Traveling by teaching

Travel Perspectives — By on July 3, 2007 at 11:50 am

Everyone who loves to travel and who isn’t independently wealthy tends to be engaged in a constant search for new ways to see the world without busting the bank account. Marc Levitt discovered a solution that works for him, as he teaches and consults at international schools.

I was always fascinated by travel. To pass the time in elementary school, I copied maps. When I was 12, I wrote to every game preserve in Africa for a summer job. No responses, however. I did get to do some traveling – a summer in the merchant marine, clown school in Paris, Mexico in the early ’70s. But it wasn’t until I discovered International Schools that my traveling desires were satiated.

These schools, for children of expatriates, teachers, diplomats, corporate executives and missionaries, are all over the world and most use English as their main language. The children and their parents are often referred to as “third culture people,” individuals who spend most of their time outside their passport country. In many ways, they are not dissimilar to many in our migrating world; refugees, immigrant workers, and children of mixed heritage like Barack Obama, who had a Kenyan father and Midwestern white mother and who lived for a time in Indonesia…

This last school year I worked in Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Poland and the Philippines and twice in China (Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai). And I love it. Every new country is a challenge. Every new city’s transit system needs figuring out, every new restaurant menu needs to be deciphered, every old building. Most people I meet or geographic feature I engage with leave an impression and, occasionally, a story to tell.

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