How to Work in Someone Else's Country

Ruth Stark
Foreword by Bill Bicknell

  • Published: July 2015
  • Subject Listing: Travel
  • Bibliographic information: 174 pp., 5.5 x 8.5 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Donald R. Ellegood International Publications
  • Contents

Working abroad offers adventure, friendship with people of other cultures, intimate familiarity with exciting places, and opportunities to make real differences in communities. It also presents countless challenges, ranging from packing and staying safe and healthy to balancing project objectives with on-the-ground realities, working with local officials, and forging respectful and productive relationships. These challenges and many more are tackled in How to Work in Someone Else's Country. Drawing on thirty years of experience as an international consultant in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific, Ruth Stark provides guidance for anybody preparing to work in a foreign country.

This easy-to-read guide is enlivened by real-life examples drawn from the author's journals and stories shared by colleagues. Slim enough to fit in a carry-on, this book is sure to come in handy wherever your work takes you.
Ruth Stark is an international health professional who currently serves as a senior technical advisor in South Africa. She has worked with the World Health Organization, international relief and development NGOs, and national government agencies and institutions,and has taught and published widely on basic health services delivery in resource-limited settings.
Foreword by Bill Bicknell, MD, MPH

A Note to the Reader


1. Relationship is Everything . . . and Everyone is Related

2. The First Step: Figuring Out What Your Job Is

3. The Second Step: Figuring Out Whom You Are Working For

4. Questions to Ask before You Start Packing

5. A Few Travel Survival Tips

6. Keeping Safe

7. What to Do If You Get There and Nobody Wants You

8. How to Make Them Glad That You Are There

9. Living and Working in the Public Eye

10. Working with Your Local Counterparts

11. Meet the Press

12. Dress Code for the International Professional

13. Working with Governments

14. Visiting the Field

15. Presenting Your Message

16. On Gift Giving

17. A Few Notes on Culture

18. Briefing and Debriefing

19. Making a Difference

20. Profile of the Effective International Worker

A Few Last Words

"A quick, engaging read. Whether you are about to embark on your first volunteer stint abroad or are a seasoned aid worker with a couple decades in the field, open it up."
-Jennifer Lentfer,, March 2012

"Chock-full of tips leisure travelers can use . . . but most valuable are her years of experience building and observing cross-cultural relationships in all kinds of settings."
-Valerie Rains, Budget Travel, December 2011

"Her advice is well written, thoughtfully indexed, and expressed with the same careful consideration that has carried Emily Post's Etiquette through eighteen editions. . . . Stark highlights not just skills critical to people working overseas, but strengths all entrepreneurs must find within themselves to succeed."
-Joseph Thompson, ForeWord, Spring 2012

"2012 ALA Annual Conference 'Best of the Best' University Press Books for Public and Secondary Schools Libraries"