Making It Work
Here are some pointers for having a successful sabbatical.
· Those of you who are brave enough to venture into the non-English speaking world should recognize that language skills will dramatically influence your experience, so you should try to allocate time for learning some survival phrases.
· Plan way ahead because it will take much more time than you think to make the necessary arrangements.
· Do your homework on how things work in the cultures to visit. Reading books and surfing the internet still proves invaluable for a wide range of future interactions, from getting the right information during training to getting your favorite food in restaurants.
· Think carefully about how you want to interact with your fellow members of the workshop. Because they will be as uncertain as you are about the proper relationship and expectations, it may be up to you to design something that will work for everyone.
· Be flexible, and have fun. You will be surprised on a daily basis by your sabbatical life, so you might as well learn to enjoy the unexpected.
· Be prepared for the final surprise. The culture shock on your return may well be greater than anything you experienced during your sabbatical! This will demonstrate how much you have changed.
In 1975 just before I left for a seven month training period in Japan a friend told me: ‘You will be surprised when you come back how the people have changed who didn't change at all, and he was right I still remember the cultural shock.‘