Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Living in Europe is Nothing Like a Vacation

In a classic case of: “the pot enjoying the kettle calling itself black,” MDR (a radio station here) aired a story that quoted an American complaining that Americans are too arrogant. It was a part of a larger story in which a bunch of Americans were quoted as saying that Europe was a much better place than America to live.

“Oh, I would definitely live in Europe if I could. I’ve been there several times and everything is so laid back. The pace of life is so slow!”

Now, this post is not going to be an attempt to argue against that story. There are plenty of reasons for loving both places. However, this “news report” did spark a few thoughts. For starters, how could any of these Americans, who had only ever been to Europe for vacation, begin to know what it is like to live in Europe? Of course it would seem very laid back if you were there for fun! Wherever life occurs, there will always be more stress and pressure than in vacations!

Many Americans have this perception about Europe. They think it is such an easy and privileged place to live. Why then, do so many Americans who attempt to move t Europe for cross-cultural ministry burn out and go back. Recent figures show that Western Europe in particular had the highest rate of attrition for imb of any of the regions it reaches. Probably it is due to these very same false expectations. Europe is a surprisingly different culture. People do not realize the amount of adjustment that is needed to live in this continent in spite of all the beauty, history and “luxury.” The fact is when you live in a place and work there, your life is nothing like the vacations that people imagine having there.

All that, and the story never brought up a comparison between how many people immigrate form Europe to the US vs. the other way around. That would be an interesting number to investigate.

1 comment:

  1. Amen! and Amen! and going on a mission trip isn't the same as being a career missionary.


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