News: Overseas Travel:  Always an Adventure! - Oct 24, 2013
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Thursday, October 24, 2013General News

Overseas Travel: Always an Adventure!

At press, we are hoping that Senior Associate John Ritter will be able to leave Addis Adaba in time for his next consultancy in Kinshasa. Doubts were raised concerning his Congolese visa as he departed India, Africa-bound with a transit in Ethiopia. Apparently, the visa that had arrived on John's computer as he left his guest house in the wee hours of the morning did not satisfy the authorities at the Mumbai airport.

It boggles the mind how Search Associates travel, to parts unknown to most of us, in order to match the perfect candidates to great schools abroad.

Jim Ambrose, Past President, recalls the time he was flying from Accra to Yaounde via Lagos. He was stuck at the airport in Lagos from noon after it was reported that the President of Cameroon had commandeered the aircraft for his own use. Jim reminisces,

"Around 0400, another aircraft was dispatched, and everyone stampeded to board, only to find we were going to Douala instead. Of course, my suitcase was nowhere to be found, and I was stranded, so what to do but find a hotel."

Jim, still rational and on his feet, contacted the international school in Douala which, in turn, contacted the school in Yaounde, which dispatched a car and driver to collect him the next day. Jim's missing suitcase appeared a few days later when the secretary of the school in Yaounde, who was married to the King of the local tribe, made a call to the airline.

Susan Ritter, an Associate's associate, details the many hops she takes from John's and her home in Vientiane, Laos to assist at Bangkok's two recruitment fairs. She could fly, but her Scottish heritage propels her to economize. Susan wheels her suitcase out the front driveway to catch a golf cart-sized bus for a trip of several kilometers. After passing through Lao Immigration and customs, she catches a mini-van over the bridge that separates Laos from Thailand. Then, of course, she must pass through Thai Immigration and Customs. Once done, Susan hails a tuk-tuk for a 1.5 kilometer trip to Nong Khai's train station. She negotiates firmly for the $1.00 fee.

Susan then boards an overnight train for Bangkok, a 13-hour event "on a good run." Refreshed from a good night's sleep, she walks an underground passageway to catch her final subway ride, which drops her off across the street from the Westin Hotel. Another smooth journey completed.

Like all successful overseas educators, our associates and consultants must draw on great patience, flexibility, and a sense of humor. But the joy of working in and among global communities in the world of international education is far worth it.

Go for it.


Did You Know…?

Senior Associate John Ritter consults on matters of governance, planning, head and board transition, and staff development with schools all over the world.