WORKING ABROAD / AUG. 30, 2015
version 10, draft 10

Why Me? 5 Horrible Things That Happened to Workers Abroad

James Bond Skyfall
Skyfall

Moving to another country is exciting, adventurous, and just a little bit scary. Best case scenario, you slowly adapt to the work and the culture. Worst case scenario, something horrible happens to you and you run home like a little crybaby. OK, I might be slightly trivializing some people’s horrifying, traumatizing experiences, but worry not – I’m about to write an article about horrible things that happened to people who were working abroad.

See Also: The Real Back Room: Horrifying Exterminator Stories

1. The Heartbreak

It’s easy to get caught up in the exotic beauty of a faraway land and be wooed by a native with a sexy accent and strange ways, like putting whole pickles on hot dogs. Such culture. Eventually, you become way too liberal with the use and access of your nether region, and you slowly start falling for the sexy, statuesque local. They take you to all the local haunts, you walk along the water of an irrigation ditch, and you have mind-blowing foreign land intercourse (which is way better than the homespun counterpart, of course).

One fine day, however, your mysterious full-pickle-on-a-hot-dog lover disappears like your undergarments after a third round of the local liquor. You sit and wait for their return but your departure comes before that, and so you leave with a bitter taste in your heart-mouth (and a little bit of an itch down below).

This is a pretty standard story – boy meets girl (or boy meets boy or girl meets girl or whichever variation suits your preferences), boy falls in love with girl (or boy with boy or girl with girl… in light of inclusiveness, I think I have written myself into a loop but I think you get the point), and then exotic boy/girl disappears and non-exotic one ruminates about all the exported lovemaking they had only to return home with a strange rash and a broken heart. Can I warn you against it? Sure, but what the crotch says, the heart follows.

2. Accident Abroad

You are exposed to the dangers of, well, everything – even at home – but imagine going through an emergency situation in a foreign land full of foreign people that speak foreign-ese. Terrifying, right? I mean, how will you ask for a tall glass of Orangina in hospital? Will they bring you tea, coffee, or liquor? Do you expect foreign hospitals to be like KLM’s business class?

Anyway, I found a case in which a girl was caught in an apartment building fire and had to jump from the fifth floor to survive but still managed to fracture her spine, ankles and wrist, and another unfortunate soul was mugged and lost her cash, ID and passport. In any case, both made it back home and actually became advocates to educate other individuals looking to travel and work abroad. This only cements the fact that you can take a bad experience and create good out of it.

3. The Less Than Legal Side

Not everyone goes to a foreign country will all off their i’s dotted and t’s crossed (no visas or entry permits, for example). For the most part, these are simply oversights and, although frowned upon, aren’t condemnable (they just slap your butt on the next available plane and send you home). But what if your intentions were a bit more nefarious, a bit more black market-y?

Well, let me tell you that doing something illegal on home turf is bad enough, doing it abroad can be detrimental to your ability to live. For the love of God, make sure that, if you’re an aspiring drug smuggler, do not do your drug smuggling in countries which favor the death penalty for the aforementioned infraction. At the time of the writing of this article, Indonesia’s Prime Minister ordered a group of six people to be executed by firing squad for drug trafficking. If you think they were Indonesian citizens, you would be grossly mistaken. The executed were Vietnamese, Nigerian, Dutch, Malawi, and Brazilian.

So yeah, if you choose to travel on the wrong side of the law, do it in a country that’s not as trigger happy as Indonesia… the U.S. would be a good alternative, for example.

4. Attempted Rape

Good grief, this list reads like a catalogue of the worst of human behaviors… Anyway, I know you sick puppies love this shit, so here goes.

A young lady and recent college graduate thought working in Southeast Asia as part of her gap year (a year during or after college dedicated to enriching one’s experiences) might be a good idea. The beginning of her journey saw her getting locked inside her hotel room (due to the lack of a doorknob) and was moved to another room – which she evacuated because a cockroach ran across her pillow.

I hate to criticize someone who was victimized, but you’ve got to have a certain, err, constitution to be a world traveler; sometimes conditions aren’t exactly ideal or as hygienic as you like, and you’ll just have to flip your pillow over and sleep facedown to avoid having various vermin scuttling across your face. Just saying, it’s better they scuttle over the back of your head than over your face.

Well, anyway, our fair, young and delicately constituted traveller decided to sit in the hallway of the hotel crying. Two Dutch tourists returning from a night out offered her a spot on their hotel room floor, which she graciously accepted. And that, folks, is where the fairytale ends. She managed to nod off for just a few hours only to be awoken by one of the Dutch tourists lying behind her and groping her breasts and buttocks. When she tried to break away from the bold assailant, he grabbed on to her tighter but she screamed and he immediately released her. She ran outside and sat in the hotel courtyard until sunrise.

5. The Toilet Doldrums

So, your body is used to overly processed, frozen foods with little to no vitamins or nutritional value. If you’re moving to work in another developed country, you’ll be absolutely fine and able to eat your weight in frozen bagel pizzas. If you choose to go to another less developed country, however, you might come head to head with the Poo Poo Train (get it? Like Choo Choo Train… Man, you guys have no appreciation for the linguistic arts).

You might also have to deal with items that are less than refrigerated (or cryogenically flash-frozen much like Walt Disney allegedly was) and bacteria your body isn’t accustomed to. This will result in violent vacating via both – how do I put this lightly? – your pie hole… and the hole furthest away from your pie hole. Try keeping up with your workload when you can’t keep a morsel down, and then we’ll talk.

See Also: Freelance Horror Stories

Do you have a working abroad horror story? Let me know in the comments section below!

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