Six things I wish I’d known ...
Created: Wednesday, 31 August 2016 12:09
Susan M. Sandover on a Tefl career as a trailing partner, losing everything when evacuated from Libya, sharia law disinheritance and ‘risk-insurance strategies’
Susan M. Sandover was married to Bashir, a Libyan career diplomat, for 33 years. Dissatisfied with being just a travelling spouse, Sandover began her journey in the world of EFL 36 years ago. As she recalls in her memoir, ‘Teaching EFL gave me independence but there were unforeseen risks. It has been my breadwinner, my sanity and one of endless rewards, but also one of risks, some of which I have been able to overcome but the final one has proved insurmountable’ – sharia family inheritance law.
After experiencing with her husband ‘the traumas, difficulties and frankly terrifying experiences associated with the Gaddafi regime and US and Nato bombings, coups, a revolution and a blasphemy case’, the couple were evacuated from Libya to the UK. After Bashir’s death, Sandover was on the receiving end of the full force of sharia family law – she was entitled to inherit only one quarter of his property, despite three years of fighting in the courts.
With her memoir Libya. A Love Lived, A Life Betrayed – 9/36 (Susan M. Sandover, Troubador, www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=4113) to be published in November, the Gazette asked Sandover for her practical top tips and risk-insurance strategies for Teflers contemplating a long-term career teaching in a developing country (particularly as a trailing partner). Based on her own experiences and things ‘I wish I had known and done before it was too late’, we list below Sandover’s advice on the ‘drill’ when you face being evacuated home at a moment’s notice, possible ways to mitigate family law in other legal systems, and how to land on your feet and pick up your career again on arriving back in the country you left long ago.
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