compulsory gratefulness

My experience as a foreigner in academia includes a nearly constant feeling of gratefulness, accompanied by a nearly constant feeling of exhaustion. The fact that universities have to process more paperwork for me than for national candidates (I am referring to the terror land of visas) combined with the importance of this paperwork for me (not only my job, but my stay in the country with my family is at stake) – all these things make me soak in gratefulness for things that, if I look at them with a colder mind, don’t call for that (the “colder mind” stage always comes after I have my visa renewed for another year and I enjoy several stress-free months). After all, my university is not making me a favor – it is a fair exchange of benefits, where I contribute my skills and hard work.

Feeling constantly grateful to HR offices, department chairs, deans, department secretaries, international scholars offices, even when they make mistakes (such as missing a deadline for some visa requirements), and even when they make deliberate Continue reading