Monday, October 20, 2008

Identifying the Barriers

In a letter this week a person asked, “Does Theologians Without Borders have travel scholarships?”

I said we don’t have scholarships at this stage but I have been receiving financial donations and I am hoping for gifts of Air Miles.

A doctoral student in the southern hemisphere also wrote this week about TWB saying:

“I would be more than willing to teach in a needy country, but I would have a problem affording it financially. If… theology schools would pay for such trips to needy areas, I would be happy to go wherever to teach.”

Going to teach in a needy part of the world may not be your cup of tea. Not everyone is comfortable with cross cultural teaching but I am keen to identify the major barriers.

Chris Guillebeau in a post entitled, ‘Why You Should Quit Your Job and Travel Around the World’ lists some of the barriers against such a proposal:

* I don’t have money to travel
* The rest of the world is dangerous
* I like staying at home
* I’ll do this kind of stuff when I retire

Which of these factors (and others) rise high as barriers as you consider the possibility of a short term, volunteer teaching assignment in a needy country?

Or adapting the words of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8: 37), “Here is an opportunity! What is preventing me from going to teach?”

As I get ready to embark on a visit to North and South America sharing the vision of TWB, informing people about the needs, challenging people to teach or support somebody else to go, I want to get a clearer idea of the factors preventing people from going to teach.

Can you post a comment or drop me a letter?

In particular, I am keen to know to what extent money is a barrier and, if an airfare was available, whether this would encourage you to volunteer your time and teaching talent.

Dr Geoff Pound
Email: geoffpound[@]gmail.com

Image: “I am keen to identify the major barriers.”