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Joe Condrill

Kansas, U.S.A.

What is your title and occupation?

I am the president of an association of former military and overseas dependents, their educators, and families, called OVERSEAS BRATS.

What were your favorite subjects in school?

In high school, band and social studies.  In college, I enjoyed all my subjects.

What were your least favorite, or most difficult subjects?

In high school, English and math.  In college, math and science were the most difficult for me.

Which courses prepared you most for your career?

In high school, all my course subjects prepared me in some way for my career.  But the biggest education of all that laid part of the pathway for my career was the fact that I went to schools throughout the U.S., Germany, France, Hawaii, Thailand, and Iran.  In college, my course work in journalism, sociology and history were the greatest help.

What is an Overseas Brat?

This is an affectionate term given to an American who has gone to school outside the U.S.

Why did you found Overseas Brats?

Because I saw the need to help others just like myself.  There are more than four million of us in this situation, and when I got interested in the mid-1980's, there was no organization around dedicated to serving people with this special heritage.

Are you currently a journalist or do you dedicate yourself to OSB full time?

I am a journalist by background (I have a degree in broadcast journalism), and I do work full-time for OSB.

Do you consider what you do for OSB journalistic in nature?

Yes, because one of my main responsibilities with OSB is publishing a magazine three times a year for our membership, and a specialized newsletter for our higher paying membership.

Where did you live and go to school as a child?

On the overseas side:
Boeblingen Elementary School (Stuttgart), Germany 1963-65 (Grades 3 & 4)
Orleans Elementary School, France 1965-66 (Grade 5)
Kaimuki Intermediate School, Honolulu, Hawaii 1968-69 (Grade 8)
Maryknoll High School, Honolulu, Hawaii 1969-70 (Freshman year)
International School of Bangkok, Thailand 1970-72 (Sophomore and Junior years)
Tehran American School, Iran 1972-73 (Senior year & graduation from high school)

Did you find yourself becoming attached to any one place?  Did you ever put down roots?

I tried to make the best of all the situations I lived in, so yes, I was attached to all the above locations.  I don't think I had any sense of roots growing up.

What languages do you speak?

Now, besides English, I maintain some fluency in Spanish.  Growing up abroad I learned (and still have some knowledge) German, French, Thai, Farsi (Persian), and Italian.

How did your life as a "global nomad" affect your life or influence you?

It played a major role or influence in my life, because this became my career.

Do you still travel?

Yes!  With OVERSEAS BRATS, I host regional events and an annual national convention throughout the U.S.  I'm also involved with the cruise industry, so I do two to three cruises a year to Mexico, the Bahamas or Caribbean destinations.

What do you like best about traveling and living in different countries?

Meeting the people, learning their cultures and languages.  This really broadened up my perspective on the world.

What were the disadvantages of that life?

Not having a sense of roots.

How did moving affect your education?

It enhanced it considerably.

What advice do you have for children who never have the opportunity to travel beyond their place of birth?

Take the opportunity to learn another language not your own.  See what you can do to meet people, wherever you live, who are foreigners.  Look beyond wherever you live to consider how others think of people in your country.

What advice do you have for children who will be moving to some foreign country because of their parent's job?

As difficult as this time may be, because I know you are leaving behind some wonderful friends, try to look at your move and your life as a special opportunity to experience life in a way you never thought possible.  Look at your forthcoming experience as a terrific opportunity to meet new people, learn another language and culture, and this will definitely help you in whatever future you decide for yourself.

What advice do you have for children who never settle anywhere long enough to know where "home" is?

I know what they are feeling, because I grew up with that feeling.  For those in that situation, I tell them: "home" now becomes defined in not a building or where you live, but the kinds of friends you meet whenever or wherever you are overseas.  Whenever I meet with people that I've described here, that's when I feel that I at "home!"

Do you have a favorite quote which inspires you?

Two quotes come to mind.  One comes from Dr. William Keough, who was the last superintendent of the Tehran American School, in Iran, who would become one of 52 Americans who was held hostage by Iran between November 1979 and January 1981.  His experience resulted in his getting ALS [commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease] which eventually killed him.  He said the following:

"Never be afraid to leave your foot prints in the snow."

What he was trying to share was don't be afraid to make a positive impact on life in general.

The other one comes from Sir Winston Churchill, who was Prime Minister of Britain during World War II.  At a speech he gave at Oxford University, he gave the shortest graduation speech in the history of that institution when he told the graduates just six words:

"Never give up!  Never give up!"

- 25 January 2003


Last Updated:
8 January 2015

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