A few people have inquired about the current state of affairs on my side so I thought I would post about what decisions I am facing at this stage in my life.

I have a contract with my current employer till June this year. It has been a great experience working in Namibia. I have been involved with so many interesting projects and people that I will never regret my decision to have come here. I have learnt a great deal about higher education management and issues in this capacity especially in the context of a developing environment. This has led me to believe that I am suited and interested in pursuing a career in education management to some degree.

I applied for a job in a very remote area of Canada in November last year. I have job alerts set up for key words which match my profile on most of the major job sites in Canada. When this job came up I couldn’t resist the temptation to apply as it matched nearly all of my skills and experiences. A reply came in early January which indicated that I was short listed for the position. I had expected to hear from them earlier and had nearly written off the opportunity. Understandably the holiday season had created a wider window for a response. I began the interview process with a few teleconferences which led to a request for a videoconference. Let me tell you setting up the means for a videoconference was not easy and it cost a bundle. Luckily the potential employer was willing to foot the bill and I conducted the video session in late January. We had some difficulty establishing the connection but eventually got going with a few drop outs. I felt confident that I was the person for the job and surely had the skills to meet their needs. Sometime later I received word that I was not selected for the job. I found out later that they hired internally. I believe that a key factor in my not getting selected was that I was unwilling to leave my contract with my current employer early. They would have had to wait until July; actually I would have likely tried to push it till August for a short stopover in Seychelles.

Late last year I also submitted an application to study in Cape Town. I chose the best university in Africa for obvious reasons. The prospect of studying further at the Masters level in Africa also proves to be quite affordable for me. Never mind the fact that the last time I was in Cape Town I fell nearly head over heels in love with the place.

I received my acceptance to study in the Faculty of Education at the university during the week of registration. That confirmation of my acceptance came a bit late for me to register properly, not to mention all the remaining logistics of moving. I was a bit crafty in my application as I had no intention to start in January because of my commitment to fulfill my contract at work. I had all intention to defer if accepted and pick up study in mid 2008. As this is a fairly attractive option for me I have spoken to the faculty and have confirmed the possibility of deferring my acceptance to either July 2008 or February 2009. Unfortunately upon confirming my fees as an international student I am still trying to confirm whether this is a financially viable option for me.

In the meantime I have made further applications for jobs up my alley, always bearing in mind my existing options and therefore keeping the applications to ‘dream jobs’ only. I have applied for jobs in Canada, The United Kingdom, Singapore, China, and The United States (well Hawaii, not the mainland, eck!). Options for other masters programs usually come with a hefty application fee in foreign currency so I have limited those to just a few.

The option so well touted by my friends and family to simply return to Toronto seems very difficult. In fact I have not received any feedback from the jobs applied for in Canada as of yet. I am not surprised due to the highly skilled workforce and immediate need for any vacant position. Returning to Toronto outright seems like it would be an extremely hard transition. This may be a surprise as it is my home and completely familiar.

One of the key things that was mentioned to me as I embarked on my international internship which brought me here it the first place was re-integration and reverse culture shock. It can be very difficult to readjust to normality after a stint in a very foreign place. One may be faced with boredom, frustration, and difficulty in proving worth on the home terrain.

So I am very adamant about not simply coming home lest there be an attractive post with which I can transition to. Although my love for my family and friends goes deeper than they could ever imagine, especially with the extended stay abroad, I need to pick a path which is on course with my life so far. It’s true I always wanted to go work overseas, but nothing can prepare you for the challenges associated with this. I am fortunate to have not had a death in the family which would be incomprehensible for me to deal with at such a great distance, although this is not incomprehensible in the future.

On a lighter note I have begun teaching as a part time activity with the school of information technology. This is one of the best decisions I have made in my life as I simply love it. Still can’t imagine teaching those that really don’t want to be taught, i.e. high school, grade school. The university teaching experience is fantastic as students have a stake in what they are doing and really engage you in the classroom. I’m teaching a very basic computing course to business students. So far the experience has been great and I finally feel that I have lost my fear of public speaking. I remember in university when a presentation was looming I was nearly paralyzed with fear. No longer is this the case and I am considering joining the local ‘ToastMasters’ group to really be tested.

This Friday I will travel to Cape Town for a week to enjoy a bit of a holiday. The big objective for the trip will be to visit the university I have applied for and meet with the faculty and international office to determine whether it is a sensible option to conduct my masters program. So though I have made no decisions just yet as to what the future holds, I thought I would give an update on where things are at. I would love the unbiased recommendations of my friends and family.

Recently someone told me that I would be crazy to go back to Canada, although I think this is partly due to the insane winter that has fallen on the great lakes region. I actually love the winter, and recall a very delightful experience one morning as the gentle snow fell while I was home in December. I watched my breath exit my body, not due to garlic consumption, but a brisk cool morning air. Snowflakes on my tongue!!! It was great!

Hope this post is of worth to some. Truly I have been meaning to post it for some time. Will be back soon with an update from Cape Town.

CC BY 4.0 What’s Up! by Michael Paskevicius is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.