Voice of Exchange

deb ebster

Deb Ebster

Retired Academic Librarian,
University of Central Florida
Orlando, Florida, USA

Time in the Bahamas

Living and working in another country almost always forces you outside your comfort zone, yet it allows you the rare opportunity to view yourself, your profession, and your country through the lens of another culture.  You will gain valuable insights (not always positive) about being an American, which you could never grasp in a hundred years of life within our own borders.  While the cultural exchange is an exhilarating experience, anyone contemplating a job outside the U.S. needs to be ready for the ubiquitous debates on U.S. foreign policy.  As "the American" I found that I was frequently put on the spot to defend [or not defend] whatever actions our government was taking at the time.  However, I wouldn't trade my experiences for the entire world.  It was living and working abroad that taught me to cherish (rather than take for granted) our own unique, deeply held library tenets of public service and freedom of access, traditions which are not yet developed in most other countries.