[LMB] foreign travel

Carol Cooper carolcooper at shaw.ca
Sun Jun 27 15:52:00 BST 2010


Meg Justus wrote
> 
> Not to jump into an already heated discussion, but unpaid leave is a rare
> luxury in the US unless you quit your job completely.  It's also extremely
> rare to be able to let your vacation time build up from year to year here.
> Basically you either use it during the calendar year you accrue it, or you
> lose it.  The only instance I know of where anyone was able to do that was
> when my father had been with his company for 25 years.  They let him take
> a
> week from his 24th year and add it to his 25th.  That was the year we
> drove
> to Alaska.  One of my best childhood memories.

That was one of the main cultural differences we noticed when we moved from
Britain to Canada.  In England, as a mid-career geologist with a petroleum
company, my husband had 5 weeks vacation a year, and when the company posted
him to Canada, as an ex-pat he kept that leave.  When other (North
American-based) companies started head-hunting him he was able to write it
into his contract that he kept his European-length vacation allowance.

At the time we talked about it a lot with other ex-pats and Canadian friends
and came to the conclusion that while historically in North America
employment negotiations had pushed for maximization of earnings, in Europe
Trade Unions had concentrated at least as much on quality of life and hence
adequate leisure time. Basically a difference in priorities.

I'm not sure that the North American parochialism is purely down to the
difficulties in travelling to different countries - I think there's a real
lack of awareness/interest in other countries and world politics in general.
Every time I spend time back home in Britain I'm struck by how much more
high-quality coverage of world events there is on the television, radio and
quality newspapers.  I'm talking about lengthy in-depth documentaries and
panel discussions about world political and social issues, and on main
chanels rather than tucked away on Chanel 160 on cable or whatever.  There's
simply more awareness of what's going on in the rest of the world.
Certainly geography has a lot to do with that - Britain's a smaller country
with a lot of near neighbours so the importance of understanding other
viewpoints is really important.

I find myself drifting into complacency about world news because one has to
make so much more effort to stay in touch with it here in Canada.  Yes, you
can find decent coverage in the media if you make the effort, but no-one
else is talking about it or involved in it, so it takes more personal
commitment to it.  I don't know what the answer is to that.

Carol




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