Hood River Middle School teacher Angie Adkins is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, and for the 46-year-old mother of two, the timing “feels just right” to pack up, move to a distant corner of the world and begin a new chapter of her life story.
Next month Adkins will depart for Abu Dhabi, the capital and second-largest city in the United Arab Emirates, for an abroad teaching job that will last at least one year.
“I’ll get an e-ticket sometime in August and will have a few days to get ready and leave,” she said this week with excitement. “Once I get there, I’ll have training in the city for a while before they tell me where I will live and which grade I will be teaching.”
The job is facilitated through the Abu Dhabi Educational Council, which has recruited thousands of licensed teaches from native English-speaking countries to integrate into its school system and teach students subjects in English.
Adkins has taught a variety of subjects and grades over her 23 years in education, and after 11 years at HRMS, she is ready for a temporary change of scenery.
“I want to keep my teaching fresh, and this feels like the right time to mix it up a bit and try something different,” she said. “My kids are grown up now — one is halfway through college and the other is starting grad school. They have both traveled quite a bit, and I think they gave me the travel bug.”
Adkins says she is doing as much reading on language and culture as she can to prepare for the trip, but with very little international travel under her belt, she acknowledges that no matter what she does between now and when she arrives, she can only do so much to prepare for the unknown.
“I’m not going to pretend I know exactly what I’m getting into, because I don’t,” she said. “But that’s okay. It’s a new adventure, and I’m ready for that.”
To chronicle her trip and share her experiences with friends and family back home, Adkins started a blog (www.angiein
abudhabi.blogspot.com) that she intends to update on a regular basis.
“I do not know if I will love it there or not, but that really isn’t why I’m going there,” she writes in her first blog post. “I suppose I am excited, but I’m not in a frenzy ... at least not yet. I look forward to beginning the adventure, but I am also enjoying my last weeks here in Hood River with family and friends whom I will miss.
“Let’s be real, this is work, not a vacation. I’m not really a dreamer, nor am I a skeptic. So, being the realist that I am, I try not to get too many fantastical ideas about what this will or will not be. I just take each day at time and figure out what needs to be accomplished that day, so that I’m as well prepared as I can be when I get my magical e-ticket that will whisk me away to the Middle East.”
About the UAE
Abu Dhabi is the largest city, and capital of the UAE, located in the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula. It is a federation of autonomous emirates, or kingdoms, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
UAE won independence from Great Britain in 1971. Its literacy rate is 91 percent.
Arabic and English are dominant languages in the oil-rich country, which has the seventh-largest petroleum reserve, and the seventh-highest per-capita income, $64,480.