The content of each post is solely written by that contributor and only expresses the contributor's personal views. Each post does not represent the views of all the contributors or Women of Color Living Abroad as an organization. Each contributor is speaking from their own person experiences and/or perspective.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Being of color in Georgia

It is important to do research and network with others that have or currently live in the country that you are considering moving to especially as a woman of color. Speaking with past and present teachers that are of color, as well as, the intercultural training that my program provides about the reactions of Georgians to people of color was quite helpful. Georgians don't see people of color often, so here are some things I've experienced living here.

Curious stares: Most of the locals are curious about seeing people of color for the first time in their lives, so everywhere from my village to the town and even the capital city I have experienced this. For the most part, people simply stare and/or slow down as I pass while others (especially children) may smile and say hello. The staring can be a bit much sometimes, but I usually don't pay attention to it. I think in any place where locals see an unfamiliar person they will be inquisitive; on the other hand, Georgians do seem to be the most obvious with their gawking. To say the truth, it's as if no one learns that it is rude to stare at someone. Sometimes I'd stare straight at them to give them a taste of their own medicine and they would look away quickly. Since I've become quite oblivious to the stares, my friends that are not of color are more bothered by it than I am.
Pics and more pics: Everyone wants to take pictures with me from children to adults to even my colleagues at school. I've even had the pleasure of being in a few bridal party pictures while visiting a few historical monasteries around the country. I don't really mind so I just smile for the camera for the most part. 
Invitations: In my village, neighbors are always stopping by my host family's house to greet me. Neighbors and teachers invite me to their homes often especially for Georgian dinner parties known as 'supras.' The funniest thing is that some people in my village continue to look at me as if they have not seen me a day in their lives and I've been here for 3 months.
21 Questions: People always want to know if I like the village, Georgia and the culture. They also ask about my nationality, age, family, profession and even marital status (always trying to marry me off to a nice Georgian guy). Questions galore!!! 
Although people of color get many stares, Georgians are always hospitable and happy to have us as guests. I have visited with a few Georgian families including co-teachers and friends and they are always been ecstatic to have me as their guest.
It is quite interesting how much they like Rap/Hip hop especially Tu-Pac! They also love Whitney Houston. By the way, some teachers of color got condolences and bereavement days off from school when Whitney Houston died! 
Many teachers of color have some interesting stories about living in Georgia, but we simply take it as a part of the experience and not let it bother us.


  1. Great article. I haven't seen many posts about what is like teaching in Georgia, especially from a person of color.

    1. Thanks. I'll be happy to share my teaching experience here!

  2. Well written, obviously you're someone that has a good self-esteem. Keep up the great adventure if we could only share some of this with our youth who feel trapped and groundless.