We leave in 10 days!! Even though we knew it would…it’s gone by SO fast! I just wanted to write a little about the process it took for us to get to the point where we’re ready to get on a plane and move to another country 🙂
Our desire to live abroad together was sparked by several things: I studied abroad in 2006 and went back to France to work during the 2007-08 school year, then Jeff came to travel with me and proposed in Florence. Since then, we dreamed of going abroad together, but in the fall of last year we actually started to DO something about it. We had been in Columbia longer than expected and I would (surprisingly) have my full teaching certificate in the summer of 2012. We started asking friends & family for tips on how to get teaching jobs abroad. After talking to several people, we signed up with Search Associates.
We decided to attend a job fair in San Francisco during our week-long winter break in February. Going into the fair, we had already been offered jobs in Morocco but we wanted to go for the experience anyway. We were completely open to going anywhere that gave us a good opportunity. In the end, we chose AIS in Kuwait over Qatar and Morocco. It was one of the most emotional (and FAST) decisions of my life! I was kind of a mess 😉 But Kuwait offered us the best opportunity professionally. Plus, a friend of a friend who works for the government said that Morocco was actually the least safe of the 3 countries!
In order to get our work visas started, we had to send copies of our resumes, college diplomas, teaching certificates, and passports. We have to take the originals of all of these with us when we leave. The next step to receiving our visas was to get full medical exams. We have to prove to the government that we’re healthy enough to work & live there…no shots required! We had to obtain copies of the results plus a letter from our doctor stating we were healthy. Next we had to go to the local police department to get a police clearance of no criminal record. This then had to be authenticated by the Michigan government and then the US State Department.
We were finally able to send our paperwork to the Embassy of the State of Kuwait – our REAL passports, a passport picture, our entry work permit (from our school), a visa application form, the doctor’s letter & lab reports, a money order and a self-addressed envelope so they could mail our passports back to us. Although it seemed like preparing all of the paperwork took forever, we received our passports back with our visas within two weeks!
Our school takes care of getting us to and from Kuwait in the summer. After telling them our ‘home’ airport, we received e-tickets in June 🙂 If we want to come home (which we hope to!) for Christmas, we are responsible for funding our flights. When we get to Kuwait on the 24th, someone will be there to pick us up. The first week is full of orientations and trips to the store to get the finishing touches for our furnished 2-bedroom apartment that the school provides. We will be living in complexes (NOT compounds) with other school employees and families.
We’ve been asking questions on a blog to current teachers/staff at the school which has been quite helpful. But the best document we’ve received is our New Faculty Handbook. We’re really excited to start our adventure and immerse ourselves in another culture! In 10 days, we’ll start on our 21 hour journey to Kuwait…and then it all begins!