds
From the Editor
With the new year upon us, we find inspiration in the October 2004 Terra Madre meeting of worldwide food communities in Turin, Italy. Conference founder and founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini said, “While a political approach unfortunately always generates divisions, a cultural approach is a way of bringing people together." He spoke of food and cooking as language, identity, and a primary need of humankind. “This pleasure has never been and will never become the privilege of a few. It is one of the physiological prerogatives of all us, a sign of humankind’s serene relationship with nature and life. Round the world, no food culture is more important than another,” he said.
Transitions Abroad travelers know that nothing is more true. Joe David’s experience learning to cook the diverse ethnically-influenced cuisine of Brazil (page 10) and new Transitions Abroad “Local Encounters” columnist Michele Peterson’s foray into Vietnamese cooking (page 23) brought them closer to the people and spirit of their host countries.
Such cultural understanding and connections on a local level will help lead us through the political challenges ahead. At the time of this writing we are still wondering about the much-anticipated Iraqi and Palestinian elections and the outcome in the Ukraine—where exit polls showed the vanquished in the lead. We understand all too well these days the uncertainty and even corruption of national elections.
And speaking of exits, a month after the U.S. presidential election, I received a call from a reporter asking whether Transitions Abroad had received any articles from despairing U.S. residents preparing to move abroad. We had not. (Web Editor's Note: The website received an enormous and unprecedented surge in traffic - nearly doubling our normal daily visitors even when taking into account our traffic growth rate - for all forms of work abroad on November 3rd until the Thanksgiving holiday).
New horizons may be on the minds of some politically disillusioned, but many more readers relocate on a short-term basis for the sheer fulfillment of a period of living abroad.
You might get your feet wet like Raymond Muzika (page 77), who did much legwork in Europe before buying a second home in Austria, or Susan Bauer (page 42), who visited Africa three times before moving to Namibia for six years. Others get a taste for international life with short-term jobs, like the popular option of teaching abroad. We devote a large part of this issue to a Jobs Abroad resource section and to Participant Stories on teaching English. With a college degree, knowledge of English grammar, enthusiasm, patience, and the desire to live and work in another culture, you too can become a teacher of English abroad. If you’ve already taught abroad, and you’re hooked, you’ll discover plenty of new regional opportunities. If after reading this issue you are ready to sign up for a teaching English certification course—or if you want to go it alone—I encourage you to visit www.transitionsabroad.com for more useful information. Also take a look at the revised 2005 edition of Susan Griffith’s indispensable Teaching English Abroad and Transitions Abroad’s own Work Abroad.
In addition to updating her classic book, Susan has also updated our Jobs Abroad Best Resources (page 36). We remain grateful to Susan for her dedication to helping people of all ages and backgrounds “work their way to the bank,” as writer Dan Eldridge puts it in the subtitle for his interview with Susan (page 12). I am reminded by their conversation that it is the experiences of others that encourage us to take life-changing paths. (Again, many more personal reports on work abroad can be found at www.transtionsabroad.com.)
Finally, less we leave the all-important subject behind, we are reminded that politics is as integral a part of crossing borders as food and language. In the upcoming March/April issue Transitions Abroad independent travel editor and columnist Rob Sangster will revisit Burma (Myanmar), hoping to find that the latest release of prisoners, including some members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, may be indicative of a move toward a more democratic society.