What’s your passion in life? Besides playing your respective sport, what interests you the most? What excites you and makes you lose track of time?
There seems to be a common theme when I talk to other overseas players about living overseas and then returning home. Some common sentiments that come up in these discussions express a feeling of time being “frozen” and everything at home being “put on hold.” Often times, it can feel as though you’re living two lives: one at home and another overseas.
The reason I brought up passion is because it’s one of the things that can help bridge the gap between this seemingly discrepant view of your life. By pursuing passions and interests while overseas playing, it’s a way of integrating home and work.
Here are three ways, all using different forms of technology, that might prove useful:
1. iBooks on iPad (or any kind of e-reader)
Yes, I’ve read my share of light fiction on my iPad, but recently I’ve been delving deeper. Mostly I’ve been perusing topics dealing with black history and culture, feminist thought, and spirituality. The authors I’ve had the pleasure of learning from range from Deepak Chopra and Audre Lorde to W. E. B. DuBois and Tim Wise. I’ve devoured these books and learned so much more than I could have in numerous classes taught about these authors because I wanted to learn on my own accord. The great thing about reading books or articles is that they always refer to other books and articles. Often times, these works may catch your eye as well and – Voila! – now you have another book to add to your reading list. Now, I’m sure your interests vary from mine, but find what ever makes your heart beat a little faster and pursue it!
Some other popular e-readers include the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo, but tablets are often used for the purpose of reading as well. As mentioned, I use my iPad, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Note, Google Nexus, and Sony Xperia are some other tablets with reading capabilities. You can also use your smartphone, if you’re so inclined. However, I find a phone screen a bit difficult to read a whole novel on.
Here are some top eBook reader apps for those who use Android operating systems: Kindle, Google Books, NOOK for Android by B&N, Aldiko Book Reader, Kobo eBooks.1
2. Rosetta Stone
While quite pricey (it can cost upwards of $400 USD for a complete language course, or $125 for a single level), it’s worth the investment if you really want to learn a new language without signing up for an in-class course. I’m sure you’ve spent more on any one or two various Apple gadgets put together. Or, if you’re feeling economically creative, you can add it to your birthday or Christmas wish list so somebody else can foot the bill. I took Spanish in high school and university but never quite got to the level I aimed for and have become quite rusty since. Ironically, I’ve been more inspired to study my Spanish since I’ve been in France. Obviously it would be useful to learn the language of the country you’re playing in, but any kind of second language looks good on the resume!
Rosetta Stone has expanded its programs for use on your smartphone, Android tablet, iPad, NOOK or Kindle Fire Tablet.
While I haven’t used it to its full potential yet, LinkedIn is a great place to find and make connections with a great number of people. The website’s purpose is “to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”2 I accumulate quite a number of connections with university professors, former classmates, former teammates and other people I’ve met. For those of you who can’t always sit down in front of the computer, LinkedIn’s app on my Blackberry Z10 is well organized an easy to use. I’ve previewed the app on Apple products and it looks good as well. It takes about 2 minutes to create an account, but a little more time if you want to add information to your profile that will make your house a home, so to speak. You can beef up your profile by adding your resume, finding connections, posting links and websites, and last but not least, adding a picture of your beautiful self.
As athletes, we’re so blessed to be able to use our bodies as instruments for our work. However, we know these bodies won’t last forever. Furthermore, many of us unfortunately know people who have had career-ending injuries. While fully enjoying the present and the job we love, it’s prudent to prepare for the future. This is why LinkedIn is such a valuable tool. The common saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” often rings true (although I’d like to think it’s a mixture of both!). So while you’re on the other side of the world working away at bettering your skills as a soccer player, volleyball player, hockey player or basketball player, etc, why not keep those valuable connections alive?
Someone close to me gave me a good piece of advice recently. She told me to make use of my time while I’m over here, and to truly enjoy it. We shouldn’t get so caught up with missing home or not being in our comfort zone and just wish away our time overseas until we can be back with our family and friends. You’ll never get those hours or days back. Although the suggestions on this list all require you to sit in front of some sort of tech device, don’t devote all of your time to them. Get out and enjoy some fresh air. Take a walk. Discover a new favorite restaurant in your city. Make some friends with the locals. Explore. Life is short. You should revel in every minute of it.