In an attempt to keep myself occupied mentally and physically while I endure this American exile, I enrolled in martial arts classes at a strip mall. Thai boxing, escrima, and jeet kune do.
I also enrolled in one class towards a master's degree in education.
It's an Intro to Academic Research class: statistics and reading scientific studies, that kind of thing.
And it's interesting enough, and it's always nice to learn something new, but I continue to have doubts about whether it's worth the $15 - $20,000 (or more) to get a master's degree.
I was listening to a program on NPR about the continuing crisis in education in America; the salary I get at this job, $50,000, is pretty much towards the top end salary of a normal non-administrative teaching job in America. A master's might get me more, but I'm not sure how much more. I doubt it would be too much more.
I continue to hear stories from China (from readers and one colleague here) about master's degrees actually not being accepted now as proof of qualifications -- the law now strictly demands a 120-hour certificate to get the "foreign expert" thing.
Of course it would probably help me get a position in the Emirates, or some place like Kuwait, but really, so what? I can save more money in Saudi Arabia than either of those places, in addition to saving the $18,000 cost of the master's degree, and Bahrain and Dubai are short hops away.
I know there are some government teaching jobs -- embassy and department of defense positions -- available that require master's, but again, most contractors hire people for the same or very similar positions and don't require a master's degree. (They're more looking for a wrong-headed willingness to put yourself in harm's way somewhere shitty.)
And, just generally, is it really worth it in a field so stupid and half-assed as this one?
So I really am still not convinced ...